Indianapolis Colts safety Khari Willis is retiring from the NFL after just three seasons. His reason for doing so is even more unique.
The 26-year-old is giving up pro football to go into the ministry.
Willis announced his retirement Wednesday on Instagram. He thanked the Colts for “granting me the opportunity to compete” and explained that with “much prayer and deliberation” that he wanted to devote the rest of his life to “the further advancement of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”
Willis, who was selected in the fourth round of the 2019 draft out of Michigan State, took over as the Colts starting strong safety midway through his rookie year. He finishes his brief career In Indianapolis with 219 tackles (161 of them solo), four interceptions and 3 1/2 sacks. In college, he was a three-time Academic All-American for the Spartans and also served as team captain in 2018.
Colts head coach Frank Reich praised Willis in a statement released by the team.
“We’re thankful and appreciative of Khari’s contributions to the Colts both on and off the field over the last three seasons,” the statement said. “Khari’s character, leadership, and professionalism will be missed in our locker room as will his play on Sundays. I admire and respect his decision to transition into the next stage of his life and ministry and my prayers will always be with him.”