NFL Player Stuns by Retiring in the Prime of His Career to Devote His Life to 'The Further Advancement of the Gospel of Jesus Christ'
Indianapolis Colts starting safety Khari Willis will be retiring from his athletic career to take up a life of ministry serving God, the NFL player announced on Wednesday.
“I’d first like to thank the Indianapolis Colts organization for granting me the opportunity to compete in the National Football League the past three years,” the football player began in a Wednesday post on his Instagram account.
“I’ve built lifelong relationships with numerous teammates, coaches and support staff that have impacted me greatly,” Willis wrote. “The lessons that I’ve learned in this phase of my life will be valuable for me in my next chapter.”
“With much prayer and deliberation, I have elected to officially retire from the NFL as I endeavor to devote the remainder of my life to the further advancement of the Gospel of Jesus Christ,” Willis said.
“I thank all of my family, friends and those who have supported me on this journey thus far and I look forward to your continued support through the next phase of my life.”
“I am both humbled and excited to pursue the holy call that God has for my life which brings me much joy and purpose,” Willis wrote.
The 26-year-old made no light sacrifice in choosing ministry over a football career.
Willis made approximately $3 million during his first three NFL seasons, according to the Indianapolis Star.
If he continued in the NFL, he would have earned $2.54 million as his base salary for 2022, the Indianapolis Star reported.
Willis’ NFL career began in 2019 when he was drafted in the fourth round of the 2019 NFL Draft. The Colts traded up 20 spots to enlist Willis.
The rising star was offered a four-year contract worth $3.28 million, including a signing bonus of $767,104.
During his career, he made 33 starts in 39 games over the course of three seasons, bagging 219 tackles, four interceptions and 3.5 sacks, according to the Indianapolis Star.
Colts head coach Frank Reich wished Willis well as he chose to pursue the next chapter of his life journey.
Reich himself studied in a seminary and then became a pastor following his retirement from football, The Washington Post reported.
“We’re thankful and appreciative of Khari’s contributions to the Colts both on and off the field over the last three seasons,” Reich said, according to Fox News.
“Khari’s character, leadership and professionalism will be missed in our locker room as well his play on Sundays. I admire and respect his decision to transition into the next stage of his life and ministry and my prayers will always be with him,” Reich added.
“Never take having a great teammate for granted,” Indianapolis Colts cornerback Kenny Moore II wrote in a Wednesday post on Twitter.
Never take having a great teammate for granted. From calling your name on your draft night to watching you mold into the human you are today. Best wishes in retirement, I’m always in your corner 37. Love bro pic.twitter.com/e3UzUPi3Lg
— Kenny Moore II (@KennyKennyMoe3) June 15, 2022
“From calling your name on your draft night to watching you mold into the human you are today. Best wishes in retirement, I’m always in your corner 37. Love bro,” Moore wrote.
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