His NFL career was seemingly over in a blink of an eye.
Baltimore Ravens inside linebacker Zach Orr announced has was forced to retire from professional football in January because of a congenital spinal condition diagnosis.
Not one to close the door on a dream completely, Orr said at that conference: "If there's some miracle way where I can play the game, I promise I'd be the first one to grab my cleats again, start back training and try to find a way to get back out there."
It seems like that miracle could come true.
In an interview with Good Morning Football on Wednesday morning, Orr confirmed that he has received some encouraging new diagnoses regarding his condition, and he hasn't ruled out a return to the NFL.
Originally, doctors discovered that Orr had a vertebrae that had never fully formed, the result of a congenital spinal condition that could leave Orr vulnerable to major spinal cord damage resulting in paralysis or even death.
He has been consulting with various doctors in the months since to find the best way to manage his condition.
"When I first found out the news, it was definitely shocking and devastating," Orr said. "Not only for me and my family, but pretty much everybody that kind of knew me. But just being around and doing other things, a lot of former players were telling me, 'You might want to check it out. Because a lot of crazy things happen.'
"I had my mind made up. I was like man, the doctors told me I was done. This is a serious issue. So I'm going to leave it alone. But I just kept hearing that from multiple people and some were telling me to just go check out and seek out some more opinions and things like that and come to find out my condition, it is rare -- .01 percent of the people have what I have -- but there's no actual evidence or facts that I'm at a higher risk than any other player. And it's actually been documented that a college player who had the exact same thing that I have that returned to play with no problems."
Despite his original prognosis, the specialists Orr has been consulting are optimistic, with several saying he's at no more risk of serious injury than any other player so long as he doesn't play with a herniated disc.
Orr did suffer herniated discs in his back last season, but insists that they have subsided.
"As far as me physically, mentally, I'm ready to go," Orr said. "I'm feeling better than ever. I'm feeling like I have these past offseasons and everything like that. So I'm ready to go."
If the former Baltimore Raven does mount a comeback, he'll have the opportunity to hit the market as a free agent.
Orr didn't file his retirement papers in January, and the Ravens never placed him on the reserve/retired list. At this point that means that Orr is technically a free agent.
He has three seasons of NFL experience, and made 133 tackles and 3 interceptions last season, earning second-team All-Pro honors.
Source: Mike Garafolo - NFL.com · Photo Credit: KEYSTONE PRESS