Johnny Knox's life changed dramatically when he took a devastating hit in December 2011. Fourteen months later, Knox realizes that his NFL career is over.
"As an athlete, you don't want to give up, you want to keep on fighting. That's how I've always been," Knox told Sean Jensen of the Chicago Sun-Times. "But it's been on my heart for a while. I know how my body feels, and I know I'm not going to be the same and perform at the ability that I used to.
"So I'm moving on and going forward."
It's a sad story for such a young, promising player. Just a few days after the birth of his second child, Knox suffered a horrific back injury while playing the Seattle Seahawks. He had spinal fusion surgery the next day and missed all of the 2012 season.
Knox has pushed himself in rehabilitation, but he walks with a limp and can't stand comfortably. The only time he's not in pain is when lying down. But he's grateful to have a relatively normal life.
"I was centimeters away from being paralyzed, so just sitting here and talking, I'm appreciative of that," Knox says. "Just the hard work that I had to put in. Just to be able to stay in and do everything in my daily life that I used to do."
His career ended suddenly, but Knox does not sound like a man that feels wronged.
"My whole life, I've always been positive, and people ask me, 'Man, why are you so positive?'
"But I know things will work out for the best."
Follow Gregg Rosenthal on Twitter @greggrosenthal.