Former New England Patriots safety Steve Gregory suddenly announced his retirement from the NFL Saturday. The eight-year NFL veteran played six seasons with the San Diego Chargers before joining the Patriots in 2012. He was released by the team back on February 28.
After his release from the Patriots, Gregory signed on with the Kansas City Chiefs on July 31. The 31-year-old and his wife welcomed their first child into the world earlier this offseason. He says the event changed his life, yet feels incredibly lucky to have played for so long.
“It is with tremendous respect, appreciation and admiration for the game of football that I’ve decided to announce my retirement effective immediately. After entering the game as an undrafted free agent, I was fortunate enough to play twice as long as the average player,” Gregory said in a statement through his agent.
Gregory appeared in a total of 111 games over the course of his career, 26 of which came with the Patriots. He started 54 of those games. Gregory totaled 376 tackles and nabbed seven interceptions over the course of his career.
The Syracuse graduate racked up 79 tackles a year ago in New England. Gregory is most known for his role in the infamous Mark Sanchez “butt fumble.” Back in 2012, in a game against the Jets, Sanchez ran straight into the rear end of one of his offensive linemen. The ball squirted loose as Sanchez fell to the ground. Gregory scooped up the football, returning it 32 yards for a touchdown.
“This past off season, my wife Rosanne and I were blessed to welcome a daughter, Aviana, and spending time with her has changed my life’s perspective. It is my hope to continue in football as a coach and I look forward to what the future holds,” said Gregory.
In today’s game, it’s very rare that a player walks away from the game in the manner in which Gregory is doing. Generally we see an injury bring a career to a halt. Gregory is fortunate to have his health as he gets set to pursue life after football.
“I’m tremendously happy with my decision and being able to walk away from this great game both healthy and on my own terms,” added Gregory.