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2015 NFL Free Agency News: Jake Locker Retires

The Titans' first round pick in 2011, officially a free agent as of less than an hour ago, is hanging 'em up. Read on for Locker's surprising statement announcing his retirement.

The eighth pick of the 2011 NFL Draft being pursued by the eleventh pick of the 2011 NFL Draft.
The eighth pick of the 2011 NFL Draft being pursued by the eleventh pick of the 2011 NFL Draft.
Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports

I don't think anyone saw this coming.

The statement from Jake Locker:

"I am retiring from football after much reflection and discussion with my family. I will always be grateful for having had the opportunity to realize my childhood dream of playing in the NFL and for the lifelong relationships I developed because of that experience. Football has always played a pivotal role in my life and I love the game, but I no longer have the burning desire necessary to play the game for a living; to continue to do so would be unfair to the next organization with whom I would eventually sign. I realize this decision is surprising to many, but I know in my heart that it is the right decision and I look forward to spending more time with my family and pursuing other interests."

How many 26 year old former first round picks do you recall walking away from the game voluntarily? This is stunning.

Taken with the eighth overall pick of the 2011 NFL Draft (three picks before the Texans selected J.J. Watt), Jake Locker never could put it together in Tennessee. He was frequently injured and/or ineffective during his time there, but there's no doubt some team would have signed him as a backup QB.

With very few exceptions, players have a tremendously limited shelf life and earning window in the NFL. I suppose that's why it's so shocking when a young player, even one who had as rough a time as Locker did, walks away on his own accord. Best of luck to him as he starts a new chapter.