Buffalo Bills linebacker Lorenzo Alexander announced his retirement while meeting with reporters at his locker:
"I can continue to play on and on and on, but that deters from me being able to be there for my kids," Alexander explained. "You know, obviously emotionally, spiritually and then physically because the more I play, the more injuries that I will succumb to eventually just because of age and wear and tear. And I really want to be able to be an active dad."
Alexander added that his decision to retire was made "a while ago" and he's "at peace with it."
"I'll still be around," the 36-year-old continued. "I'm part of this community in Buffalo, so hopefully I can do something like Kyle Williams is doing, Eric Wood, still engaged and coming around and still being a Buffalo Bill. So, I'm a Bill for life."
Alexander recorded three tackles (one solo) in his final game to finish this season with 58 tackles (36 solo), two sacks and one forced fumble.
The two-time Pro Bowler has been with the Bills since 2016. Alexander's best seasons happened with Buffalo, including a career-high 12.5 sacks and 76 tackles in 2016.
"You can't really put into words what he means to this team, just the role that he plays," Bills quarterback Josh Allen told the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle's Sal Maiorana in late December. "He's a leader and a captain, been playing at a very high level for a long time. He does things the right way and he’s an inspiration for a lot of people here."
Bills defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier added:
"There may be someone else that'll play his position next season and may wear the same number, but there won’t be another Lorenzo Alexander. He's meant so much to me as a coach, and I know for the players as well. Heck of a football player for sure, but his leadership and just his ability to break things down and see beyond the minutiae and get to what’s real, those guys are rare. I don't know if we'll find another guy like Lorenzo who means so much to so many."
Alexander has been Buffalo's nomination for the Walter Payton Man of the Year award three straight years for his work in the community through his own ACES Foundation as well as other endeavors (h/t Buffalo Rumblings).
Lorenzo Alexander @onemangang97
Truly honored to be the @BuffaloBills Walter Payton Man of the year nominee. We have so many men in our building who deserve recognition for their service. Thank you to my wife, family & friends who continue to help me support our community! https://t.co/izvkB2qYBe
As for Alexander's motivation to retire, his dedication to his family was on public display when his daughter Zoie sang the national anthem ahead of Buffalo's regular-season finale last weekend:
Alexander went undrafted in 2005 out of the University of California. After spending time with the Carolina Panthers and Baltimore Ravens' practice squads, he made his NFL debut in Washington, where he played from 2007 to 2012. He also had stops in Arizona (2013-14) and Oakland (2015) before finishing strong in Buffalo.