Johnathan Joseph enjoyed one of the longest careers among modern cornerbacks, lasting 15 seasons. The accomplished cover man announced (via Twitter) Thursday he will not attempt to play a 16th NFL campaign, choosing retirement instead.
A former first-round pick of the Bengals, Joseph spent most of his career in Cincinnati and Houston. However, he spent time in Tennessee and Arizona in his final season. Overall, Joseph played in 211 games and logged 192 starts during a career that included two Pro Bowls.
The South Carolina alumnus displayed a knack for finding the end zone during his career, intercepting 32 passes and taking seven back for touchdowns. Joseph, 37, will leave the game tied for seventh all time in pick-sixes — alongside Hall of Famers Ed Reed, Ty Law, Lem Barney and Herb Adderley. Joseph added a fumble return for a score in 2008. While Joseph will not end up in the Hall of Fame like his pick-six contemporaries, he was regarded as one of the NFL’s best corners for several seasons during his prime.
Joseph added two postseason interceptions, both coming in Houston wild-card wins over the Bengals. He played a key role in elevating Houston to those early-2010s January games, which doubled as the franchise’s initial playoff appearances. The 5-foot-11 defender made the Pro Bowl in those seasons. The Texans gave Joseph a five-year, $48.75M contract in 2011. He performed well enough that the team extended him — on a three-year, $22M deal — in the summer of 2015. Joseph ended up outlasting both A.J. Bouye and first-round pick Kevin Johnson in Houston. Johnson opted to retire this month as well.
With the Bengals in 2009, Joseph notched a career-high six INTs to help the franchise to the AFC North championship. Joseph signed with the Titans last year but could not help an overmatched defense much, though he did add one more INT to his career total. The Titans released him in November, but he caught on soon after with a familiar face. Joseph concluded his career with the Cardinals, playing for former Texans secondary coach Vance Joseph.