When K.J. Malone decided to retire from football after spending last weekend in rookie minicamp with the Houston Texas, his reasons were twofold: injuries and a higher calling.
A knee injury caused him to miss six games of his senior season. It happened at Florida during the first series of the game.
“I was trying to stop a bull-rush and my knee kind of sublux—which is kind of dislocated a little—and it made me have a slight tear in my patellar tendon,” Malone told me on my radio show.
Malone rehabbed the injury for the remainder of the season in a effort to return for the Citrus Bowl against Notre Dame, but was never fully healthy.
Malone says he “got hundreds of MRIs” at the NFL Scouting Combine in February, no doubt one of the factors that contributed to him going undrafted. When the same knee got rolled on at Texans minicamp, he decided it was time to call it quits.
“I kinda want to walk when I’m 50,” he joked.
The injuries made the decision to walk away easier, especially knowing his lifelong ambition of working in law enforcement was waiting.
“When I was little, I looked up to cops like they were superheroes,” he said. “I’ve been doing it all my life protecting quarterbacks, now it’s time to protect people.”
Malone says he hopes to become a Louisiana State Trooper or a United States Marshall. His former LSU teammate, DeSean Smith, is a state trooper and reached out to Malone to express his excitement about them “being teammates again.”
Still, Malone will take with him into his professional career memories of his weekend as a pro football player.
“I have mad respect for everybody that plays any professional sport because it’s literally a job,” he said. “The coolest moment, I was just chilling in the locker and JJ Watt comes and shakes all our hands and introduces himself. I was like, ‘everyone knows who you are but this is pretty cool.’”
For Karl Malone’s son to be starstruck is no small feat. As for the elder Malone, he offered advice to his son about ending his playing days.
© 2016, gridironnow.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.