Is John Moffitt Crazy?

This is kind of old news, but I didn’t comment on it when it was new news, so I’m commenting on it now, because we’re in the midst of a BYE week and there’s nothing else to talk about.

For a point of reference, go ahead and read this article.

John Moffitt was drafted by the Seattle Seahawks in the third round of the NFL draft in 2011.  This is the same year the Seahawks drafted James Carpenter in the first round to be a right tackle.  Moffitt was the next pick for us (we traded down & out of the second round to give ourselves a third rounder – which was originally traded to San Diego in that Charlie Whitehurst deal – and a fourth rounder) and he was destined to be a guard.  There were always whispers that both Carpenter and Moffitt would be guards, but at the time this was going to be the right side of our offensive line.

Both suffered season-ending injuries as rookies.  Moffitt also had the indignity of being suspended for adderall.  In 2012, the Seahawks went after some more linemen (albeit later in the draft, and among the undrafted rookies) and came away with J.R. Sweezy, a converted defensive lineman slated to play guard.  Thanks to further injuries & ineffectiveness, Sweezy supplanted Moffitt as the team’s starting right guard.  There was a little time-share between the two, but for the most part Moffitt was little more than offensive line depth.  He was no longer the future for this team.

So, in the pre-season of 2013, Moffitt was traded to the Broncos for a guy we would later cut.  Moffitt played a bit for the Broncos, but again was mostly just offensive line depth.  Earlier this month, Moffitt decided to retire, in the middle of his third year in the league, while on a Super Bowl-contending team.

Obviously, this is not a usual situation.  You don’t see guys retiring like this every day.  Usually, you see guys retire because they’ve been cut and nobody else wants them.  Sometimes, you see guys retire because their bodies physically won’t allow them to continue playing the game they love.  Every once in a while, guys will be allowed to retire on their own terms, content with the decision they’ve made and the career they’ve fashioned.

Rarely do you see guys retire simply because they’re not happy.  And they’re concerned about what the game could be doing to their bodies.  When a team actually still wants them to continue playing for them.  Leaving money and a lifetime of benefits on the table.

I don’t think John Moffitt is crazy.  Frankly, I respect the man now more than ever.  He seems pretty secure financially (or, at least, he seems pretty secure in his abilities to survive financially post-football), he seems content with his decision, and if you’re so unhappy doing something like this, you owe it to yourself, your teammates, and that team’s fans to remove yourself from the situation.  You’re not helping anyone by just going through the motions.

The one thing I don’t really understand is:  couldn’t this have waited until after the season ended?  This seems like a rather impulsive decision given the circumstances.  He retired on November 5th, after Denver’s BYE week, mere days from their Week 10 football game.  Best-case scenario, he would have had to endure eight more weeks in the league; that’s if Denver somehow collapsed and missed the playoffs entirely.  Worst-case scenario, he would have had to endure 13 more weeks in the league; that’s if Denver made it all the way to the Super Bowl.

He couldn’t wait three months?

I won’t sit here and pretend I know what it’s like to be John Moffitt.  As a youth, I endured one gasping, panting, exhausting practice of football pre-high school before quitting.  Then, I ended up playing all of Freshman year in high school before quitting again, with little fanfare, prior to my Sophomore year.  As a career third-stringer, I played sparingly.  I was a big, out of shape right tackle / defensive tackle.  I never once saw a playbook, I somehow missed out on Picture Day, and I only got into games once our team was up 40 late in the second half of games (we had a great Freshman football team that, as Seniors, would play for a state championship; hat tip to running back Marcus Trufant for being our all star).  You wouldn’t have even known I’d ever played football in high school, except for my signature at the tip of the championship football we all signed after ending a perfect Freshman season.  I had neither the dedication, the drive, nor the talent to be the kind of football player John Moffitt turned out to be.  I quit football mostly because I was lazy, and because offensive line was the least-sexiest position in football.  I didn’t respect the offensive line like I do now, because I was a stupid high school kid and I didn’t know any better.

I also didn’t know any better about the health risks, but I’m sure that wouldn’t have been my primary reason for quitting if I had.  Nevertheless, he couldn’t wait another three months before retiring?

I’m sorry, but that lifetime of benefits (whatever they may be), would be too enticing to give up.  I’m sure they’re not the best benefits in the world, but combine them with the game checks he would have received, and that’s a nice little start to your post-football career!

When you think about it, he wasn’t even a starter anymore.  So, really, while he’s putting in three months of work, they’re really just three months of practice.  PRACTICE!  You’re telling me you couldn’t have handled three months of practice before leaving it all behind?

I’m not even talking about finishing out his contract (which ran through next year, and surely would have been honored, because he was making a relatively small amount of money compared to other NFL players – yet a relatively large amount of money compared to us normies not in the league), I’m just talking about PRACTICE!  I’m not in much better shape than I was in high school, nor have my offensive lineman skills improved one lick, yet I’m sure I could endure three months of practice to get whatever benefits he left on the table and whatever game checks he had coming to him.

But, whatever, you know?  He’s happy with his decision, and I totally get that.  Some of my happiest, most giddy days in my entire life were those days where I’d quit my job.  That feeling of walking out of a hell-hole for the last time, with the rest of those suckers tied to their desks and their dead-end jobs, had me practically skipping with joy down the street.  Life is never so sweet as those moments right there.  Mostly because it immediately goes downhill as you realize you have no idea how you’re going to support yourself going forward.

John Moffitt strikes me as one of the few football player-types I’d actually like to get a beer with or something.  You have to respect a guy who is willing to throw away not only the rest of this year’s salary, but next year’s salary, health benefits, and the very real potential for a second contract (if not with Denver, then surely with SOME needy NFL team).  If he played his cards right, he could have carved himself a nice little 8-year career (or more) playing football.  I’m not (too) dense.  I understand that the NFL lifestyle probably isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.  There’s got to be a lot of hardships that are downplayed or hidden entirely from the public at large.  We, as fans, sit here and lionize these players because football is the greatest sport in the world.  But, we have a hard time relating to these same players because they’re so unlike us.  So, we’re taken aback by guys like John Moffitt when he shows he is, in fact, JUST like us.  He has wants and needs and desires outside of the life of professional football just like everybody else.  Yet, he’s treated as a circus freak for willingly leaving The Life.

Well, count me as one fan who welcomes him back to regular, everyday life with open arms.  And if I do happen to run into him at a bar, I hope I’ll be the first (that day) to buy the guy a beer and chew his ear off about various topics NOT related to life in the NFL.

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