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Ex-Steelers LB Jason Worilds shockingly retires

A third unexpected retirement announcement in the last 24 hours makes for the perfect ending to one of the craziest days in NFL offseason history.

Free agent pass rusher Jason Worilds released a statement through his player representative, Jason Bernstein, declaring the former Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker's intention to walk away from football.

"I appreciate all of the interest from the organizations that have reached out to us the past few days," the statement reads. "With that being said, after much thought & consideration I have chosen to step away from football as I have opted to pursue other interests.

"I am especially grateful of the opportunity to play before some of the greatest fans in football today. Despite any concern and speculation that may ensue, I appreciate those that are respectful of my decision."

While the retirements of Patrick Willis and Jake Locker were surprising, it's understandable that they would grow weary of the battering their bodies had taken in recent years.

Worilds' decision is an absolute stunner, as the 27-year-old is not only retiring in the prime of his career, but also bypassing the opportunity for transformative wealth.

Why is Worilds walking away from the game? According to Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Worilds is doing so to work for his religion, Jehovah's Witnesses. 

The Steelers released a statement on the matter Tuesday:

"We respect his decision to retire and thank him for his five years in Pittsburgh. We wish him the best in his future endeavors."

After racking up 15.5 sacks with consistent quarterback pressure over the past two seasons, Worilds entered the new league year No. 10 on Around The NFL's list of the Top 101 free agents.

If this is the end, Worilds will finish his five-year career with 204 tackles with 25.5 sacks.

If he has a change of heart about his future in the next year or two, Worilds shouldn't lack for suitors.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast breaks down every trade and free-agent signing and discusses the impact of Darrelle Revis' return to the Jets. Find more Around The NFL content on NFL NOW.

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