Steve Young will be sidelined for the foreseeable future, but he's not ready to retire.
"I would like to (play again) if it's appropriate," the San Francisco 49ers quarterback said at a news conference today. "Yet it very well might not happen this season. If time runs out on the season, so be it."
Agent Leigh Steinberg said Tuesday he doesn't think Young, still bothered by post-concussion symptoms, will play again this year. The team and Young's doctors appear to feel the same way.
"I'm taking this thing to the end of the season," the two-time NFL MVP said. "My focus right now clearly is on my health, but I am also focusing on my team. That's all I'm going to think about right now."
Although the possibility was raised earlier that he would go on injured reserve today, that didn't happen.
"I'm determined he not risk anything more this year," Steinberg said Tuesday. "He's probably going to end up on injured reserve. This is a football injury. He was hurt on the field and that's where those players go."
Steinberg said there would be no decision on retirement until after the season. But he added that Young will abide by the final medical consensus.
"He will come to the right decision, but this will take a little time," the agent said.
Two weeks ago, Young's primary neurologist, Dr. Gary Steinberg, no relation to the agent, made a long-term recommendation about whether Young should play again.
Today was the first time since then that the 38-year-old quarterback has spoken with reporters.
While Dr. Steinberg's opinion hasn't been disclosed, Young has conceded the report was "discouraging." His agent has said the opinion has been reaffirmed by other specialists.
Young continued to refuse to discuss his doctor's long-term recommendations, but said, "He's telling me I can't play right now."
"It's like any injury," he added. "You have to give it time to heal."
Young continues to speak with contemporaries who were forced out of the game by repeated concussions, including Al Toon and Merrill Hoge.
He's also gathering more medical advice and may see another specialist this week. But coach Steve Mariucci and general manager Bill Walsh have both said that they would give greatest weight to Dr. Steinberg's conclusions, and they are in no hurry to see Young back on the field.
Young could be at risk for permanent brain damage from another concussion.
Mariucci said Monday the team, which has a bye this week, hopes to resolve Young's status in the next week or two and said injured reserve was a possibility. It would allow Young an extended period away from football while not shutting the door on a comeback.
Thogh Young has no real hope of receiving medical clearance to play any time soon, he remains optimistic that his condition will clear, leaving at least a possibility of a return next season.
Young feels strong responsibility to the team, especially now that it's struggling without him.
By going on injured reserve, though, he could get treatment while remaining with the team as a locker room and sideline presence and mentor to his replacement, Jeff Garcia.
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