Kidney disease forces Donald Jones to retire from NFL

Tom Szczerbowski

Last year, Donald Jones was a starting wide receiver for the Buffalo Bills. This year, he's been told he'll soon need a kidney transplant - and he's retired from the NFL.

Way back in February, as the beginning of NFL free agency was nearing and teams were re-signing their own players, there were early indications that the Buffalo Bills would tender a restricted free agent offer to two-year starting wide receiver Donald Jones. That quickly did not come to fruition, and Jones has since been released by New England and had tryouts in Indianapolis and Tennessee, as well.

Now, he's announced his retirement from the NFL, for the same reason that the Bills and other teams were hesitant to give him another chance: IgA nephropathy, a kidney disorder that has reportedly deteriorated to the point where Jones may soon require a kidney transplant.

That according to Mike Garofalo of FOXSports.com, who spoke to Jones about his retirement decision. It came after his recent tryout in Indy, when his blood pressure skyrocketed to 250 over 110 during a routine stress test; he was running on a treadmill at the time. Jones had previously been told by doctors in New England that he'd need the aforementioned transplant, but elected to continue his playing career - until that moment in Indy.

This is the same kidney disorder that dropped Jones into the undrafted ranks of the 2010 NFL Draft class. He's had it his whole life, and in announcing his retirement on Wednesday, Jones thanked the Bills organization for taking a chance on him.

"I want to thank the Buffalo Bills organization, especially Chan Gailey and Buddy Nix, for allowing me to pursue my NFL dream and Coach Gailey for changing my life," Jones wrote.

We here at Buffalo Rumblings wish Jones all the best as he heads into the post-football phase in his life, and particularly as he looks to overcome his health issues. Though Jones' playing career is over, he's already made it clear that we'll see him at Ralph Wilson Stadium again.

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