Ellis did not report to training camp and instead told the Bears he intents to retire from the NFL, the team announced on Thursday.
The news comes as a surprise: Ellis is only 28 years old and has no known health concerns. Last year he started all 16 games for the Saints. This year he was scheduled to earn $1 million on a one-year contract.
After a college career at USC in which he earned a Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year award and recognition as an All-American, Ellis was the seventh overall pick in the 2008 NFL draft. He played out the full five years of his rookie contract, which was worth more than $30 million. If he has spent his money wisely, he’ll never need to work another day in his life. But it’s surprising, given that he just signed with a new team and still has plenty of good football left in him, that he wants to walk away.