Think about your worst day ever at work.  

The day where everything went wrong. Where you really questioned whether you'd chosen the right career. When you thought hard about just walking away.

Did you do it? Did you wonder what might have happened if you had?

Now, we have a real-time example of what can happen, thanks to a bizarre spectacle in the NFL this weekend.

Vontae Davis, a cornerback for the Buffalo Bills, made the decision to end his career, right in the middle of a game. He quit at halftime, packed up his gear, and ultimately announced he'd retired from the sport.

Of course, he's been pilloried on social media. He had to know this was coming. And his former coach and teammates have lost respect for him. 

  • "It's just completely disrespectful to his teammates," the Bills' team captain, Lorenzo Alexander, said afterward. "I don't have nothing to say about Vontae. I'll give him a little bit more respect than he showed us today as far as quitting." 
  • "I think the only thing to say is he's where he needs to be right now. That's not here, point blank and simple," said teammate Kyle Williams.

Their reactions are certainly fair. It probably didn't help that the Bills were getting killed by the Los Angeles Chargers when Davis walked away. 

Afterward, Davis released a statement explaining his decision on the NFL's Twitter account. And, as you might imagine, there's a little bit more to the story.

None of this is a secret; it's buried low in half the news stories about his decision. And while it doesn't excuse his quitting in the middle of a game, it makes it a little bit more understandable.

All you need to know, really, is that Davis played for the Indianapolis Colts last year, but he was injured and his play suffered. That led to a dispute with the Colts' coach, which in turn led to his being released in November.

He signed on with the Bills last March, and as a 10-year veteran found himself battling to make the team. The Bills had their opening game last week (a devastating 47-3 loss to Baltimore), but Davis didn't play.

Thus, his surprise retirement came in the middle of his first game back in almost a year.

He wasn't some backup who'd been wondering if he could make it in the NFL, either. He was a veteran player with a $3.5 million contract who'd been to the Pro Bowl twice. 

You can imagine his state of mind, perhaps: More than a year of working hard to get back to the NFL, finally getting his shot, and realizing all at once that he didn't really want it enough anymore.

Besides the groin injury that upended his season last year, Davis has suffered three concussions over the course of his career, along with "a broken wrist and hamstring and knee and foot sprains."

"Today on the field, reality hit me fast and hard. I shouldn't be out there anymore," he wrote. (His full statement is below.)

Unfortunately for Davis, fans on social media dug up another sentiment he'd tweeted five years ago: "The people who Succeed in life are those who don't QUIT ... "

Now, he'll be remembered far more for his big, impetuous decision than for his long playing career. (For his sake, thank God he retired before that high school team made news about quitting its season after two days.)

Here's his full statement. Let us know what you think in the comments--and whether there's any part of you that can sympathize.

 

 

Published on: Sep 17, 2018
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