OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Defensive end Derek Wolfe announced his retirement on Friday after a decade in the NFL.
Wolfe, 32, decided to leave the game a little over a month after reaching an injury settlement with the Baltimore Ravens. He was waived by Baltimore on June 14, a day after he revealed on social media that he had undergone his second hip surgery of the year. Wolfe missed all of last season with hip and back injuries.
“After 10 seasons in the NFL, I’ve decided it’s time to step away from the game,” Wolfe said in a video released on the Denver Broncos’ Twitter account. “Time for a new beginning.”
“I’m just super grateful, very emotional, I’m happy to be done with the game because you guys know the injuries were just piling up and piling up,” Wolfe said Friday, where he appeared at Broncos training camp.
Drafted in the second round of the 2012 draft by the Broncos, Wolfe was known for his determination, recording 350 tackles and 34 sacks in his career. But he struggled to stay healthy, playing in all of his team’s regular-season games just three times in his career.
Wolfe spent his first eight seasons with the Broncos before joining the Ravens in 2020. Baltimore re-signed Wolfe to a three-year, $12 million contract (including a $5.4 million signing bonus) in March 2021, but he never played a game after that .
Wolfe received a loud ovation from the crowd on hand at Broncos training camp as he walked alongside the field before the workout began. First-year Broncos head coach Nathaniel Hackett had Wolfe speak briefly to the team after practice was over.
Wolfe, who often reflected on a difficult road to the NFL and a point in his life during college when he said he had just $7, was asked Friday if he would have believed then he would have played a decade in the league.
“If you would have offered me this deal then, 21 years old, I would have taken it in a heartbeat, no questions asked,” Wolfe said. “… In my wildest dreams I would have never imagined myself in this position .”
Information from ESPN’s Jeff Legwold was used in this report.