Sure, football is a tough game to play for a long time. With concussion concerns and the general beating the game takes on an NFL player's body, human beings weren't built to play professional football forever. The values that the game teaches should transcend time and stick with those who played it forever, though.
Preparation, technique and teamwork are three pillars of the game. Each week, it takes a village to prepare for an NFL game. When one person doesn't live up to their end of the deal, especially when you are a paid professional, you're falling short of your obligation to that organization and fan base. On Sunday afternoon, we saw one of the most unprofessional, cowardly moves in NFL history — Cornerback Vontae Davis, a 10-year NFL veteran, went into the locker room at halftime, and he never came back out.
The Bills trailed the Los Angeles Chargers 28-6 at halftime. Starting rookie quarterback Josh Allen and Buffalo's offense was struggling to find their rhythm, and the defense was being picked apart by quarterback Philip Rivers (256 yards, three TDs) and the Chargers' offense.
When Buffalo emerged from their locker room for the second half of a home game, one player was missing.
Vontae Davis decided that he was "done" playing, and he was going to retire. Not at the end of the game. Not after sleeping on it for the night. There was a 20-minute window, and Davis decided to jump right through it and out of the game without warning.
Later in the day, he posted this "heartfelt" official statement to his personal Instagram page:
I'm no professional football player, but I do know what it looks like when somebody quits. This is a case of a man who obviously had thought about this decision for a long time, probably even before the season even began. He wasn't invested in rebuilding a Buffalo franchise that signed him to a one-year deal worth $3.5 million guaranteed.
Davis took his money and ran.
Coach Sean McDermott didn't bench Davis, but did say that Davis "took himself out of the game" in the first half, and pulled this stunt during the intermission.
Linebacker Lorenzo Alexander, a 35-year-old veteran who is coming off winning Defensive MVP at the Pro Bowl last season, talked about the "completely disrespectful" move by Davis during Sunday's game.
Davis has undergone multiple surgeries during his career, but this is no way to go out. Davis didn't have an "honest moment" at halftime that led him to leave the game. He'd been thinking about this for a long time, and he just decided to quit.
Forget the fact that Vontae Davis was a two-time All-Big Ten performer playing at the University of Illinois. Forget the fact that Vontae Davis was a first-round pick in the 2009 NFL Draft. Forget the fact that Vontae Davis is a two-time Pro Bowl selection and recorded 22 interceptions in his NFL career playing for the Miami Dolphins and Indianapolis Colts.
Let's all just forget about Vontae Davis, because that's exactly what he did to his teammates, the Buffalo Bills organization and fans of the game of football everywhere.
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