A. J. Tarpley

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A. J. Tarpley
Free agent
Personal information
Born: (1992-04-30) April 30, 1992 (age 28)
Plymouth, Minnesota
Height:6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
Weight:225 lb (102 kg)
Career information
High school:Plymouth (MN) Wayzata
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Total tackles:8
Forced fumbles:1
Fumble recoveries:0
Player stats at NFL.com

Aubrey Joseph "A. J." Tarpley (born April 30, 1992) is an American football linebacker who is a free agent. He was signed by the National Football League's (NFL) Buffalo Bills as an undrafted free agent in 2015. He played one season with the Bills before announcing his retirement at the age of 23, citing concern over concussions. Tarpley played college football at Stanford.[1]

College career[edit]

Tarpley started all four years for the Stanford Cardinal, compiling 20.5 career tackles for loss, 6.5 sacks, and four interceptions. He earned second-team All-Pac-12 honors as a senior.[2]

Professional career[edit]

Buffalo Bills[edit]

Tarpley was signed by the Buffalo Bills as an undrafted free agent following the 2015 NFL Draft.[3] On November 30, 2015, he was waived.[4] On December 2, 2015, the Bills signed Tarpley to the practice squad,[5] and on December 10, 2015, Tarpley was promoted to the active roster.[6] Tarpley recorded his first career interception against the Dallas Cowboys on December 28, 2015.[7] In Week 17 against the New York Jets on January 3, 2016, Tarpley made the game-ending interception that gave the Bills a 22–17 victory and knocked the Jets out of playoff contention. The interception turned out to be the final play of his career.

On April 6, 2016, Tarpley announced that he was retiring after just one season, citing his health, having suffered his third and fourth career concussions the previous season.[8][9] He explained the decision in an essay submitted to Sports Illustrated.[10]

Return to football[edit]

Less than three years after announcing his retirement, Tarpley returned to football in 2019 when he joined the San Diego Fleet of the Alliance of American Football.[11][12]

In the third game of the 2019 AAF season against the San Antonio Commanders, Tarpley intercepted Logan Woodside and returned it 27 yards for a touchdown. He was subsequently named AAF Defensive Player of the Week.[13] The league ceased operations in April 2019.[14]

Tarpley later joined the XFL, where he was selected by the DC Defenders in the open phase of the 2020 XFL Draft.[15] He had his contract terminated when the league suspended operations on April 10, 2020.[16]

Personal life[edit]

During his initial retirement, Tarpley worked as a sales representative for Bank of America Merrill Lynch on Wall Street.[17]


  1. ^ Stanford Cardinal Athletics Profile - AJ Tarpley
  2. ^ AJ Tarpley - Buffalo Bills
  3. ^ AJ Tarpley signs with the Buffalo Bills just an hour after draft
  4. ^ "A.J. Tarpley goes from first in to out for Bills". BN Blitz. Archived from the original on 2016-01-03. Retrieved 2015-12-28.
  5. ^ "Inside The Bills | Bills add LB AJ Tarpley to practice squad". Retrieved 2015-12-28.
  6. ^ "LB Steward to I-R; Tarpley called up to active roster". www.buffalobills.com. Archived from the original on 2015-12-12. Retrieved 2015-12-12.
  7. ^ "Bills AJ Tarpley picks off Kellen Moore and returns it 35 yards". www.buffalobills.com. Retrieved 2015-12-28.[permanent dead link]
  8. ^ A.J. Tarpley Retires: Latest Details, Comments and Reaction
  9. ^ A.J. Tarpley Retires From N.F.L. at Age 23, Citing Concussions
  10. ^ A.J. Tarpley: Why I Walked Away from Football at 23
  11. ^ Goldberg, Jeff (January 30, 2019). "'It's Go time': Roster in place, Fleet excited for season debut". Alliance of American Football. Archived from the original on February 2, 2019. Retrieved February 1, 2019.
  12. ^ Solares, Diego (January 31, 2019). "Taking a Look at San Diego Fleet's Final 52-man Roster". East Village Times. Retrieved February 1, 2019.
  13. ^ Goldberg, Jeff (February 26, 2019). "A.J. Tarpley and Ja'Quan Gardner named Offensive and Defensive Players of the Week". Alliance of American Football. Archived from the original on February 27, 2019. Retrieved February 26, 2019.
  14. ^ Michael Rothstein, Seth Wickersham (June 13, 2019). "Inside the short, unhappy life of the Alliance of American Football". ESPN.com. Retrieved September 12, 2019.
  15. ^ Talbot, Damond (October 16, 2019). "XFL Draft Phase 5: The Final Rounds of the Draft, Find out who was selected". NFL Draft Diamonds. Retrieved October 23, 2019.
  16. ^ Condotta, Bob (April 10, 2020). "XFL suspends operations, terminates all employees, but Jim Zorn says he has hopes league will continue". SeattleTimes.com. Retrieved July 17, 2020.
  17. ^ Kercheval, Ben (February 24, 2019). "AAF 2019: A.J. Tarpley, who went from the NFL to Wall Street and back, isn't done with football". CBSSports.com. Retrieved February 26, 2019.