As I'm sure you're aware there has been a recent spate of retirements in the NFL. Peyton Manning, Charles Woodson, Justin Tuck, Jared Allen, and, most recently, legendary quarterback Matthew Hasselbeck have all called it quits after long, illustrious careers. But the two retirements that really stood out to me were those of Marshawn Lynch and Calvin Johnson, 29 and 30 years old, respectively. With the violent nature of the game and the increasing awareness of concussions and their effect on the brain it's no surprise that we're seeing more and more players end their careers while still at a young age. Having recently turned 30 myself this has weighed heavily on my thoughts. It's with this in mind that I formally announce my retirement from the NFL.
To be clear, this does not mean that I will stop watching the NFL, writing about it, or attending games. No, it simply means that my playing career is over. Unfortunately, in a way it never truly began. I recorded the following "audition" tape of sorts in 2008 and mailed it to all 32 teams prior to each of the last 8 seasons:
Somewhat surprisingly I didn't get an overwhelming response. In fact, the only team I heard back from was the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but after we were unable to come to an agreement on accommodations I was forced to cancel my trip. I mean, I don't think a fully comped minibar and a 2-day pass to Busch Gardens is too much to ask, but I guess some folks just do business differently. Since then the waters have dried up and with every passing year it becomes clearer and clearer that my best days are behind me.
I did not come to this decision easily. There have been plenty of sleepless nights (mostly related to my crippling fear of potential nightmares and not my impending career decision) and phone calls at all hours to family members who mostly told me to "get lost" and said with stunning regularity that they didn't care either way because they knew I would never play professional football in any capacity. It was clear from day one that they never believed in my dream. Well I guess I showed them ... that they were right.
Will I miss the game? Of course. On second thought, since I never actually played, I guess I technically can't miss it. What I will miss is watching a play on TV and saying, "You know when I'm in the league I'll make that catch." From now on I'll only be able to say things like, "You know if I had ever played in the league I would have made that catch." Not all is lost though. I'm actually looking forward to the next stage in my life. My retirement will free me up to spend time focusing on the most important things in my life: my wife and kids. I have neither, but now I have time to focus on finding a wife and subsequently having said children.
I just want to close by saying thank you to everyone out there who believed in me, you know who you are. I don't, because nobody ever told me that personally, but I'm confident you're out there. God bless you, God bless football, and God bless this mess (My apartment is seriously dirty; I'll probably take care of that before the wife and kids thing).