At the end of the week, Jets quarterback Erik Ainge announced he is retiring from football.
"This isn’t the step I wanted, but it’s the hand I’m dealt," Ainge told the AP. "There’s nothing I’d love more than to come back to New Jersey when the lockout’s over and compete for a job and be around those guys and their families. I miss them as people, but it’s just not in the cards physically right now.
Ainge was coming off a missed season due to drug rehab and had recently torn his rotator cuff. He decided not to put himself through another long ordeal rehabbing the injury and to begin a new chapter in his life, particularly with a lot of competition at the back of the quarterback depth chart.
In a way, it is sad. Ainge had a decent career in a pro style system in the SEC. He was also tutored by David Cutcliffe, who helped develop both Manning brothers in college. It seemed like he had a decent chance as a developmental player. Nobody can say what might have happened had he been able to stay away from drugs.
On the other hand, he seems at peace with his life as he embarks on a new chapter. Best of luck, Erik. We'll always have the 2009 preseason.