Chris Samuels Says Goodbye To Football

Says Coaching On The Horizon

Photo: CD Brown for DC UrbanSports

After many months of speculation, it's official. The man who many call great, a team player, a mentor; a man Redskins owner Dan Snyder called “a true gentleman, and a class act”, is walking away from the game he loves the most (at least from playing it).

“It’s going to be hard to walk away from the game that I love, but it’s the best decision for my family and me.

A spinal condition called stenosis which Samuels says he knew he had back in high school, made the decision to retire more apparent after he collided with a defensive lineman in a game against the Carolina Panthers.

"It was helmet-to-helmet, right on the crown of the head. Right when I hit him, everything went numb up top and I fell over and I knew I had had another episode. I went on the sideline, prayed about it, thought about going back in the game. The Lord led me to sit tight and I did. That’s pretty much it.”

Samuels told the media during yesterday's press conference that doctors predicted he would only play six or seven years in the NFL. "...but here I am 10 years later having attended six Pro Bowls - God has truly been good to me."

The third overall pick by the Redskins in 2000, Samuels played in just five games for the Skins in 2009 before being sidelined.

"If it wasn’t because of the neck injury, I would be going into my 11th season with the Washington Redskins. I truly love playing for this organization. It’s just a great place. Everybody is like family here."

Many of Samuels' teammates were on hand to support their friend, and former colleague. Mike Williams said of Samuels, "A guy like Chris will especially be missed. He's one of the pillars of this team. Being here for a year, I could tell. Just how he stood out, how he spoke to guys, how he worked, stuff like that. You didn't go to six Pro Bowls for no reason."

Derrick Dockery and wife, Emma provided the retirement gift.

"Derrick really showed up everybody by bringing the present", said Williams. Adding, "I don't want to put him on blast, but I think his wife got the present", joked Williams.

Redskins' front lobby receptionist since 1992, Ms. BJ (as she is affectionately called by many), said of Samuels:

"I can remember the day he first came here. He's just an all around great guy. He's just a guy that you just respect him and love him."

Ms. BJ says she has lots of favorite players, and lists Samuels in her Top 5 Redskins among Rock Cartwright, Michael Westbrook, Darryl Green, Art Monk, Brian Mitchell.

We asked Ms. BJ what she wanted to tell Samuels and the parents of Chris Samuels, who also attended the retirement presser.

"I wish you nothing but the best. Your son has been an outstanding person the whole time he's been here. He will do well no matter what he pursues."

Samuels plans to pursue a career in coaching. It is expected that he will help with coaching the Redskins in some capacity. He’ll be on the Redskins’ staff as a part of the Bill Walsh Minority Fellowship.

Samuels says he’ll begin his career working with offensive linemen, hoping to "learn as much as I can. Try to work my way up. Where I land, I don’t know.

Samuels' pastor, Chad Carlton, of Temple of Healing Waters said of Samuels, "It's been delightful being the pastor to Chris Samuels. He's a wonderful gentlemen, awesome man, very insightful, and really has a heart for God. It's easy being Chris' pastor. I'm just grateful to have been a part of this time of departing for him (from the NFL), but also his turning a new chapter in his life."

And with that Samuels thanked the many fans, offering “To the fans, I love you guys. It’s been real. Its been a long time, you know for me to be out here, just going out on the field and playing in front of 90,000 people is just a great experience, and 10years of it, it’s been a lot of fun. I truly believe you guys are the best fans in the NFL.

Samuels' advice to his remaining team, besides working hard and listening to the coaches?

"Go win a championship."

Redskins Cut Ten