The Indianapolis Colts were arguably one of the most talented teams last season, finishing the year with an NFL-high seven players selected to the Pro Bowl.

They were held back by some up and down play by quarterback Carson Wentz and missed out on the playoffs after an embarrassing Week 18 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars last season. Despite their disappointing end to last season, the outlook for the team still remains high for the 2022 season as new quarterback Matt Ryan attempts to lead them back to the playoffs.

The team will need to do so without one of their key starters on defense, as the Colts received a shocking announcement regarding starting safety Khari Willis on Wednesday.

Willis announced that he will be retiring ahead of the 2022 season, which is a surprise considering he is entering only his fourth season in the NFL at the age of 26.

He posted a statement on his Instagram page on Wednesday, explaining his reasoning for the decision.

“I’d first like to thank the Indianapolis Colts organization for granting me the opportunity to compete in the National Football League the past three years,” wrote Willis. “I’ve built lifelong relationships with numerous teammates, coaches, and support staff that have impacted me greatly.

“With much prayer and deliberation, I have elected to officially retire from the NFL as I endeavor to devote the remainder of my life to the further advancement of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Thank you for your support over the years…”

Willis finished the 2021 season with ten starts, recording two interceptions while playing on 80 percent of the defensive snaps for the team.

This is not an unfamiliar feeling for Colts fans as they remember quarterback Andrew Luck’s early retirement at the age of 29 back in 2019. While numerous injuries were the reason for his retirement, Willis’s reason for retirement is entirely different.

There are a ton of players who don’t have a plan for life after football, and Willis’s decision to retire for a passion outside of sports is certainly a good thing for his personal life moving forward. Best of wishes to him in his retirement as he moves on to the next stage of his life.

[Ian Rapoport]

About Reice Shipley

Reice Shipley is a staff writer for Comeback Media that graduated from Ithaca College.