While on the clock at their full-time job, an employee takes off their uniform and walks out the door. There were too many customers and not enough help. They do not clock out or present any signal that they want to resign or quit. How would the boss feel? The team members? They would feel betrayed, similar to how cornerback Vontae Davis’ teammates felt on Sunday.
At halftime of the Buffalo Bills and Los Angeles Chargers game, it was discovered that Vontae Davis had retired. Vontae Davis had removed his uniform and put on casual clothing. He felt football was not for him anymore and gave up mid-game.
Vontae Davis offered an explanation as to why he decided to retire from the NFL during halftime.
“My intuition was telling me I don’t belong on that field anymore,” Davis told reporters after the game. After seasons of playing in the NFL, Davis decided that he, “didn’t feel right.”
This decision sent the NFL world and sports media into a frenzy.
Infamous commentator Stephen A. Smith had an interesting reaction on First Take the following Monday, proclaiming, “That is one of the weakest things that I’ve ever seen an athlete do.”
In addition, plenty of other NFL Hall of Famers looked down upon Davis for his shocking move. Many felt as if he should’ve talked with teammates before making such a decision, as the decision affects them as well.
Most importantly, some of his teammates believed Davis was a “quitter” and felt he disrespected them. With only 47 seconds remaining in the first half, Davis had already made his decision. He had already informed his wife via text about his realization, and thus his departure.
Is it fair to call Davis’ decision a weak move?
The general consensus is that the decision was completely disrespectful towards Davis’ teammates, the coaching staff and the entire Buffalo Bills organization.
Bills’ Head Coach Sean McDermott was one to make his opinion known via press conference. “There’s no need to address it because we’re moving on. That’s what a team does, this is not going to become a distraction moving forward. The Vontae situation… his actions have spoken.”
McDermott wants to move forward and work with the pieces they already have, but some important questions need to be answered regarding the team’s cohesiveness.
Where do the Buffalo Bills go from here? Is the loss of Vontae Davis that big of a deal?
The Bills have two other cornerbacks in Ryan Lewis and Levi Wallace. However, they are unproven and inexperienced. This puts the Bills in a peculiar position, especially the defensive coordinator. He has to shift the defensive lineup and make the necessary adjustments, given Davis’ unexpected leave of absence.
Davis said in an interview that “football is not for me.” After 10 seasons of playing the game he loves, quitting mid-game seems like a very strange decision. Maybe the Buffalo Bills just weren’t the right team for him. Everyone is pointing fingers and analyzing Davis, but let’s analyze the Bills.
The Buffalo Bills is an organization that has not sniffed a Super Bowl appearance since 1994. They are the only team in NFL history to reach the Super Bowl four times straight and lose all appearances.
Not to mention, they made their first playoff game in 2017 since 1994.
Can fans or the media blame Vontae for leaving?
Many of Davis’ teammates, as well as others within the NFL sphere, feel as if this decision was made in a spur of the moment without contemplation or thought.
It is possible that Davis’ decision to retire was not sudden at all. Personnel is not changing, the culture is not shifting and the Bills are not going to make another Super Bowl appearance anytime soon.
Yes, the timing was horrible, but the decision definitely had some thought put into it.
It’s unfortunate that Vontae Davis will not be remembered as a great cornerback, but the cornerback that retired or ‘quit’ during halftime.