Oft-injured Tennessee Titans quarterback Jake Locker announced his retirement from the NFL at the age of 26 on Tuesday, March 10.
Jake Locker has retired from the NFL at the age of 26.
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The Tennessean's Jim Wyatt confirmed the news on March 10. Wyatt stresses had Locker decided to return in 2015, he wouldn't have been back with the Titans. However, he could have gotten another shot with a different team. He decided otherwise.
In a statement Wyatt obtained from Locker's agent, the now-former Titans quarterback said he's lost "the burning desire" to play in the NFL:
"I am retiring from football after much reflection and discussion with my family. I will always be grateful for having had the opportunity to realize my childhood dream of playing in the NFL and for the lifelong relationships I developed because of that experience.
"Football has always played a pivotal role in my life and I love the game, but I no longer have the burning desire necessasry to play the game for a living; to continue to do so would be unfair to the next organization with whom I would eventually sign.
"I realize this decision is surprising to many, but I know in my heart that it is the right decision and I look forward to spending more time with my family and pursuing other interests."
Locker has had an injury-riddled, four-year career in Tennessee.
After Locker became the Titans' starting quarterback in 2012, he missed 14 of 32 starts over a two-year span due to shoulder and foot injuries, per Wyatt. He then started the first five games of the 2014 NFL season but eventually lost out to rookie quarterback Zach Mettenberger. Tennessee then placed Locker on injured reserve in Dec. 2014.
More specifically, ESPN lists Locker's injuries as follows: dislocated shoulder (2014), Lisfranc injury (2013), sprained MCL (2013) and a sprained hip (2013). All in all, he suited up in just 30 of a possible 64 games with the Titans.
Despite his injury issues, Locker has earned the respect of his teammates and the city of Nashville. Wyatt explains why:
"In his rookie season, he waited patiently for his turn behind veteran starter Matt Hasselbeck. Along the way, he put in the extra work in the meeting rooms, and with coaches. He proved his toughness by battling through injuries when he could. He was involved in the Nashville community, regularly hosting a football camp for kids, and also raising money for his foundation."
Locker was known for his speed when healthy. However, Titans head coach Ken Whisenhut wanted more of a pocket passer for his quarterback, per the ESPN report. That's one of the reasons why he went with Mettenberger instead.
According to The Tennessean update, Locker now joins Vince Young as two high-profile draft picks who fizzled out after just a few seasons with the Titans. Wyatt reported on Tuesday Locker's professional plans are still unknown. He is married with two children.
Locker threw for 4,967 yards, 27 touchdowns and 22 interceptions on a 79.0 passer rating in four seasons with the Tennessee Titans, per ESPN stats.
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