Veteran tight end Craig Stevens is retiring from the Tennessee Titans and the NFL, his agent confirmed to TitanInsider.com.
“He just decided that it was time for him to move on,” agent Ken Zuckerman said. “He loves football, but this is something he had been contemplating for awhile. It’s not just something that came up all of a sudden. He has a family, and he just felt like it wouldn’t be right to continue to come in every day if his heart wasn’t in it.”
Stevens, 31, was a third-round pick of the Titans in 2008 and had been away from the club for the past two days while contemplating his future. He was the longest-tenured Titans player and had re-signed with the club for $1.9 million with a $1.15 million base salary in the offeason.
Stevens was widely regarded as one of the best blocking tight ends in the NFL over the course of his career. He was re-signed to play that role again this season by general manager Jon Robinson.
Stevens had 12 receptions for 121 yards and two touchdowns last year for the Titans, and for his career had 60 catches for 724 yards.
A short time after news of Stevens’ retirement had broken, the Titans issued a statement from head coach Mike Mularkey, who was Stevens’ position coach prior to being named head coach.
“Craig is a consummate pro,” Mularkey said. “I have enjoyed working with him as a position coach and as a head coach, and he was someone who could always be counted on. He worked at his craft and was always accountable for his play. The qualities we use to describe players here – Tough, Dependable, Team-First – those are the qualities Craig had as a player.
“There has been an ongoing discussion with Craig, and we wanted to give him time to reach the decision he thought was best for him and his family. We are proud to call him a Titan, and he is always welcome around this team. We wish him and his family the best in his next chapter of life.”
Stevens’ retirement leaves the Titans with five tight ends currently on the roster. Delanie Walker is their top player at the position, and Tennessee has Anthony Fasano and Phillip Supernaw both back from last season. Others in camp include Jerome Cunningham and Alex Ellis
Stevens is the fourth player with the Titans to retire during the off-season or training camp, joining safety Josh Aubrey, defensive lineman Terrell Lathon and cornerback Morgan Burns.