This offseason has seen a couple of the game’s biggest players hang up their cleats in retirement, like Peyton Manning and Calvin Johnson, but today one of its younger stars followed suit. B.J. Raji, a defensive stalwart for the Green Bay Packers, who has played the tackle position since he was drafted by the team in 2009, announced today that he is retiring from football.
Ryan Wood of the Green Bay Press-Gazette broke Raji’s plans to the public earlier today, and Raji’s full statement mentioned the fact that he hasn’t decided whether or not he will reconsider his status after the 2016-2017 season.
I have played football and been defined as a football player for as long as I can remember. This off-season was the first time that I felt myself pulled in another direction and I am excited to first be ‘all in’ with my family back home and then to explore new frontiers. I am not exactly sure what the next phase of life will entail, but I am confident that all of the lessons I learned during my NFL journey will provide a solid foundation for success.
Raji didn’t cite any health issues as the reason for his imminent departure, but rather the fact that he felt “pulled in another direction” for the first time in his career. However, his growth as a pro has been stunted by injury problems dating back to 2013, leading to him only being offered a one-year deal at the end of the 2014-2015 season.