In a surprise move, free agent quarterback Jake Locker opted to retire on Tuesday, according to Mike Garafolo of Fox Sports. Locker, just 26 years old, said he made the decision because he no longer has "the burning desire necessary to play the game for a living."
"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."
Locker, picked No. 8 overall by the Tennessee Titans in 2011, entered the league as a potential franchise quarterback. Through four seasons, he showed flashes of brilliance. His strong arm and fast legs allowed Locker to make plays that most quarterbacks couldn't fathom. However, he never developed into an accurate passer, and injuries derailed each of his four seasons. As a result, the Titans declined to pick up his fifth-year option before the 2014 season.
Just a year ago, Locker was positioned for a breakout season that could possibly vault him to the level of a franchise quarterback. Instead, injuries again interrupted his progress and limited him to just seven games. He never played more than 11 games in a season. A two-sport star, Locker was drafted by the Los Angeles Angels while in college but instead opted to purse a football career.
SB Nation presents: Should Jake Locker be added to this list?