Vontae Davis explains why he retired from the NFL in the middle of a Bills game


There were a lot of crazy moments in the NFL on Sunday, but none of them topped what happened in Buffalo. At halftime of the Bills‘ 31-20 loss to the Chargers, Vontae Davis decided he didn’t want to play football anymore, so he quit the team and retired mid-game

As you can imagine, Davis’ decision didn’t really sit well with anyone in the organization. One teammate called him a quitter, another teammate said it was “disrespectful.” But Davis doesn’t really care what they think. 

After releasing a statement about his decision on Sunday, the defensive back decided to go into more detail this week during a conversation with ESPN’s The Undefeated

During the interview, Davis said he was able to pinpoint the time he made the decision: It came with 47 seconds left in the first half, just after the Bills had cut the lead to 28-6. 

“I went to the bench after that series and it just hit me,” Davis said. “I don’t belong on that field anymore.”

For most of the first half, Davis had felt that something was amiss. “I didn’t feel right, I didn’t feel like myself,” he said.

Just before halftime, Davis went up to Bills defensive backs coach John Butler and told him, “I’m done”

Of course, Butler didn’t really have any idea what was going on because he was trying to coach a game. However, two people did know exactly what was going on — the team chaplain and the Bills player development director — and they tried to talk him out of his decision. 

“I didn’t expect them to understand,” Davis said. “That moment was shocking to me as well.”

Despite being criticized for quitting on his team mid-game, the 30-year-old doesn’t regret his decision. 

“Leaving was therapeutic,” Davis said. “I left everything the league wanted me to be, playing for my teammates while injured, the gladiator mentality, it all just popped. And when it popped, I just wanted to leave it all behind. So that’s why I don’t care what people say. That experience was personal and not meant for anyone else to understand. It was me cold turkey leaving behind an identity that I carried with me for so long.”

Davis, who missed 11 games due to injury while with the Colts last season, just felt that it was time to call it a career. 

“My intention was not to hurt my teammates,” Davis said. “In that moment, my intuition was telling me I don’t belong on that field anymore.”

The former first-round pick will now end his career having played exactly one and a half games with the Bills. His short time with the Bills came after six seasons with the Colts (2012-17). Davis spent the first three seasons of his career in Miami after the Dolphins made him the 25th overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft

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