Following reports suggesting that Devonta Freeman might choose to retire from professional football amid his ongoing free agency saga, the former Atlanta Falcons running back took to Twitter on Monday, firing back at the speculation and saying he plans to keep playing in the NFL for a very long time.
As explained by CBS Sports, Freeman’s now-deleted tweet was a reaction to comments from the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, who on Monday discussed how the running back supposedly balked at a one-year, $4 million offer from the Seattle Seahawks, thus prompting the team to sign ex-Houston Texans standout Carlos Hyde to boost their rushing attack. According to Rapoport, there’s a possibility that Freeman could opt for retirement if he doesn’t get the big-money contract he’s expecting as a free agent.
“I got 10 more years in me,” Freeman was quoted as tweeting in response. “Kill that fake retirement sh*t!! & Btw F all y’all!!”
Although Freeman had a good overall run with the Falcons that included two Pro Bowl appearances, the 28-year-old hasn’t had a thousand-yard rushing season since 2016. Per Pro Football Reference, the former Florida State star rushed for only 656 yards and two touchdowns in the 2019 campaign, averaging just 3.6 yards per carry in 14 games for Atlanta. He did, however, fare considerably better in terms of his receiving stats, catching 59 passes for 410 yards and four touchdowns.
This recent lack of production, as CBS Sports noted, led the Falcons to part ways with Freeman earlier this year and paved the way for ex-Los Angeles Rams star Todd Gurley to sign with the team as their presumptive starting running back for 2020. Before he was cut, Freeman was the NFL’s highest-paid running back after having signed a five-year, $41.25 million extension in 2017.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) May 25, 2020
In addition to the Seahawks, the Philadelphia Eagles have reportedly shown some interest in Freeman, though as CBS Sports pointed out, the organization only has “barely $1 million” in its budget as it seeks veteran talents who could potentially relieve incoming second-year man Miles Sanders.
Given Freeman’s subpar rushing stats in 2019 and his apparent demands for a more lucrative contract than what Seattle was willing to offer, NBC Sports‘ Pro Football Talk opined that it’s very unlikely that he will receive a contract offer anywhere close to the $7 million a year he was averaging in his final three years in Atlanta. The outlet added that if he isn’t willing to accept a substantially cheaper offer, retirement just might be the best option for Freeman at this point.