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Dan Morgan out for the season

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Morgan out rest of season

Carolina Panthers linebacker Dan Morgan has ended his season, a decision he hopes will prolong his career.

After spending Tuesday visiting Dr. Michael Collins, a sports concussion clinician and researcher at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Morgan decided to spend the rest of the season on injured reserve.

"The big step that we're preventing right now is that I'm not going (on the field), I'm not going to get dinged," Morgan, 27, said. "It's going to give me a lot of time to heal up."

Morgan, who has suffered at least four concussions since being drafted in 2001, said the timing of the most recent ones were Collins' main concern about playing again this season.

Morgan suffered concussions in an exhibition Aug. 19 in Jacksonville and in the regular-season opener Sept. 10 against Atlanta. He hasn't played since.

Medical studies have shown that people are more prone to subsequent concussions in the month after the first one, and become more prone to concussions after they've had several.

"If it was up to me, I'd be out playing against Baltimore this week," Morgan said. "I'm going to take (Collins') advice.

"He has a lot more experience than me. ... I've just got to take it."

Veteran Chris Draft has replaced Morgan at middle linebacker, and coach John Fox said Draft will remain in that role.

Coaches and teammates said Morgan's long-term health is far more important than his short-term absence from the field.

"I'm really looking at it as a father, saying whatever decision he makes as a teammate I'll stick by him, but also as a father that he has to look toward the future ... and hoping he can play with his kids and remember it," receiver Steve Smith said.

"Football is a small deal right now compared to what he's going through."

Morgan has been an outstanding middle linebacker at times. However, his career has been plagued by a series of injuries. He never has been able to play a 16-game season.

Numerous NFL players, most notably former Dallas quarterback Troy Aikman, have had their careers end prematurely because of repeated concussions, but Morgan vowed his latest setback will not end his career.

"I'm obviously frustrated," Morgan said. "But I can also turn that into a positive. I'll have a lot of time now to work out and to heal up. I think it'll make me that much more hungry to come back next season and have a big season.

"I'm not stupid enough to risk my health for my (future). Trust me, the minute that I feel like I'm really going to hurt myself, that will be the time that I won't be playing football anymore. Right now, I don't feel like it's the time. I feel like I do have football left in me."

Morgan said he'll visit Collins again in February. PANTHERS NOTEBOOK | Running back DeAngelo Williams to miss Sunday's game against Baltimore because of right ankle sprain. | 3C

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