An Open Letter to Jake Locker

When I first read today that you were retiring my first thought was that it was some kind of joke. Just a few days before I had read stories about you either potentially being a starting quarterback with the Titans or a sought after backup for any number of teams. A good backup quarterback in this league can make millions of dollars per year. Even if you were never to become a star quarterback, the worst case scenario for you would have been to make millions of dollars a year for the better part of the next decade, yet you have decided to retire at 26 years old.

I know that you have battled injuries, but you need to realize that those injuries resulted from being the starting quarterback on a terrible team where you were frequently pounded by the opposing defense. You had the possibility to sign a seven figure contract with a very good team to be a backup quarterback where you might never step on the field in a live game. You could have made millions by spending time practicing and rebuilding your health and then a few years down the road perhaps gotten another chance to be a starter. Or you could have continued to be competent backup playing a couple of games every other year. For someone who perhaps dreamed of being a superstar quarterback that may not seem so attractive to you, but trust me when I tell you that is a dream job.

You mentioned in your statement that it wouldn’t be unfair to your next team to play if your heart wasn’t into it. You have absolutely no idea what unfair means. Right now you likely have a nice house and several million dollars in the bank. When you are 50 and there are only thousands of dollars in your bank account and you or someone close to you finds themselves in a difficult medical or financial situation you will learn what unfair really means. Like it or not, you and I live in a very unfair world. Don’t worry about the fan whose team’s backup quarterback’s heart just isn’t that into it anymore; worry about potentially having to tell your parents or children in 20 years’ time that you aren’t able to help them.