Former Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Anthony Gonzalez announced Thursday he won't seek another term in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Gonzalez, a Republican who's represented Ohio's 16th congressional district since 2019, posted a statement on Twitter about his decision:
Gonzalez was one of only 10 House Republicans who voted for the impeachment of former U.S. President Donald Trump on the charge of "incitement of insurrection" after Jan. 6, when a pro-Trump mob stormed the U.S. Capitol.
That vote led the 36-year-old former NFL player to get censured by the Ohio Republican Party Central Committee and caused a primary challenger to emerge in Max Miller, a former Trump aide who swiftly received the endorsement of 45th president, per CNN's Dan Merica and Simone Pathe.
Shannon Burns, the president of the Strongsville GOP Executive Board, said members of the party locally were "steadfast in their opposition" of Gonzalez after his vote against Trump.
'In the end, Congressman Gonzalez realized that without the support of the base of the party represented by Strongsville GOP and in the face of the Trump endorsement of Max Miller, he had no pathway to victory in the Republican Primary," Burns said in a statement to CNN.
Gonzalez called Trump a "cancer for the country" in an interview with the New York Times' Jonathan Martin and said he'll do whatever he can to make sure the former New York City businessman never returns to the presidency.
"I don't believe he can ever be president again," Gonzalez said. "Most of my political energy will be spent working on that exact goal."
The Ohio State alumnus added he's hopeful other Republicans will defend the "fundamentals of democracy" but explained he could no longer work within a Trump-led party.
Gonzalez played five NFL seasons with the Colts from 2007 through 2011. He made 99 catches for 1,307 yards with seven touchdowns across 40 career games.
He earned a master's degree in business administration from Stanford following his playing career before entering politics.