GREEN BAY — Josh Sitton had quite the busy morning Thursday. Not only did he become a father for a second time, but he also announced his retirement from the NFL after an 11-year career.
“I mean, I didn’t really do anything,” Sitton said with a chuckle while making the announcement on ESPN Wisconsin Thursday morning. “My wife gave birth and I’m quitting something. I didn’t really do anything. But, yeah, it’s a big day.”
Sitton, who’ll turn 33 in June, played eight seasons in Green Bay, arriving as a 2008 fourth-round pick from Central Florida. He would go on to start 125 of the 134 games he played (including playoffs) during his eight seasons in Green Bay, earning four Pro Bowl selections and three All-Pro nods, including a first-team selection in 2014.
But while he joked that calling it a career from a hospital in Florida made for a fun twist — “I’ll get to tell the story to my kid one day and I’m sure he’ll appreciate that,” Sitton said — he also said the decision was a serious one that was predicated on being relatively healthy despite suffering a season-ending shoulder injury last year with the Miami Dolphins.
“I’m old. I’ve had a lot of years in the league,” Sitton said. “My shoulder didn’t get back to where I needed it to be. So that was a factor. It’s a lot of things. It feels right, it feels like it’s time. Plus, Jordy and T.J. did it, so I might as well do it, too.”
Indeed, Sitton becomes the fourth member of the Packers’ 2010 Super Bowl XLV-winning team to retire this offseason, joining wide receiver Jordy Nelson, fellow guard T.J. Lang and fullback John Kuhn in deciding to hang ‘em up. Interestingly, all four ended up playing elsewhere before retiring: Nelson with the Oakland Raiders, Lang with the Detroit Lions, Kuhn with the New Orleans Saints and Sitton with the Chicago Bears and the Dolphins.
“I definitely have more football left in me. I think any competitive athlete will tell you that,” Sitton said. “I think I could play for a few more years, but it just feels right. It feels like it’s time. I’ve done enough damage to my body. So I might as well hang it up while I’m at least walking around pretty good.”
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Sitton’s Packers career came to an abrupt end at the end of training camp during the summer of 2016, and he landed with the Bears, where he played two seasons. He then went to Miami last year but suffered the shoulder injury in the season opener and never played again. He was eminently durable in Green Bay, though, starting all 16 games during six of his eight seasons.
“It (stinks) to end my career with an injury and not finishing the year and being on IR, but I had a pretty good run before that,” Sitton said.
Said Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst in a statement: “We want to congratulate Josh on a terrific career, one that will be remembered for his consistency, durability and leadership. He contributed to a lot of great moments and big wins during his eight seasons in Green Bay. ... We wish him, his wife, Kristen, and their family the very best in the years ahead.”
Sitton admitted that he was disappointed his time with the Packers was cut short but said he looks forward to reconnecting with the team now that he’s moving into retirement.
“I think any guy that’s in the league or any professional sport, they want to stick with that team that took a chance on them. They want to stick with their team throughout their career,” Sitton said. “I would have loved to have stayed in Green Bay my whole career. (Players who do that) are extremely blessed to do that. It doesn’t happen very often.
“But things happen for a reason and I had a great time in Chicago, a great time in Miami, met a lot of great people, great players, great coaches. All the people at all three places were amazing. I wouldn’t change anything. I’m blessed to have had the career that I did. I wouldn’t change it for the world.”