In the 2010s, safety TJ Ward built a strong reputation as a hard-hitting safety with the Cleveland Browns and Denver Broncos. But after three seasons without a game played, Ward is ready to call it a career.
In an official statement released Wednesday morning, Ward announced his retirement from professional football. He did not play in 2020 but spent several weeks on the Arizona Cardinals' practice squad. Ward had not appeared in a game since 2017.
"I am honored and blessed to have completed 8 NFL years!" Ward said in his statement. "Second round draft pick, all-rookie team, all-pro, pro bowler and Super Bowl 50 champion. The journey has been amazing!"
Ward was a second-round draft pick by the Cleveland Browns in 2010. He quickly emerged as one of the few stars for a franchise that went 18-44 in his four years there.
In his final year in Cleveland, TJ Ward made the Pro Bowl. It was his first, but not his last.
After becoming a free agent in 2014, he signed a four-year, $23 million contract with the Denver Broncos. He promptly made his second Pro Bowl but saved his biggest impact for Denver's 2015 Super Bowl season.
In Super Bowl 50, Ward had seven tackles, an interception and a fumble recovery as the Broncos shut down the high-powered Carolina Panthers offense to win 24-10.
Ward played another season with the Broncos before being released in 2017. He signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers but started only a handful of games that season.
Congrats on a great career, TJ. And good luck in retirement!