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Daniel Bryan announces his retirement

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The news confirms WWE fans' worst fears.

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On Monday, former WWE World Heavyweight Champion Daniel Bryan announced his retirement via Twitter. He will appear on RAW to expound further on his decision.

On Sunday, news broke that Bryan had, at one point, requested his release from WWE, but his request was denied. Around the same time, word began to circulate that Bryan would be appearing on Monday's RAW in some capacity.

Bryan has been out of action due to concussion concerns since April 14 of last year. He returned to WWE television on May 11 to surrender his Intercontinental Championship and address the crowd, telling WWE fans he wasn't sure when he would be back.

Since that time, Bryan has been cleared by two separate doctors: The Arizona Cardinals' team neurologist and concussion specialists at UCLA. However, the official WWE doctor, Jospeh Maroon, has refused to clear Bryan for a return to in-ring action.

WWE has reportedly offered Bryan several non-wrestling roles in the company, including a job as an announcer, but Bryan has turned them all down. In the past year, Bryan has stated in multiple interviews that he will wrestle again, even if that means he has to quit WWE in order to do so. He has even said the same on the reality show Total Divas.

WWE's reported refusal of his release, combined with reports that the company has frozen his contract due to inactivity (as they did with Rey Mysterio prior to his leaving the company) indicate that Bryan may not even have the option of quitting the company to wrestle elsewhere unless he finds some other way to play out the remaining time on his contract.