John Moffitt Explains NFL Retirement, Forfeiting at Least $1 Million and More

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistNovember 6, 2013

Nov 11, 2012; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch (24) carries the ball while Seattle Seahawks guard John Moffitt (74) blocks during the game against the New York Jets during the game at CenturyLink Field. Seattle defeated New York 28-7. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports
Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

Afraid of the long-term consequences of an NFL career and uninterested in making a Super Bowl run, Denver Broncos guard John Moffitt shockingly informed the team Tuesday of his plans to retire. 

Moffitt, 27, failed to report to the Broncos after their bye week on Monday. A day later, he indicated on his Twitter feed that he was stepping away for good:

A third-round pick by the Seattle Seahawks in the 2011 NFL draft, Moffitt was traded twice this offseason—once to the Cleveland Browns and then finally to Denver after the initial deal was rescinded. The Broncos pegged the talented, 319-pound guard as an integral part of their line, but he never caught on. He played in only two of Denver's first eight games and was listed behind Louis Vasquez on the team's depth chart at right guard.

While a source initially told The Denver Post's Mike Klis that Moffitt made his decision after doing some "soul searching" due to his lack of playing time, the former Wisconsin standout indicated that wasn't the case. 

“I just really thought about it and decided I’m not happy. I’m not happy at all,” Moffitt told the Associated Press, via ESPN.com. “And I think it’s really madness to risk your body, risk your well-being and risk your happiness for money."   

Moffitt, who indicated he doesn't have a history of concussions, said the possibility of long-term brain injury did play a factor in his decision.

"I'm not trying to be the poster boy for 'Oh, I thought I should leave because of concussions.' I'm just saying, it's a valid point," Moffitt said. "I love the game and I respect the game and everybody who plays it knows what they risk and I knew what I risked when I played, and I'm no longer willing to risk it."

Nov 4, 2012; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Seahawks guard John Moffitt (74) talks with tackle Russell Okung (76) during warmups prior to the game against the Minnesota Vikings at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports
Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

Walking away from the game will cost Moffitt up to $1 million. He forfeits the $312,500 owed to him for the remainder of the 2013 campaign, as well as his $752,500 salary due for 2014. Because the final year of his deal was non-guaranteed and Moffitt was not playing, the $312,500 figure is more salient; it became guaranteed when he was on Denver's Week 1 roster.

In his interview with the AP, Moffitt said his week off allowed him perspective on the cost-benefit analysis of the money he's leaving on the table:

I've saved enough. It's not like I'm sitting here and I'm a millionaire. That's what I kind of realized. I'm sitting here and I got to this point and I was like, what is the number that you need? How much do you really need? What do you want in life? And I decided that I don't really need to be a millionaire.

Moffitt also indicated that the Broncos' 7-1 start played no bearing in his decision. Though he acknowledged he once dreamed of playing in the Super Bowl, he now says playing in the "great stadiums" he has throughout his career has given him fulfillment enough. 

The team has given no statement on Moffitt's decision other than to place him on the reserve/left team list Tuesday. Denver has five days to formally release him under the NFL's present collective bargaining agreement.

Jack Del Rio is currently serving as the Broncos' interim head coach for Week 10's game against the San Diego Chargers on Sunday and the foreseeable future, as John Fox underwent surgery this week to replace an aortic valve in his heart.

Moffitt finishes his career with only 19 regular-season games played, 15 of which were starts in Seattle.   

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