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It has been a rough few weeks for the Detroit Lions, who lost to the Atlanta Falcons in suspect fashion a few weeks ago and are coming off a 27-24 loss to the Carolina Panthers.

Things won’t be getting for Detroit, at least defensively, because reports are indicating that defensive tackle Haloti Ngata has been placed on the injured reserve after a biceps injury against the Panthers this past Sunday.

Ngata had started all of Detroit’s first five games, but he has been banged up with a shoulder injury. And at 35-years-old, one has to wonder just how much longer his body will be able to take the wear and tear of an NFL schedule. He’s been in the league since 2006, mind you, and his production has certainly been on the decline.

That’s not even considering the mental wear and tear of playing football, which was apparently something Ngata was worried about before he signed his latest contract with Detroit.

Here’s Michael Rothstein of ESPN relaying what Ngata’s thought process was before he returned this season for the Lions.

“Ngata is in the final year of a two-year contract with Detroit. Prior to returning for this season with the Lions, he had cognitive and brain examinations done at the Sports Neurology Clinic at the CORE Institute in Brighton, Michigan. He wanted to make sure his brain was still healthy before he chose to continue playing football.”

Now on the injured reserve, just how much longer should we expect to see Ngata in the NFL? He’s had a long, prolific career — having won a Super Bowl with the Ravens while making it to five Pro Bowls — but with his contract running out soon, perhaps he’ll decide to hang up his big cleats.

At this point, who would be able to blame him?

Former Super Bowl champion heading to injured reserve just days after suffering injury Patrick Smith/Getty Images
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