NASHVILLE — After 10 years in the NFL, mostly with the Tennessee Titans, defensive tackle Jurrell Casey can look back at a multitude of individual accomplishments that helped create team success.
It was the consideration of his future that led Casey to make the hard decision to retire from football.
"The body itself told me what it's going to be," the 31-year-old California native said Thursday at a news conference. "And I couldn't keep going out there and damaging myself and not be there for my family for the long haul. So I made the decision to go ahead and call it quits."
Casey made his announcement at Nissan Stadium, where in nine seasons with the Titans he was a five-time Pro Bowl pick, a six-time defensive captain and a two-time nominee for Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year. That award recognizes on-field success as well as volunteer and charity work, and he founded the Casey Fund with his wife, Ryann, to support organizations helping at-risk youth and former prisoners.
Titans owner Amy Adams Strunk congratulated Casey on his career, saying there was no greater model for what a player can do on and off the field than Casey. She said his effort to rebuild the franchise's culture of success was capped by being a captain of the 2019 team that reached the AFC championship game.
His 51 sacks rank seventh in franchise history and are second only to Jevon Kearse's 52 sacks since 1999 in the Titans era. Casey had at least five sacks in seven straight seasons through 2019, notching a career-high 10 1/2 sacks in 2013.
General manager Jon Robinson, who traded Casey to the Denver Broncos in March 2020, said it was easy to see the 6-foot-1, 305-pound tackle's passion for football and dedication to his teammates, along with his leadership, skills and dominance on the field. Robinson called Casey, whose jersey number was 99, a "Titan for life" after an outstanding career.
"We talk about players that you've got to stop week in and week out ..." Robinson said. "And you can rest assured 99 was one of those guys for the opposing team. His picture was up there as a guy we've got to stop."
Casey started 140 of 142 career games with 51 sacks, 59 tackles for loss, 19 passes defended, eight forced fumbles and five fumble recoveries. He missed only five games with the Titans after being the 77th pick overall in the third round of the 2011 NFL draft out of Southern California.
After being traded to Denver, Casey played three games before a biceps injury ended his season, and the Broncos released him in February.
His 139 regular-season games from 2011 to 2019 tied for sixth among all NFL defensive linemen in that span. He matched Geno Atkins, Fletcher Cox and Aaron Donald as the only defensive linemen chosen for each Pro Bowl from 2015 to 2019.