By Ashley Hoffman
September 17, 2018

Sunday’s biggest shock in sports came when Buffalo Bills cornerback Vontae Davis retired abruptly at halftime.

It wasn’t how the 10-year NFL veteran imagined his departure, but in a post-game statement, he said the physical toll was what dawned on him on the field.

“I shouldn’t be out there anymore,” the 30-year-old Davis said, noting the toll the game had taken on his body. “The season is long, and it’s more important for me and my family to walk away healthy than to willfully embrace the warrior mentality and limp away too late … This was an overwhelming decision, but I’m at peace with myself and my family.”

Davis did not cite a specific injury, but research has suggested a link between playing football and traumatic brain injuries.

Davis signed onto the struggling Bills team earlier in the year. According to ESPN, the Bills signed on the player for a one-year contract in February to the tune of $2.25 million for his base salary plus a $1.5 million signing bonus.

His mid-game departure took his coach and teammates by shock.

“[Davis] pulled himself out of the game,” Bills coach Sean McDermott said. “He communicated to us that he was done.”

“Never have seen it ever,” linebacker Lorenzo Alexander said. “Pop Warner, high school, college, pros. Never heard of it. Never seen it. And it’s just completely disrespectful to his teammates.”

Fans watching online were as stunned by Davis’ timing as ever, and could not resist the joke opportunities.

The Los Angeles Chargers ultimately beat the Buffalo Bills 31-20, laying out a challenging road ahead for the team.

Write to Ashley Hoffman at Ashley.Hoffman@time.com.

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