In a more stunning announcement than any other retirement this week, Pittsburgh Steelers star pass rusher Jason Worilds announced his retirement at the age of 27.
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In a statement via his player representative Jason Bernstein, Worilds announced his intention to leave football despite a relatively healthy playing career.
“I appreciate all of the interest from the organizations that have reached out to us the past few days,” Worilds’ statement read. “With that being said, after much thought and consideration I have chosen to step away from football as I have opted to pursue other interests.
“I am especially grateful of the opportunity to play before some of the greatest fans in football today. Despite any concern and speculation that may ensue, I appreciate those that are respectful of my decision.”
Worilds emerged in the last few years as one of the premier pass rush specialists, accumulating 20.5 sacks in the last three seasons along with nearly 150 tackles. NFL.com insider Ian Rapoport reported that Worilds, who was a free agent this offseason, even had offers on the table that would have paid him as much as $8 million per year.
Jason Worilds is walking away from about $7M or $8M per year. At least $15M guaranteed.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 11, 2015
The retirement announcement comes in week where several young players under the age of 30 have all announced their retirement. Former NFL rushing leader Maurice Jones-Drew (29), 5-time All-Pro LB Patrick Willis (29) and Titans former 1st-round draft pick Jake Locker (26) all announced their retirements within the last several days.