The “Burning Desire” and Jake Locker

“I no longer have the burning desire necessary to play the game for a living”
That was part of the statement then Titans QB Jake Locker released when he decided to step away from professional football. To most this came as a somewhat a surprise, but was chalked down to his injury woes and Titans poor record. Locker, only 26 at the time, was a former top 10 pick, and regardless of how his career with Titans had unfolded it was assumed someone was going to take a chance on him if Titans were to cut him loose.

While a surprising age for a QB to step away the story ended there. Locker faded completely from the medias eye and it was chalked down as another career ended too soon due to injury. That was until a brilliant article by Greg Bishop with Sports Illustrated was released earlier this week. Greg had the opportunity of sitting down with Jake, one of the few who have since his departure and if you haven’t read it please do HERE before continuing.

Now that you have hopefully read the above article I will continue on. Locker spent four years in the NFL with the Titans, his stats can be seen below.

  Games Passing
Total G GS Cmp Att Pct Yds Y/A TD Int Rtg
30 23 408 709 57.5 4967 7 27 22 79
  Rushing Record
Total Att Yds Avg TD Sck Yds Fum Lost W–L
95 644 6.8 5 60 378 10 7 9–14

The stats don’t jump off the screen. As mentioned before Locker spent his time recovering from injuries in a struggling Tennessee team. But again, still young enough and experienced enough to continue to make a living in the NFL. Like in the opening paragraph most assumed injuries were the reasons behind the departure, the desire leaving as the toll the rehabilitation took on him. After reading the article from SI your eyes are opened up to the real reason behind. Jake wasn’t happy in the NFL, what he was doing for a living. He was spending too much time away from his family, work took over his life and he didn’t have the desire in his work to make these sacrifices. This is something I’m sure most people in the world can relate to with regards to their job.

He made a brave decision, opting to give it all away. Some might scoff at that sentence, and argue how it’s easier to make this decision with the security money he had. The thing is, like Locker outlined, the difficulty of the decision was heightened with the media attention and fans relying on him. Personally I found it a brilliant insight into what some players struggle with, thrown into situations because that’s what they are good at rather than what they want to do. Again I am aware millions would love to have the ability.

In summary Lockers case just goes to show that despite the money, glam and fame that comes with a profession like an NFL QB they can still go through the same burning questions we all face with our day to day work. I’m sure Locker isn’t the only player in the league who feels like this but all credit to him for pursuing what makes him happy in life.