I suppose this doesn't come as much of a surprise. I don't care how many opinions you get. If even one medical professional - out of who knows how many - tells you that football could cost you your life then that's probably the doctor whose word you should heed.
That said, the fact that Nick Fairley is making the smartest decision for himself and his family doesn't make this announcement any less sad and depressing. The most disappointing aspect is that a guy who was just starting to fulfill the endless potential that got him drafted in the first round may never play another down of football again. I can't imagine what he's going through knowing that he may be coming off his best season to date and potentially going straight into a forced retirement.
From a much more cold-hearted perspective, this news has to considered proof positive that Murphy's Law gets called into action whenever the New Orleans Saints start shopping the free agency market. For once, they did everything right this time around. They let a talented player earn his money on a one year, "prove it" deal. They gave him a reasonable contract that wouldn't handicap them going forward. Annnnd a previously dormant/misdiagnosed heart condition almost immediately called the rest of his career into question before he even got to pull a black and gold jersey over his head one final time.
There's just no around it. This sucks for all parties involved. It should be heavily emphasized that none the least of which is the player whose health has been compromised, but I'll be damned if it doesn't serve as a gut punch to the defensive depth of team that was depending on Nick Fairley to provide the pass rush that they sorely lack opposite Cam Jordan.