NASHVILLE, Tenn. – As the Titans packed up for the offseason on Monday, one player packed up and left for good.
Linebacker Brian Orakpo has called it a career after 10 NFL seasons, including the last four with the Titans.
He shared the news with his teammates during a team meeting on Monday, and then delivered the news at a press conference a little later in the day.
"I wanted to walk away from the game on my terms – healthy, great state of mind," Orakpo said. "This is something to cherish. It is something to be happy (about). It is kind of bittersweet, but we all have to go at some time, and I believe this is my time."
Orakpo, named to four Pro Bowls in his career, said his body began sending him signals it was time. Orakpo missed the final three games of the 2018 season with an elbow injury.
In his career, which started off with the Redskins (2009-2014), Orakpo recorded 530 tackles with 66 sacks, and 330 quarterback pressures. Orakpo said he entered the season thinking it would likely be his last season.
"It is very hard (to walk away)," Orakpo said. "We are trained warriors, man. We have been doing this for a long time. … (But) this is the first time I can just rest, and just concentrate on raising my kids and being a better father and better husband. I am most proud that I accomplished a lot and can go out on my own terms."
Titans coach Mike Vrabel called Orakpo a pro.
"I told him I appreciated his leadership," Vrabel said of Orakpo. "Change happens in the National Football League. With a new coach and veteran players, I really appreciated what he was able to do along with other guys to help spread that message in the locker room. It was an honor to be able to coach him for a year."
TitansOnline.com looks back at the last four seasons of Titans linebacker Brian Orakpo, who announced his retirement on Monday. (AP Photos)
A day after their season-ending loss to the Colts, Titans players cleared out their lockers at Saint Thomas Sports Park, officially entering the 2019 offseason. (Photos: Gary Glenn)