Former Wisconsin standout walked away from NFL with no regrets

  • Article by: SAM FARMER , Los Angeles Times
  • Updated: January 28, 2014 - 7:46 AM

Former Seahawks and Broncos lineman John Moffitt decided, at 27, that he didn’t want to play football anymore.

Denver Broncos guard John Moffitt plays against the Arizona Cardinals during a pre-season NFL football game on Thursday, Aug. 29, 2013, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey) ORG XMIT: NYOTK

 

– It was more than a bye week for Denver Broncos guard John Moffitt. More like a bye-bye week.

Less than three months ago, Moffitt stunned the 7-1 Broncos by returning home to the Seattle area during his week off and deciding to walk away from his NFL career. The Seahawks had traded him to Denver in August, after he had played his first two seasons with Seattle.

Now, the Broncos and Seahawks are playing in Super Bowl XLVIII, and Moffitt, a third-round pick out of Wisconsin in 2011, said he has no regrets about giving up on what millions of people would consider a dream job.

“I was just sick of playing football,” said Moffitt, 27, sitting in a modest home he rents about a mile south of Seahawks headquarters. “I felt I’d played a lot and had gotten to the point where it wasn’t necessarily paying off, and it wasn’t something I was enjoying anymore. I was really unhappy with the whole lifestyle.”

If Moffitt feels a pang these days, it’s not one of regret. It’s in his surgically reconstructed right knee, which tends to throb on cold days. He could have played on it, but the joint is a reminder of the toll the game takes on the body.

“It’s like being an old man as a 27-year-old,” he said. “I don’t think compared to a lot of other guys I’m that badly banged up. But I definitely took a beating.”

Moffitt started nine games at right guard as a rookie before suffering a season-ending knee injury. By the time he was healthy enough to return for the start of the 2012 season, he had been demoted to part-time starter along with two others.

He asked to be traded, and the Seahawks obliged. They tried to trade him to Cleveland, but Moffitt said the Browns tried to lowball him on his contract, then called off the trade for medical reasons when he wouldn’t agree.

Seattle then shipped him to Denver, where he backed up at both guard spots and center. Although he had played in only two of the Broncos’ first eight games, he was a key insurance policy as a reserve.

“It was a shocker coming out of the bye week,” said John Elway, Denver’s top football executive. “I said, ‘Where’s Moffitt?’ And I get ahold of him and he goes, ‘I’m not coming back.’ Put us in a little bit of a jam, depth-wise.

“But I didn’t want a guy who didn’t want to play football, either. He sounded like he’d made up his mind.”

The potential for more injuries isn’t the only reason why Moffitt quit. He soured on the NFL ethos — “taught thought” he calls it — which he sees as a big corporate money grab that uses players as pawns. It bothers him that society puts professional athletes on pedestals.

“It freaks me out sometimes when you have grown men that you look up to act completely different around you now because you’re in the NFL,” he said. “That should not happen. …

“I don’t think anybody should be treated differently for doing something so arbitrary as playing football. Show me the guy who cured cancer, and let’s raise him up and be like, ‘Do this stuff!’ Have kids aspire to do that.”

Invited by a friend, Moffitt attended last week’s NFC Championship Game. He said he enjoyed watching it but felt no urge to resume his career.

“The way I look at it is, I did that dream,” he said. “I did the NFL. I’m bored of it. I didn’t like the way it was going for me. I didn’t like it for health reasons. I’m going to create a new dream.”

  • related content

  • Seattle Seahawks' John Moffitt works out during NFL football minicamp Tuesday, June 11, 2013, in Renton, Wash. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson) ORG XMIT: NYOTK

  • Former Seahawks lineman John Moffitt posed with fans outside CenturyLink Field before the NFC Championship Game. Moffitt attended the game as a fan months after retiring from the NFL.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Will you boo Jared Allen when he returns with the Bears?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

Kansas City - LP: B. Chen 1 FINAL
Cleveland - WP: C. Kluber 5
Cincinnati - WP: T. Cingrani 2 FINAL
Pittsburgh - LP: B. Cumpton 1
Chicago WSox - LP: J. Quintana 4 FINAL
Detroit - WP: M. Scherzer 7
St. Louis - LP: L. Lynn 1 FINAL
NY Mets - WP: B. Colon 4
Minnesota - WP: R. Nolasco 9 FINAL
Tampa Bay - LP: E. Bedard 7
Arizona - WP: M. Bolsinger 5 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - LP: E. Jackson 2
San Diego - WP: A. Torres 4 FINAL
Washington - LP: C. Stammen 3
Baltimore - WP: B. Norris 11 FINAL
Toronto - LP: B. Cecil 4
NY Yankees - WP: C. Sabathia 14 FINAL
Boston - LP: F. Doubront 5
Oakland - WP: S. Kazmir 10 FINAL
Houston - LP: B. Oberholtzer 1
Philadelphia - WP: M. Adams 7 FINAL
Los Angeles - LP: B. Wilson 3
Indiana 85 FINAL
Atlanta 98
Oklahoma City 95 FINAL
Memphis 98
LA Clippers 98 FINAL
Golden State 96
Boston 3 FINAL(OT)
Detroit 2
Colorado 1 FINAL
Minnesota 2
San Jose 3 FINAL
Los Angeles 6
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters
Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2013 preseason     
Aug 9 - vs. Houston 7 pmX27-13
Aug 16 - at Buffalo 6 pmX20-16
Aug 25 - at San Francisco 7 pmX34-14
Aug 29 - vs. Tennessee 7 pmX24-23
2013 regular season     
Sep 8 - at Detroit NoonX34-24
Sep 15 - at Chicago NoonX31-30
Sep 22 - vs. Cleveland NoonX31-27
Sep 29 - vs. Pittsburgh (in London) NoonX34-27
Oct 6 - Bye
Oct 13 - vs. Carolina NoonX35-10
Oct 21 - at. NY Giants 7:40 pmX23-7
Oct 27 - vs. Green Bay 7:30 pmX44-31
Nov 3 - at Dallas NoonX27-23
Nov 7 - vs. Washington 7:25 pmX34-27
Nov 17 - at Seattle 3:25 pmX41-20
Nov. 24 - at Green Bay Noon26-26
Dec 1 - vs. Chicago NoonX23-20
Dec 8 - at Baltimore NoonX29-26
Dec 15 - vs. Philadelphia NoonX48-30
Dec 22 - at Cincinnati NoonX42-14
Dec 29 - vs. Detroit NoonX14-13
 
Close