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But he doesn’t regret it.
Davis told Domonique Foxworth of The Undefeated:
“Leaving was therapeutic, bro. I left everything the league wanted me to be, playing for my teammates while injured, the gladiator mentality, it all just popped. And when it popped, I just wanted to leave it all behind. So that’s why I don’t care what people say. That experience was personal and not meant for anyone else to understand. It was me cold turkey leaving behind an identity that I carried with me for so long.”
Davis, a two-time Pro Bowler, retired at age 30 after taking himself out of the game toward the end of the first half. He did not return, instead leaving the stadium.
Mike Rodak of ESPN.com spoke to Bills safety Micah Hyde, who said Davis’ retirement left a “sour taste” in his mouth:
“I was getting more details [Monday]. I think [Sunday], just with the loss, I don’t want to say I didn’t care, but I was more worried about how the game ended than what that situation was. I was thinking more about the team and the guys that were here rather than that whole story. But hearing more details [Monday], it’s not ideal. I love Vontae as a person and what he’s brought to this team from OTAs until [Sunday]. But I don’t agree with the decision he made of leaving during halftime—if he left, I really don’t know. Whatever the situation was, I don’t agree with it. I feel like it kind of leaves a sour taste in my mouth, for sure.”
Davis said he didn’t enter the game expecting to retire. He signed a one-year, $5 million contract in Buffalo during the offseason after spending his previous six years with the Indianapolis Colts. Davis told Foxworth he realized early in the contest he didn’t want to continue playing, though he acknowledged he knew the move could alienate his former teammates.
“I didn’t expect them to understand,” Davis said. “That moment was shocking to me as well.”
“My intention was not to hurt my teammates,” Davis continued. “In that moment, my intuition was telling me I don’t belong on that field anymore.”