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Heart issue prompts NFL Saints to shut down defender Fairley

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Last season, Nick Fairley made 43 tackles and 6.5 quarterback sacks over 16 games for the Saints © GETTY IMAGES/AFP/File / Michael Reaves

WASHINGTON, United States, Jun 27 – New Orleans Saints defensive tackle Nick Fairley was placed on NFL season-ending injured reserve Monday because of a heart issue, after a specialist suggested he no longer play.

In March, the 29-year-old lineman signed a four-year contract worth $28 million with half of it guaranteed.

But Fairley consulted with at least three specialists in the off-season, with Saints coach Sean Payton saying at least one suggested Fairley end his career.

The Saints are not required to pay Fairley his $1 million base salary this year because his injury was not football-related.

Fairley was diagnosed with an enlarged heart before being made a first-round pick by Detroit in the 2011 NFL Draft. He has passed physicals for three different teams over six seasons.

Last season, Fairley made 43 tackles and 6.5 quarterback sacks over 16 games for the Saints. He has 170 tackles and 20.5 sacks in 77 career games with the Saints, Lions and then-St. Louis Rams.

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