Cardinals OLB Abraham leaves team, may retire

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Cardinals OLB Abraham leaves team, may retire
This undated photo provided by the Dekalb County Police, Tuesday, July 29, 2014, shows Arizona Cardinals NFL football player John Abraham. Authorities say the former Atlanta Falcons player, who has been absent from the Arizona Cardinals’ training camp since Friday, was arrested a month ago in suburban Atlanta. The jail records state that Abraham was charged with driving under the influence involving alcohol; and stopping, standing or parking in a prohibited place. (AP Photo/Dekalb County Police)
FILE - This Dec. 8, 2013 file photo shows Arizona Cardinals outside linebacker John Abraham (55) during the first half of an NFL football game against the St. Louis Rams in Glendale, Ariz. Authorities say Cardinals linebacker John Abraham was arrested on a drunken driving charge a month ago in the Atlanta area. Abraham has been absent from the team's training camp since Friday, July 26, 2014. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri, File)
GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 08: John Abraham #55 of the Arizona Cardinals celebrates with teammate Marcus Benard after sacking quarterback Kellen Clemens #10 of the St Louis Rams in the end zone for a safety during the third quarter of an NFL football game at University of Phoenix Stadium on December 8, 2013 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images)
GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 08: Outside linebacker John Abraham #55 of the Arizona Cardinals reacts after a sacking quarterback Kellen Clemens (not picutred) of the St. Louis Rams in the endzone for a safety during the third quarter of the NFL game at the University of Phoenix Stadium on December 8, 2013 in Glendale, Arizona. The Cardinals defeated the Rams 30-10. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
HONOLULU, HI - JANUARY 26: John Abraham #55 of the Arizona Cardinals and Team Rice warms up before the 2014 Pro Bowl at Aloha Stadium on January 26, 2014 in Honolulu, Hawaii (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
HONOLULU, HI - JANUARY 26: John Abraham #55 of the Arizona Cardinals and Team Rice tackles Jordan Cameron #84 of the Cleveland Browns and Team Sanders during the 2014 Pro Bowl at Aloha Stadium on January 26, 2014 in Honolulu, Hawaii (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI - DECEMBER 22: John Abraham #55 of the Atlanta Falcons looks on during the game against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field on December 22, 2012 in Detroit, Michigan. The Falcons defeated the Lions 31-18. (Photo by Mark Cunningham/Detroit Lions/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - NOVEMBER 29: John Abraham #55 of the Atlanta Falcons sacks Drew Brees #9 of the New Orleans Saints at Georgia Dome on November 29, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - OCTOBER 14: John Abraham #55 of the Atlanta Falcons reacts as he watches Asante Samuel #22 return an interception for a touchdown against the Oakland Raiders at Georgia Dome on October 14, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - OCTOBER 14: John Abraham #55 of the Atlanta Falcons forces a fumble and turnover by Carson Palmer #3 of the Oakland Raiders at Georgia Dome on October 14, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
ATLANTA - OCTOBER 24: Defensive end John Abraham #56 of the New York Jets stretches on the field prior a game against the Atlanta Falcons at the Georgia Dome on October 24, 2005 in Atlanta, Georgia. The Falcons won 27-14. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
MIAMI - SEPTEMBER 22: Defensive end John Abraham #94 of the New York Jets blasts past an offensive lineman during the NFL game against the Miami Dolphins on September 8, 2002 at Pro Player Stadium in Miami, Florida. The Jets won 30-3. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Trent Green (10) attempts to scramble away as New York Jets defensive end John Abraham (94) comes in for the sack during the first quarter Sunday, Nov. 11, 2001, at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)
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TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) -- Outside linebacker John Abraham has left the Arizona Cardinals and is considering retiring from the game.

Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said on Wednesday that Abraham, the game's active sacks leader and ninth on the NFL's career list with 133 1/2, has been granted a leave of absence. The team obtained a roster exemption, using it to re-sign linebacker Marcus Benard.

The 36-year-old Abraham sustained a concussion in Monday night's 18-17 season-opening victory over San Diego. But Arians said he had a long talk with Abraham on Tuesday and the concussion was not the main reason the player was considering leaving the game.

Arians said that while Abraham goes through the NFL-mandated concussion protocol, he "will determine if he wants to continue playing football, whether his heart's still in it and he has the fire and desire to do it."

Abraham, in his 15th NFL season, has five days under NFL rules before the Cardinals must either reinstate him or declare him out for the season.

He missed nearly all of training camp to, as he later confirmed, undergo rehabilitation treatment for an alcohol problem.

The rehab stint came after he was arrested in suburban Atlanta and charged with drunken driving.

"I think with all the things that he's gone through in the last month, he's got a lot of things outside of football that he's never dealt with before," Arians said. "There are some people that can help him in that regard. I'm not one of them."

Arians said that "there are things I'm not clinically smart enough to know what depression is and things like that so there's many issues that could be involved."

Abraham, who had no tackles against the Chargers, expressed concern about whether he was hurting the team, Arians said.

"If that game on Monday night football and that atmosphere didn't have you flying around like always or more, then something's missing," the coach said, "and that's basically what he reflected to me. He said `There were times in that game I wasn't in it and it's not fair to my teammates. I've got to decide if this is still what I really want to do.'"

Abraham is in the second year of a two-year contract. He led the Cardinals with 11 1/2 sacks last season and made the Pro Bowl for the sixth time. He needs nine sacks to pass Michael Strahan for fifth on the career sacks list.

Abraham played six seasons for the New York Jets and seven for the Atlanta Falcons before coming to Arizona as a free agent.

"We're all hoping and praying for him, hoping he returns back to normal," quarterback Carson Palmer said. "Obviously, we're going to miss him and miss his production. Somebody else has to step up. Coach Arians' motto is next man up. Somebody's got to find a way to replace his production."

The injury is another significant loss for the Arizona defense. Defensive tackle Darnell Dockett tore an ACL in training camp and is out for the season. The team already was without its two standout inside linebackers from a year ago. Karlos Dansby left for Cleveland via free agency and Daryl Washington is suspended for the season for violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy.

Arians said Abraham told him that this was his first concussion, something that teammate Lorenzo Alexander doubts is true.

"Playing this game everybody's had multiple concussions. Whether or not they're diagnosed is something totally different," Alexander said. "I'm pretty sure he's had multiple concussions throughout his career like we all have. This was probably his first documented one."

Arians said Sam Acho would move into Abraham's spot.

"John's a leader. He's a guy that leads by example," Acho said. "You look at his film, the way he plays the game. I watch John's film to see what I can do better."

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