Spring 2021 Magazine

Jake Locker says faith in Christ factored into his decision to retire from NFL in 2015

The NFL will conduct its seven-round draft on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Two hundred and twenty-four players will be selected with dreams of playing professional football at its highest level.

For Jake Locker, that dream happened in 2011, when he was selected eighth overall by the Tennessee Titans. Locker would go on to sign a four-year deal worth $12 million and begin his NFL career in Nashville.

Over the next four seasons, Locker would have an up and down career, going from backup to starter, and then suffering through multiple injuries that would limit his playing time.

In March 2015, at the age of 26, Locker decided to retire from the NFL, citing his lack of desire to play any longer.

It was a surprise to many around the NFL, but in a recent Sports Illustrated article, Locker says it was his faith, and a moment in which his former teammate, Matt Hasselbeck, invited him to a Pro Athletes Outreach Christian conference, that forced him to think about whether he still wanted to play football.

After being baptized at the conference, with Hasselbeck standing in the water beside him, Locker made Jesus Christ the Lord of his life. He also asked himself a question, “Do I want to play football anymore?”

Locker played a few more seasons, but as his relationship with the Lord became greater, his desire to play football became less.

Locker, now 29, has been retired for three years and has no regrets or desire to ever play again. Today, he is a husband, father, life coach, leadership consultant, and co-owner of the town gym, Locker Room Fitness, in Ferndale, Wash. He loves to hunt and, of course, spend time with his family and Jesus.

For a more in depth look at Locker’s story, click here to read Sports Illustrated‘s feature. 

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