Longtime Arizona Cardinals defensive lineman Darnell Dockett announced his retirement Monday.
Dockett confirmed the decision during an interview on Arizona Sports 98.7 (h/t Darren Urban of AZCardinals.com):
It's always bittersweet. Your mind can sustain it, your heart can sustain it, but when your body can't go with the grind, it's like two different things. You're always a step behind. And I always felt like if I couldn't go out and (perform) at that level, then it was my time. So it's one of those things, I had a great run, I enjoyed it.
Kent Somers of AZCentral.com shared an image Monday of Dockett signing his one-day contract:
"Ten years is a long time," Dockett told reporters afterward. "Time is definitely flying...you don't take it for granted."
When asked what the future holds, Dockett told the media he plans "to root for the Cardinals, travel the world, spend time with my kids." He added he's "not sure" what the future holds after that.
Dockett hadn't played a regular-season snap since the 2013 season. He missed all of the 2014 campaign after suffering a torn ACL during Cardinals training camp. The San Francisco 49ers signed him the following offseason, but he dealt with a rib injury during camp and didn't make the final roster.
In January, the Florida State product told Vice Sports he was still keeping his options open while getting his body back to full strength after the injury issues. He admitted, however, that he didn't "need" football as part of his daily life anymore.
Now the 35-year-old, three-time Pro Bowl selection has officially decided to step away from the gridiron for good.
The Cardinals selected him in the third round of the 2004 draft. He proceeded to appear in 158 of a possible 160 games across the next decade. He tallied 459 combined tackles, 40.5 sacks, nine forced fumbles and four interceptions during that span.
Dockett also played six playoff games for Arizona. He had 11 combined tackles and three sacks in four contests during the team's run to the Super Bowl in 2008, which the Cardinals lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers on a late Santonio Holmes touchdown catch.
All told, Dockett was an effective, versatile piece of the Cardinals defense for 10 years and an emotional leader. His production exceeded what Arizona likely hoped to receive when it invested a third-round pick in him.
He probably had a couple of more seasons left before the injury issues struck. So after spending the past couple of years trying to get healthy, he decided now was the right time to call it quits and move forward to the next chapter of his life.