LAKE FOREST, IL - MAY 01: Johnny Knox #13 of the Chicago Bears speaks to the media following a rookie mini-camp practice on May 1, 2009 at Halas Hall in Lake Forest, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Just a day after his contract was terminated by the Chicago Bears, and a day after saying he still wants to play football, receiver Johnny Know took a good look in the mirror and came to the realization that he just isn't ready to play after more than 13 months of recovering from a devastating back injury.
“As an athlete, you don’t want to give up, you want to keep on fighting. That’s how I’ve always been,” Knox said, via Sean Jensen of the Chicago Sun Times. “But it’s been on my heart for a while. I know how my body feels, and I know I’m not going to be the same and perform at the ability that I used to. So I’m moving on and going forward.”
Knox was hit hard in the back by Seattle Seahawks DL Anthony Hargrove in December 2011. The injury was so severe that he had to undergo spinal fusion surgery the very next day.
“I was centimeters away from being paralyzed, so just sitting here and talking, I’m appreciative of that,” Knox said. “Just the hard work that I had to put in. Just to be able to stay in and do everything in my daily life that I used to do.”
Knox, who's been hard at work still trying to rehab, retires at the young age of 26, but wasn't surprised when GM Phil Emery broke the news to him, having already failed a physical right after the 2012 season. “It was something that I’ve prepared myself for throughout the season,”
“I knew it was going to come one day so there were no hard feelings toward the Bears.”