NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Titans linebacker Brian Orakpo says he’s retiring after 10 NFL seasons, wanting to walk away from football on his own terms.
Orakpo, 32, announced his decision Monday with teammates on hand. He had planned for months to make the final year of his contract his last in the league.
“This was definitely a decision solely made for just walking away from the game health-wise,” Orakpo said. “I think I played enough football, and as you get older, ... the perception is we can keep going and going and going. But your body starts talking to you. This is the first time I actually sat down and listened. I thought this was the appropriate time to go off on a winning note.”
The 13th pick overall out of Texas in 2009 by Washington, Orakpo was a four-time Pro Bowl linebacker who started all 132 games in his career over six seasons with Washington and four with Tennessee. Orakpo finished with 66 career sacks, 26 of those in Tennessee, 125 quarterback hits and 12 forced fumbles.
Orakpo missed the last three games of the season with an injured triceps muscle. The linebacker says he would have been able to play if the Titans (9-7) had reached the postseason. Linebackers Derrick Morgan and Wesley Woodyard and defensive linemen Jurrell Casey and DaQuan Jones and quarterback Marcus Mariota stuck around to see Orakpo’s announcement and posed with the linebacker for a quick photo.
The linebacker thanked coach Mike Vrabel for letting him inform the Titans of his decision at a team meeting Monday. Orakpo says he wanted them to hear the news from himself. After he finished, Orakpo also shook hands with reporters.