The retired New York Giants linebacker told The Associated Press on Wednesday that he just doesn't have the drive he believes is needed to do it.
"I did not have the passion to jump in with both feet and change my life and take this on with the same intensity that I played football," Carson said in a telephone interview.
Democratic officials asked Carson, 58, to run against five-term Republican U.S. Rep. Scott Garrett in a northern New Jersey district. Although he has never held public office, Carson could afford to bankroll his own campaign and has instant name recognition among sports fans.
"I was really flattered that so many people were urging me -- some were even begging me -- to run," he said.
Carson, who has lived in New Jersey since 1982 and now resides in Franklin Lakes, had been talking to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and local Democrats about the possibility of running. He told Bergen County Democratic officials on Tuesday that he had decided not to run.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee didn't return a call and an email seeking comment Wednesday.
Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press