Vontae Davis had apparently seen enough of the 2018 season for the Buffalo Bills.
The Bills cornerback, one of the team’s key offseason acquisitions, reportedly told head coach Sean McDermott mid-game that he had quit — and in, he was retiring in the middle of the game against the Los Angeles Chargers. ESPN writer Mike Rodak reported that Davis left the team at halftime and did not return.
At the point that Davis apparently decided to retire, the Bills had been thoroughly dominated on defense, giving up 28 points in the first half after having already 47 points to the Baltimore Ravens in Week 1.
Teammates confirmed that Vontae Davis indeed had retired, though the circumstances are not yet clear.
Davis had struggled to find a place on the young team. Though he was expected to take a starting cornerback spot, Davis started out as a backup on the depth chart and was listed as inactive for the team’s Week 1 loss to the Ravens.
After the Week 1 loss, McDermott said he didn’t feel Davis was the right fit against the Ravens.
“There’s a lot that went into that decision,” coach Sean McDermott said the day after the game (via the Buffalo News).
“No. 1 is getting the right guys on the field, who we feel are the right guys. … With respect to Vontae as it relates to the DB numbers you can have up, he doesn’t really give us the flexibility on special teams or the ability to move inside.”
Instead, the Bills started Phillip Gaines in Davis’ place. Gaines gave up four completions on four targets for 59 yards and a touchdown, the Buffalo News noted. After the game, the Bills seemed to hint that Gaines could be in line for more playing time, despite the rocky performance.
“Phillip had a couple plays that were a couple plays we’d like to see him make,” defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier said.
“One being that deep throw back and the one right before the half. I think he can make those plays. He did some good things tackling. He came up and made a couple real forceful tackles. Those couple of coverages, I’d like to see him when he’s in position be able to make those plays.”
Teammate says Bills' Vontae Davis retired at halftime https://t.co/wXUlmg80Ns— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) September 16, 2018
Lorenzo Alexander says he was told at start of second half that Vontae Davis quit and retired.— Mike Rodak (@mikerodak) September 16, 2018
The Bills looked considerably better after Davis’ mid-game retirement, giving up only three points in the second half and giving the offense to climb out of the hole the dug in the first half — though the Bills still lost the game, 31-13.
Vontae Davis has not spoken about why he chose to retire mid-game.