Surrounded by his family on Thursday, Seattle Seahawks receiver Ricardo Lockette formally announced his retirement from the NFL after five seasons.
Lockette, 29, sustained ligament damage in his neck in a game against the Dallas Cowboys on November 1.
While on punt coverage, Lockette was hit by Cowboys safety Jeff Heath and immediately slumped to the turf at AT&T Stadium.
After medical staff ran onto the field to check on him, Lockette was immobilised, placed onto a stretcher and taken to a Dallas-area hospital. Heath was penalised for the blindside hit.
"It's not a sad day for me. Life goes on," Lockette said at a news conference at the Seahawks facility in Renton. "I just wanted to be great at something and make my family proud. Hopefully I've done that.
"Guys ask me 'are you sad this happened because that guy hit you?' I say no, because I'm a dog. You live by the sword, you die by the sword."
With two titanium plates in his neck to connect vertebrae, the decision to retire was an easy one.
"I love my family and I'd rather walk," said Lockette, who was hospitalised for 11 days. He said in March he could have died had he tried to stand up following the collision with Heath.
"The doctor told me that pretty much my skull, all the muscles, all the ligaments that connect my vertebrae and the cartilage between that - so the cartilage is out, the ligaments torn. He said if I would have stood up then, the weight of my head, left, right, front, back, I would have died," Lockette said in a video posted to Facebook on March 4.