Connor Halliday was just signed by the Washington Redskins as an undrafted free agent, but the Washington State quarterback instead decided to retire and walk away from his dream to play football.
Redskins coach Jay Gruden told reporters on Saturday that he woke to find a voicemail from Halliday saying he wouldn’t be joining the team.
Gruden didn’t know the reason why Connor Halliday decided to retire.
“I can’t speak for the decision that he made,” Gruden said, via The Washington Post. “He just chose to jump on a plane and head to the house. I haven’t had a chance to talk with him yet. He just left me a voice message, but I’m sure he had personal reasons behind it.”
Going into the NFL Draft, Connor Halliday was considered about the 10th best quarterback prospect and projected to go around the sixth round or later. He had a stellar career at Washington State, throwing for a school-record 11,304 yards to go along with 90 touchdowns, but ended his season in November with a broken leg.
Gruden said the abrupt retirement won’t impact the team’s plans going forward too much. Many had predicted Halliday would be a project and might make the team’s practice squad but wasn’t a real threat to crack the top two.
“[M]oving forward, we have three quarterbacks on our roster,” Gruden said. “We’re looking at another two guys out here today, and one more practice today, and then we’ll make a decision about whether or not we bring four to camp.”
Connor Halliday is not the only NFL player to retire at a very young age. This offseason, San Francisco 49ers linebacker Chris Borland decided to call it quits at age 24 due to his concern over health-related problems facing other NFL players
“I just honestly want to do what’s best for my health,” Borland said. “From what I’ve researched and what I’ve experienced, I don’t think it’s worth the risk.”
Borland, who didn’t have any major injuries, did suffer a concussion as a young teen and reported “getting his bell rung” in the preseason and playing through it.
Forbes noted that Borland’s retirement is part of a trend of players choosing to retire early rather than avoid the kinds of long-term injuries that have plagued other players. In the last year, Pittsburgh Steelers’ Jason Worilds (27) and Tennessee Titans’ Jake Locker (26) all decided to retire.
Connor Halliday has not discussed his reason for retiring from the NFL.
[Image via Getty Images/Otto Greule Jr]