Packers defensive lineman B.J. Raji to take 'hiatus' from NFL


Instead of finding a new team for his eighth year in the NFL, free agent nose tackle B.J. Raji has decided to call it quits, at least for this upcoming season. 

"I am taking a hiatus from the NFL and will not play during the 2016 NFL season," Raji announced. "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.

"I have played football and been defined as a football player for as long as I can remember. This off-season was the first time that I felt myself pulled in another direction and I am excited to first be 'all in' with my family back home and then to explore new frontiers.

"I am not exactly sure what the next phase of life will entail, but I am confident that all of the lessons I learned during my NFL journey will provide a solid foundation for success."

In seven seasons with the Green Bay Packers, Raji recorded 11.0 sacks and 104 tackles after being selected with the ninth overall pick in the first round of the 2009 NFL Draft out of Boston College. 

Named to his only pro Bowl in 2011, Raji recorded three sacks, two passes defended, 24 tackles and even scored a rushing touchdown. 

"I can't possibly thank enough the tremendous city of Green Bay and Packers fans across the country," Raji said. "You embraced me from the beginning and helped Green Bay become not just a place I worked, but also a home.

"I know if I have the same passion, dedication and love that the Packers fans bring to Lambeau Field every game, I will find happiness and great success."