Former Lions defensive end Romeo Okwara announces retirement

After eight NFL seasons, and the last six with the Detroit Lions, Romeo Okwara announced his retirement on Tuesday.


Detroit Lions defensive end Romeo Okwara became a free agent last week, and this week he made an announcement about his playing future. Via an Instagram post on Tuesday evening, the eight-year veteran announced his retirement.

"After some introspection and meditation I have decided to step away from the NFL.
The game of football has been the largest part of my life for the greater of 18 years, 8 of which I have been fortunate enough to play at the professional level. 4 of those with my brother ♥️ The experiences, friendships, and camaraderie I have been lucky enough to share with my teammates, coaches, and peers is something I will forever be grateful for. You all mean the world to me and I will continue to cheer you on for the rest of our lives!
@detroitlionsnfl organization - THANK YOU for giving this young kid a chance 6 years ago after coming into the league as a Free Agent. My heart is forever with you and the city of Detroit.
I am excited for what’s next as I navigate this crazy transition away from the game."

Okwara went undrafted in 2016, and after two non-descript years with the New York Giants he was picked up off waivers by the Lions in 2018. He led the team in sacks twice in his first three seasons in Detroit (7.5 sacks in 2018, 10 sacks in 2020). That latter season earned him a three-year, $30 million contract extension from the then-new regime led by general manager Brad Holmes.

Romeo Okwara retires after eight NFL seasons

A torn Achilles' in Week 4 of the 2021 season derailed things from there for Okwara. Last summer he revealed that he needed a second surgery on that torn Achilles, which explained a delay in his return during the 2022 season.

Last season Okwara played in 16 games, but he didn't play a lot (248 defensive snaps) with two sacks and five quarterback hits. He was hitting free agency off a season where he was healthy, but a return to the Lions was always unlikely and his market elsewhere wasn't robust.

Okwara has a lot of interests outside of football, including a photography career. 28 is a little young to retire, but his career was longer than a lot of NFL careers and he'll have no trouble keeping himself busy in retirement.


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