The Green Bay Packers won’t have to worry about signing nose tackle B.J. Raji to a new deal. Raji has decided he’s retiring, although he left the door open for a return beyond 2016.
Raji, who will turn 30 this year, issued this statement to the Green Bay Press-Gazette.
I am taking a hiatus from the NFL and will not play during the 2016 NFL season. This decision was made after hours of conversation with close family members and mentors and considerable self-introspection and is one in which I am absolutely certain. I cannot rule out a return to the NFL in the future, but I will definitely not be playing during the 2016 season.
Raji went on to say that he didn’t feel he was totally committed to football, despite having a new deal with the Packers on the table.
Raji’s best season came in 2010, when he had 39 tackles and 6.5 sacks. He made the Pro Bowl the next season, when he recorded 22 tackles and three sacks.
The return Raji gave the Packers diminished from there.
The past two offseasons, Raji has found himself as a low-demand free agent. Each year, he agreed to come back to the Packers on a one-year deal.
Not much appeared to change this offseason. Raji was again a free agent and he again generated minimal interest, with Carolina being the first team connected to Raji other than the Packers.
The Packers will be fine without Raji, who had 22 tackles and a half a sack in 2015. They re-signed Letroy Guion before free agency began. Guion played well on the nose in 2014 when Raji was sidelined.
The main order of business now is to determine who can step in for Mike Pennel at defensive end while he’s serving his four-game suspension.
In his seven-year career, Raji totaled 151 tackles and 11 sacks.