For most players, the most difficult part of retiring is being able to listen to what their body is saying. This applies to all sports, but it’s especially prevalent in football, with the bruising physical grind potentially leading to an ACL pop on any given week.
Efforts to ignore messages from the body are fruitless for football players, and only lead to a hobbled existence in retirement. Even Brett Favre, the NFL’s bionic man, finally listened to his body this past season and sat on the sidelines during a game for the first time, halting his record of 321 consecutive starts. Now he’s finally walked away for good, or at least that’s what we’ve all been led to believe. It’s still only July.
Kris Jenkins has played only seven games over the past two seasons due to severe ACL injuries. He received those same messages, and they finally trumped his desire to play.
The former Jets and Panthers defensive tackle announced his retirement today, ending a 10-year career. He was very 2011 when making the announcement too, breaking the news on is Facebook page.
Wanted to let you all know that I have loved the support and respect that you all have given me throughout my career. But it is time for the torch to be passed to the younger players. I am going to hang up the cleats! The mind is always willing to play but my body deserves the rest. Thank you for the opportunities to play Carolina and New York.
Jenkins had season-ending surgery two years ago after an injury to his left knee required a graft to be made using a tendon from his hamstring. We’re not sure what that means, but whenever medical work requires moving parts of the body around, that’s bad. He felt rejuvenated after an offseason of rehab, dropping 30 pounds using a cookie diet. Hey, whatever works.
But that youthful enthusiasm didn’t even last a full game. Jenkins tore the same ACL on the Jets’ sixth defensive play of the 2010 season, and he was released shortly after.
He’ll be remembered as a run stuffing tackle who could also pressure the quarterback–he had seven sacks in 2003 with Carolina–when healthy. Of course, that whole staying healthy bit was Jenkins’ fatal flaw.
Prior to the stretch of devastating injuries over the past two seasons that eventually ended his career, Jenkins also appeared in only five games between 2004 and 2005.