Saturday, June 25, 2022

Ex-Vikings 1st-rounder on his future: ‘There’s more to life than just football’

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After his appearance in February’s Super Bowl, former Minnesota Vikings cornerback Trae Waynes seems ready to hang up his cleats.

Waynes, the 11th overall pick of the 2015 draft, played in 74 games and made 53 starts in five seasons with the Vikings before Minnesota released him in 2020. Waynes has played for the Cincinnati Bengals for the past two seasons and played in Super Bowl 56 against the Los Angeles Rams, but was sidelined this season after suffering a hamstring injury.

Waynes was released by the Bengals in March and broke his silence on his future.

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appearing on the Geary & Stein sports show On June 19, Waynes was asked about his plans for the 2022 season after being fired from Cincinnati on March 21.

Waynes didn’t rule out whether he’s officially done playing, but said he considers himself retired.

“I mean, it’s open, but I’m not really exploring anything to be honest,” Waynes said. “Actually, several teams called, but in my head I’m done. I’m not doing this officially, I would say, just because I don’t do that shit. I’m retired, but it’s not like I announced it or anything.”

Waynes said he “almost went to Philly” to play for former Vikings assistant and current Philadelphia Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon after he was cut by the Bengals, but didn’t because he felt ” felt ready to finish”.

The potential impact on his long-term health from continuing the game was a primary concern for Waynes, who said his family is the main reason he is considering retiring on his own terms.

“I want to take care of my physical and mental health. If I play 14-15 years and I’m 40 and my body is on its toes, it’s not going to affect anyone but me and my family. I want to take care of myself and be there for my family when football is said and done. Being able to walk away on my own terms was something I’ve always wanted to do,” Waynes said. “There is more to life than just football and I want to be able to enjoy life outside of football without constantly limping or running from pain. It’s bittersweet, but I know it’s probably the right decision at the end of the day.”

Waynes had 259 tackles, seven interceptions, a sack, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery in 79 regular-season games.

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As Waynes’ hunting ventures continued, he revealed during his appearance on the Geary & Stein sports show that he would appear on Sportsman Channel on Tuesday, June 28 to preview the opening of the 2022 season for his hunting outfitters, Homegrown Outfitters.

“Since 2018, Home Grown has been strategically buying and renovating farms; transform them into world-class hunting properties while growing deer to record book size. Home Grown currently owns 20 farms in Buffalo County, Wisconsin. The lots are individually designed by experts and put the hunter, food and water close to the bucks’ bedrooms, increasing your chances of harvesting the buck of a lifetime up close during daylight hours,” says Waynes’ website.

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