D'Brickashaw Ferguson bids farewell to NFL

On Friday, we learned the surprising news that D'Brickashaw Ferguson was retiring.

On Saturday, the New York Jets' stalwart left tackle for the past decade said goodbye, thanking former teammates, coaches, owner Woody Johnson, fans and many others in a classy letter.

"I'm sure some of you might be pondering: Why now?" Ferguson wrote. "Well, my goal coming into this league was to become the best player I could be. I never wanted to define myself by the size of a potential contract, but rather by my ability to compete with the best that the game could offer. Though I was successful accomplishing that feat largely throughout my career, the difficulty in playing at such a high level began to increase."

The introspection of a player beginning the downward slope of a professional career is fascinating. Ferguson had the worst seasons of his pro career last year, allowing 59 total QB pressures, per Pro Football Focus, second most in the NFL among tackles.

Instead of battling Father Time, Ferguson, 32, decided to walk away while still productive. He cited his desire to pursue other goals as one reason he's retiring. NFL Media's Albert Breer noted Friday that the offensive tackle has some interests in becoming a general manager, so he might not totally be done with the NFL yet.

Players retiring "early" has created a heated social discussion about the future of the NFL. The truth remains that every player who retired this offseason has had his own, personal reasons.

Saturday Ferguson shared some of his:

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