Bills safety Vontae Davis quits, retires at halftime of game against Chargers

Posted at 10:50 PM, Sep 16, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-16 19:30:06-04

(RNN) - Vontae Davis played for three teams, totaled 396 tackles and reeled in 22 interceptions during his 9-year NFL career.

At the risk of overshadowing or downplaying his career, he’ll likely be remembered for his retirement. To be fair, it was highly unusual.

Davis and the Buffalo Bills trailed the Los Angeles Chargers 28-6 at halftime of Sunday’s game. According to, when Davis reached the locker room, he took off his uniform and put on street clothes.

He abruptly told his coaches he was retiring and left the stadium.

"He pulled himself out of the game," Bills head coach Sean McDermott said. "He told us he was done."

Calling Davis’ retirement unusual may be an understatement, but it’s a much kinder term than his teammate Lorenzo Alexander used.

The Bills linebacker called the move “completely disrespectful.”

“Never had seen it ever,” Alexander told ESPN “Pop Warner, high school, college, pros. Never heard of it. Never seen it. And it’s just completely disrespectful to his teammates.”

Davis released the following statement after the news broke:

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.

The Bills ended up losing the game 31-20.

Davis joined the team in February of this year after spending six seasons with the Indianapolis Colts. He came into the league in 2009 with the Miami Dolphins.

According to ESPN, Davis earned a guaranteed $2 million this season. By being on the 53-man roster, he would have earned $15,625 per game. He’d was due $46,867 per game for making the 46-man game-day roster.

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