New Orleans Saints defensive tackle Nick Fairley was placed on the season-ending reserve/non-football illness list Monday because of a heart issue.
Fairley consulted with at least three specialists this offseason, with at least one suggesting that he no longer play football, Saints head coach Sean Payton said earlier this month. The results from the third specialist were not immediately known.
Fairley inked a four-year contract worth $28 million with New Orleans in March, including an $8.5 million signing bonus and a total of $14 million in guarantees. The Saints are not required to pay Fairley his $1 million base salary this year because his injury was not related to football.
The 29-year-old was diagnosed with an enlarged heart before he joined the NFL as a first-round draft pick with the Detroit Lions in 2011. He passed physicals for three different teams in six seasons.
Fairley had 43 tackles and 6.5 sacks in 16 games with New Orleans last season. He has collected 170 tackles and 20.5 sacks in 77 career games with the Saints, then-St. Louis Rams and Lions since being selected with the 13th overall pick in the 2011 draft.
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