METAIRIE, La. — New Orleans Saints general manager Mickey Loomis says Nick Fairley has been placed on the team’s non-football illness list, meaning the starting defensive tackle won’t play this season.
The 6-foot-4, 308-pound Fairley had arguably the best season of his career with New Orleans in 2016. The 2011 first-round pick by Detroit out of Auburn played in all 16 games and had a career-high 6 1/2 sacks.
However, symptoms related to an enlarged heart caused Fairley to miss offseason practices and minicamp while he saw specialists to determine whether playing football would be an undue health risk.
Saints coach Sean Payton has said at least one specialist recommended that Fairley give up football.
The Saints’ move Monday sidelines Fairley only for 2017. His future beyond that remains unclear.