Indianapolis Colts safety Khari Willis announced his retirement from the NFL on Wednesday (June 15) in an Instagram post, saying that he’s “both humbled and excited to pursue” God’s calling on his life.
Willis, 26, started his post by thanking the Colts organization for the opportunity to play in the NFL, adding that he has “built lifelong relationships with numerous teammates, coaches and support staff that have impacted me greatly.”
The Colts’ 2019 fourth-round draft pick from Michigan State University then revealed his plans for the future.
"With much prayer and deliberation, I have elected to officially retire from the NFL as I endeavor to devote the remainder of my life to the further advancement of the Gospel of Jesus Christ,” Willis stated.
“I thank all of my family, friends and those who have supported me on this journey thus far and I look forward to your continued support through the next phase of my life. I am both humbled and excited to pursue the holy call that God has for my life which brings me much joy and purpose. Thank you all for your support over the years..."
Colts head coach Frank Reich thanked Willis in a statement released by the team.
"We're thankful and appreciative of Khari's contributions to the Colts both on and off the field over the last three seasons. Khari's character, leadership, and professionalism will be missed in our locker room as will his play on Sundays," he said.
"I admire and respect his decision to transition into the next stage of his life and ministry and my prayers will always be with him."
According to CBS Sports, in 2018 Willis was named team captain at Michigan State where he was a three-time Academic All-Big Ten selection.
He played in 39 games for the Colts over three seasons, the team noted. During his career, Willis built a resume of accomplishments on the football field that included 219 tackles, four interceptions, and seven pass break-ups. He also made five tackles during the team’s 2020 wild card playoff game against the Buffalo Bills.
ESPN reports that the Colts signed veteran safety Rodney McLeod in the offseason and selected Nick Cross in the NFL draft this year who are expected to compete for Willis’ place on the team.