Just like that, Travis Frederick is done as a member of the Dallas Cowboys. The five-time Pro Bowl center announced his retirement Monday afternoon at just 30 years old.
Frederick chalked up his decision to walk away to the lingering effects of Guillain-Barré syndrome, an autoimmune disorder with which he was diagnosed before the 2018 season. Frederick missed all of 2018 before returning to the field in 2019.
"I made my return to the field, played well overall and was selected to the Pro Bowl, but it was a difficult year for me. Each day I faced a struggle: I could no longer perform at my highest level," Frederick said in his retirement announcement.
The Cowboys drafted Frederick 31st overall in 2013 out of the University of Wisconsin. The selection was almost universally panned. Many draft experts criticized the Cowboys for using a first-round pick on a player who might have been available in the third round.
Frederick started all 16 games in his rookie season, quickly developing into one of the best centers in football. In 2014, he anchored a Cowboys offensive line that was one of the NFL's best units, helping lead the team to a 12-4 finish and the divisional round of the playoffs. Every season he took the field, Frederick was one of the premier centers in the game.
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So where do the Cowboys go from here?
The best-case scenario for the team is that 2019 third-round draft pick and Bob Sturm favorite Connor McGovern can make the transition from being a spare part at guard to starting center. McGovern flashed elite talent at Penn State and has the best chance of anyone currently on the Cowboys roster of being a like-for-like replacement for Frederick.
If McGovern isn't immediately up to the task, Joe Looney, who filled in for Frederick in 2018, will also do, in a pinch.