In a crazy start to the league year, one of the most surprising stories is this: Jake Locker is retiring at the age of 26.
“I am retiring from football after much reflection and discussion with my family,” Locker said in a statement, via Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports. “I will always be grateful for having had the opportunity to realize my childhood dream of playing in the NFL and for the lifelong relationships I developed because of that experience. Football has always played a pivotal role in my life and I love the game, but I no longer have the burning desire necessary to play the game for a living; to continue to do so would be unfair to the next organization with whom I would eventually sign. I realize this decision is surprising to many, but I know in my heart that it is the right decision and I look forward to spending more time with my family and pursuing other interests.”
Locker was a disappointment as the No. 8 overall pick of the Titans in 2011, but he likely could have found some team to pay him a few million dollars in free agency: In today’s NFL, even a mediocre quarterback can make good money.
But Locker has battled numerous injuries, and apparently his heart isn’t in it anymore. And so he’s walking away.