Daunte Culpepper has announced that he’s retiring from the NFL after nine seasons, and at the age of 31.
The reason behind Daunte’s decision to hang them up is that he can’t find a job in the NFL, or at least, not one that he deems worthy of him. Apparently the man who took the NFL by storm in 2000 with the Minnesota Vikings and had many thinking he would revolutionize the way the quarterback position is played, still thinks he’s the greatest quarterback of all time.
He released the following letter, via PROFOOTBALLTALK:
When Free agency began this year, I had a new sense of excitement about continuing to rebuild my career in the same way that I had rebuilt my knee after my catastrophic injury in 2005. Unfortunately, what I found out was that the league did not share any of the optimism about me as an Unrestricted Free Agent that I expected.
In fact, there was an overwhelming sense that there was no room for me among this year’s group of quarterbacks; whether in a starting, competing or a back-up role. No matter what I did or said, there seemed to be a unified message from teams that I was not welcome to compete for one of the many jobs that were available at the quarterback position. It seems that the stance I took in both Minnesota and Miami regarding my rights as a person and player has followed me into Free Agency.
After taking a long look at my career and my personal convictions, I have decided to begin early retirement from the NFL effective immediately. Since the beginning of training camp I was told that my opportunity would come when a quarterback gets hurt. I cannot remember the last time so many QB’s have been injured during the preseason
I have been strongly encouraged from family, friends and league personnel to continue to be patient and wait for an inevitable injury to one of the starting quarterbacks in the league. I would rather shut the door to such “opportunity” than continue to wait for one of my fellow quarterback’s to suffer a serious injury. Since I was not given a fair chance to come in and compete for a job, I would rather move on and win in other arenas of life.
Seriously, I don’t get this. In a league where J.T. O’Sullivan, Chad Pennington, and Kyle freaking Orton can win starting jobs, and Rex Grossman can play in a Super Bowl, there’s nobody out there that’s willing to give Culpepper a chance? It doesn’t make any sense.
The only thing I can figure is that either Daunte’s knees aren’t as healthy as he would have us believe, or that he was asking for way too much money from everybody. He did have one-year offers from both the Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers this offseason, and turned both of them down.