So Vontae Davis decided not to come out after halftime and retire during the Chargers game. My reaction was probably very similar to everyone else on this planet when they heard the news, excuse me? Yes, Vontae Davis took himself out of the game, retired at halftime, put on his street clothes, and left the stadium. To the best of our knowledge no one saw this coming at the time or there was certainly no indication something like this was on the horizon. Davis has since said that "leaving was therapeutic." Further elaborating that he said "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 … That experience was personal and not meant for anyone else to understand.”
I can empathize with Davis when you feel like it's no longer time for you to be doing what you do. My father was a professional firefighter for almost 30 years. He had been doing the job long before I was born and retired in 2002. He always told us there wasn't a specific date he was going to retire but he'd know when it was time. He came home from the firehouse one night and at dinner and told us it was time to retire. He told us how he went in that morning and it was just different, he knew it was time to go. But he didn't just walk out of the firehouse. Davis certainly could have finished the game, or talked to McDermott first, or his teammates for that matter and explained. He doesn't have to do any of those things and clearly didn't and that is what leaves a bad taste in a lot of people's mouths on this.
In any organization I believe you owe your boss, co-workers, team, etc. the common courtesy of letting them know if you're going to leave. Granted, there are exceptions to that but I can't see where any of those would apply here. To me, and this is obviously my opinion it's just disrespectful. At least talk to your coach and tell him what's going on. Have him take you out of the game, let the game end, tell your teammates, and ride out into the sunset. Davis only had a half of football left and you just leave that suddenly, really. I know when we signed him I was excited. We already had a strong secondary but to add someone like Davis to it was just another strong addition. I certainly didn't see this coming and we can look at it a thousand different ways. Did he believe the Bills were that bad and didn't want to be a part of it, did he really just want to be done?
Well, what's done is done and Davis made his choice. It's not the way I would of done it but I'm also not in his shoes. He was a great player in my opinion and for him to go out that way is disappointing but he has to live with that decision. I hope he finds whatever he's looking for and do wish him the best. But let other players and people learn from this. There are much better ways to handle retiring than that. When you're part of a team be it in sports, workplace, or wherever you're all in it together the good, the bad, and the ugly. You have to depend on each other to make that situation better or worse and the synergy of that team is a large part of what's going to drive that. Talent goes a long way but so does determination, respect, understanding, and sharing a common goal. Did Davis share all those things maybe, maybe not? Clearly his teammates didn't agree with his handling of the situation as Lorenzo Alexander said it was "completely disrespectful" and Rafael Bush said it caused him to lose "respect for him as a man."
I don't believe Davis saying it doesn't bother him what others think about this. You don't work in the league for 10 years and have that kind of a career but don't ever care what people think. He was a great player and it's unfortunate that I believe he'll be remembered more for retiring at halftime more than anything else. But at the end of it all his choice is not my choice. I would have done things differently looking at what I know but if Davis can truly be at peace with what he did and how we handled it then he should be comfortable with what he did. We can judge this as fans and what we think is right, but again, we only know what we know. I want to believe Davis truly did what he needed to for himself and yes, this sure can be selfish but at the end of it all it's his decision to make regardless of what anyone else thinks.
So in conclusion, if it were me I would have handled this a different way but it's not. I can judge this as a fan and I am incredibly disappointed how it all went down and so are his teammates. I would have had some further conversations at halftime and acted differently and I think your teammates may have understood better or at least appreciated it more along with us fans. Buffalo fans are a die hard group and we've endured tough times same as the players. However, one thing we don't do is quit on our team. So, that is why it is so hard for us to see something like this take place. We aren't quitters and we always stick together. We're proud to be part of the Bills Mafia and wear our colors with pride no matter what. So, as you look back on your career as the days, months, and years pass I hope you truly are ok with how you handled your retirement. You can't go back and change the past and the history has been written. Was Davis a disappointment? I don't think so in his career but in handling of his retirement I believe so.