Teddy Bridgewater to retire at the end of the season (1:08)Jeremy Fowler details Teddy Bridgewater's decision to retire at the end of the Lions' season. (1:08)
Bridgewater has been a little-used backup to Jared Goff in his single season with the Lions, appearing in one game to kneel out a victory over the Carolina Panthers in Week 5. But Bridgewater, 31, indicated he has no issues with his role.
"Whatever was meant for me, it played out the exact way it was meant," Bridgewater told the Free Press for a story published Saturday. "And I'm still with that mindset every day, and I'm just really appreciative that I'm in Year 10. I tell everyone this is my last year, so I'm in my final year and I'm just enjoying it all, man."
A first-round pick by the Minnesota Vikings in 2014, Bridgewater's career was derailed by a torn ACL and dislocated knee suffered during training camp in 2016; he missed all of that season and most of 2017 before leaving the Vikings. He spent two seasons with the Saints (2018-19), started 29 games over two seasons for the Carolina Panthers (2020) and Denver Broncos (2021) and served as Tua Tagovailoa's backup with the Miami Dolphins last season, when he was limited by injuries again.
"When I got hurt, I realized that I'm only a football player for three hours on a Sunday afternoon," Bridgewater said. "Outside of that, I'm Theodore Bridgewater, so it just put everything into perspective, and it really helped me not even have to think about not being a starter [anymore]. It's like, 'Man, I still got purpose.' And my purpose is bigger than the game of football. Football is just a platform that I have."
Bridgewater told the newspaper he considered retiring after the 2022 season, but conversations with Lions coach Dan Campbell and other existing relationships among the team convinced him to play one more year in Detroit.
After retiring, Bridgewater plans to coach high school football and focus on being a father to his two sons.
As the Lions (9-4) play their way toward a likely first playoff berth since 2016, Bridgewater said he will cherish his final NFL moments.
"Everyone sees the wins and losses, and it's the small victories, the daily victories that take place in this locker room," he told the Free Press. "You talk about a team that is young, quick to run to their phones after practice, after games, and you see guys like mingling and just having conversations. Pingpong, card table, cornhole. Guys sitting on the couch. Like, that's what it's about. That's the league that I came into, and I'm happy that I get to just see and be a part of this great locker room."
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