Yesterday, during the Bills-Chargers game, it was announced that veteran cornerback, Vontae Davis, retired at halftime. While many thought this announcement was a joke, Davis did not return for the second half of the game, later releasing a statement explaining his decision.
In his statement, Davis touched on the fact that while his love for the game is still present, his body cannot keep up anymore. Davis admitted while this was a difficult decision, it was a decision which was in his best interest, and one which he had been contemplating for awhile. After multiple surgeries and playing through games with injuries, Davis knew he could not endure another season. He chose his body and family over another season playing the game he loved.
As fans, we don't feel the physical pain players endure week after week during the season, and during the off-season while they train to prepare for the upcoming season. While players have become more vocal about the after-effects many of their injuries have caused them after life in the NFL, we as fans can still forget about these effects. In his statement, Davis spoke about the sacrifice he was making each week to his body and family when he played, which ultimately was not worth it anymore.
While some may think sacrificing your body for millions of dollars is worth the sacrifice, there are other factors, we as fans, have to remember. Not all players are lucky enough to have a ten season career like Davis. Players like Davis, Brady and Rodgers who play well into their thirties or forties are the exception to NFL longevity; not the rule. According to statista.com, most players average three seasons in the NFL before succumbing to injury, or being cut due to younger players with fresher legs joining the league. Think about that. If a player retires after three seasons due to an injury, that player is leaving the league in his twenties with a beat up body, and an entire life to live ahead of him.
We've seen the effects concussions have on players, but injuries to muscles, joints and bones can also effect players negatively throughout their life. Ultimately, the decision to retire or step away from football has to come from a player's knowledge about their own body and what is in their best interest to live a healthy life after their career in the NFL.