Chris Gamble was set to get paid sometime in the coming days or weeks. Even though he’s aging (he’s 30) and therefore somewhat fading, in today’s NFL defending the pass is always a paramount need. Therefore, a cornerback like Gamble whose coverage skills still very much put him among the upper tiers at his position is set to be highly courted this offseason, even with the abundance of other available — and younger — corners (Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Brent Grimes, Sean Smith).
Instead, the man who owns the Carolina Panthers record for the most career interceptions (27) is choosing to take his money and his health, and fade away.
It’s a slightly curious decision given the aforementioned interest Gamble would receive as the leading corner among the second tier of free agents at his position. But in an era when head trauma is a constantly lingering concern and talking point, Gamble has surely made enough money through nine seasons, and at some point health and family are much more important.
Gamble has arrived at that point, and his agent Carl Poston issued this statement addressing his decision to retire (via Josina Anderson):
“A number of teams have expressed interest in Chris. However, he informed me last night that he wants to retire. Even though he still loves football, he told me that he’s decided to focus on life after football. Chris has been a class act. I have represented him for nine years, ever since he came out of Ohio State. He’s been an ideal client and he was one of the best corners in game. He’s doing it the right way. He has taken care of his money and his investments to retire successfully, and now I wish him the best in his future endeavors.”
Gamble was cut by the Panthers after he appeared in just four games this past season due to a shoulder injury, and his age combined with durability concerns led to the easy conclusion that his $10.95 million cap hit in 2013 was far too great of a financial burden.