Stokley retires with an NFL record, sort of

Getty Images

When receiver Brandon Stokley joined the Ravens when the defending champs realized they needed more help at the position, he returned to the place where he won first Super Bowl ring back in 2000.  He’s now finishing his career as a member of the Ravens.

The 15-year veteran will retire, according to Mike Klis of the Denver Post.

“You know, there’s nobody who has played as long as me who has caught as few balls as me,” Stokley says with a laugh, but the statement is accurate.  Per Klis, of the 18 men who have played receiver for at least 15 years in the NFL, Stokley has fewer catches than any of them.

At 397 receptions, Stokley is 160 catches behind Troy Brown.  The fact that Stokley continued to find work without huge numbers underscores the other qualities he brings to the table — including an 83.1-percent first-down conversion rate on his 160 career third-down catches.

“I think Brandon is the best teammate I’ve ever had,” Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning told Klis.  “He’s a guy you want on your team in your corner.  Fifteen years as a slot receiver in the NFL, going across the middle, taking hits, it’s almost unheard of.”

Stokley’s career seemed to be over after the 2011 season, but his offseason pitch-and-catch sessions with Manning resulted in Stokley joining Peyton in Denver.  It then appeared to be over for Stokley after the Broncos signed Wes Welker to play the slot, until the Ravens came calling.

It was a 13th known concussion that placed Stokley on IR and resulted in his decision to call it quits.  He could still win a third Super Bowl ring, if the Ravens get to the playoffs and climb the mountain for the second straight year — possibly beating Manning once again along the way.