Another NFL player has walked away from the game during the prime of his career. B.J. Raji, a 29-year-old defensive tackle who played for the Green Bay Packers, announced in a statement that he will not play football in 2016. While he would not shut the door on returning to football somewhere down the line, Raji ruled out playing this year.
So, why is Raji walking away? Unlike some players who walked away due to concern over their long-term health like former 49ers linebacker Chris Borland, Raji has a unique reason for his retirement. Raji cited a quote by former Packers coach Vince Lombardi and said that he is not 100 percent committed to football, so he needs to leave the game for now. Here’s the full statement:
Raji mentioned that it was obvious to him that he needed to walk away when his agents brought him a new contract from the Packers. After deciding that his heart wasn’t 100 percent dedicated to football, he decided to leave the game “out of respect” to the team.
This is definitely a new one, as watching athletes walk away from a whole lot of money usually isn’t done because they respect their team so much that they think the organization deserves better. While it’s unfortunate that a player’s walking away from the game so young, this is a really admirable move by Raji. Here’s to hoping he finds that spark during his time away from football and comes back better than ever.