After just six quarters of the 2018 season, during which the Buffalo Bills allowed a stunning 75 points, cornerback Vontae Davis retired.
The timing of Davis’ retirement rubbed his teammates and coaches the wrong way – at halftime of the Bills’ game with the Chargers, which they were losing 28-6.
Bills coach Sean McDermott said that Davis “pulled himself out of the game” and that he also “communicated to us that he was done.”
Former teammate Lorenzo Alexander was a little less diplomatic when talking about Davis, per ESPN.
“I don’t have nothing to say about Vontae,” linebacker Lorenzo Alexander said after the game. “I’m going to give him a little bit more respect than he showed us today, as far as quitting on us in the middle of the game.
“I never have seen that. Pop Warner, high school, pros. Never heard of it. Never seen it. It’s just completely disrespectful to his teammates. … He didn’t say nothing to nobody. I found out going into the second half of the game. They said he’s not coming out, he retired. That’s it.”
Davis was a healthy scratch for the Bills’ embarrassing 47-3 loss to the Ravens in Week 1, so at least he wasn’t part of the secondary that got torn apart by Joe Flacco, John Brown, Michael Crabtree, and Willie Snead. The 30-year old was a first round pick by the Dolphins in 2009, and signed a one-year deal with the Bills this February after spending six years with the Colts.
He recorded one tackle in the loss to Los Angeles. Following his halftime retirement, the Bills played much better in the second half, allowing just a field goal while scoring a pair of touchdowns to make the final score a more respectable 31-20.
UPDATE: Vontae Davis released a statement on his decision.
— NFL (@NFL) September 16, 2018
“This isn’t how I pictured retiring from the NFL.
But in my 10th NFL season, I have been doing what my body has been programmed to do: Get ready to play on game day. I’ve endured multiple surgeries and played through many different injuries throughout my career and, over the last few weeks, this was the latest physical challenge.
But today on the field, reality hit me fast and hard: I shouldn’t be out there anymore.
I meant no disrespect to my teammates and coaches. But I hold myself to a standard. Mentally, I always expect myself to play at a high level. But physically, I know today that isn’t possible, and I had an honest moment with myself. While I was on the field, I just didn’t feel right, and I told the coaches, ‘I’m not feeling like myself.’
I also wondered: Do I want to keep sacrificing?
And truthfully, I do not because the season is long, and it’s more important for me and my family to walk away healthy than to willfully embrace the warrior mentality and limp away too late.
This was an overwhelming decision, but I’m at peace with myself and my family. I choose to be grateful to God for allowing me to play the game that I have loved as a boy until I turned 30 years old. I choose to be grateful to God for being a part of the NFL and making lifelong friends over the last decade. There were roadblocks and pitfalls along the way, but I am grateful to God for all of it because he doesn’t promise any of us an easy journey.
Lastly, I am grateful to God for what he has in store for me ahead, in this next chapter of my life.”