Announcement of Retirement:
"Yes guys, so you probably have heard, I'm sure you heard months ago, but after fourteen seasons of professional football, I will be officially retiring today. I was joking around a little bit and so I told someone, a statement, that I was doing an interview with Sports Illustrated and I said I was always taught, even as a young kid, I came into this league at 20 years old and I had a room full of veteran guys and no one was intimidated, no one was scared, prideful, of me coming in and taking their spot. It was open arms. I was taught every bit of knowledge that I was able to keep passing down along the lines and I've always said, 'When I retire, it's going to be because I felt like I've taught the guys behind me… I'm getting a little choked up. …Enough to succeed and ultimately take my spot. When I felt like I couldn't make plays or be the same player that I always thought I was, I knew it was time to go. You know last season, you know, it was a lot of ups and downs for myself personally. Probably didn't start the way I would've like to on PUP, didn't really, you know I can make a lot of excuses but at the end of the day, you know father time catches up with us all and so, you know, I made the comment to Sports Illustrated how I couldn't understand how a guy like Ben Roethlisberger, who was in my draft, I'm really good friends with Ben and still talk to him to this day, how he would feel intimidated by a guy like Mason Rudolph and make the comment, 'Man you know I hope they don't expect me to help him.' You know, I just think it just goes back to maybe when he was brought in as a rookie, he did not get that kind of tutelage from the older guys, maybe those guys were intimidated and felt some kind of way about him, but from the moment that I stepped into Atlanta [Falcons], I never once felt like that. So my whole mindset was always to try to give the young guys as much knowledge and understanding, the lessons that I've learned along the way as possible and you know I felt like I said earlier, I felt like I did that. Some by default and some by really, really trying to pour into them. That's how I've always tried to play football. As I'm saying this, you know, a couple of people I want to thank along the way, obviously you know a lot of the coaches I played with, a lot of you guys probably know the stigma of who DeAngelo Hall is or was, the hoopla about me being a 'me' guy. You know, a ton of coaches like I said along the way and I'm not going to sit here and name all of them because I'd be here all day, but I especially want to thank Mike Shanahan for challenging me to be a great player and a great leader. Prior to Mike coming here to Washington, you know all I really cared about was Pro Bowls and making plays and I knew by making those plays, I would help the team win and I thought that was enough. You know, until Mike sat me down and really challenged me to be more than just a playmaker, to be a leader, you know if it wasn't for Mike kind of really opening my eyes to who I could be, I probably wouldn't be the person who I am today and so special thanks to Mike Shanahan along with a slew of other guys, other coaches. Dan Snyder (Washington Redskins owner) obviously for taking a chance on me, Bruce [Allen] for keep bringing me back injury after injury when I should have been probably gone. A couple years ago, Vinny Cerrato, and that staff for even taking a chance on me when Oakland cut me and, you know, midway through the season people thought I couldn't play football and thought I did something wrong there when it was really just, rest in peace, Al Davis, but it was really just Al being Al. You know, Al marched to the beat of his own drum as a lot of you guys probably know who've covered sports for a long time and though that was one of the most challenging moments in my career, I wouldn't change a thing because if I wasn't humbled by that experience, I probably wouldn't be standing right here today and so special shout out and thanks to all those guys. My wife Jada, my six beautiful kids who I've neglected for years and years and now I finally get to be a taxi driver, Uber driver, whatever you want to say so I'll kind of wrap that up because I can ramble on all day. Any questions?"
On thanking former NFL QB Jay Cutler:
"If I could have played against Jay Cutler more, I probably would be in the [Pro Football] Hall of Fame by now, but it didn't quite work out. I got stuck on 43 picks for the last couple of years here now and so I always take pride in being the youngest guy to 30 interceptions, now someone told me this so y'all fact check me. Youngest guy to 30 interceptions, youngest guy to 40 and I thought I was going to be the youngest to 50 but I hadn't had one in five years so they didn't come anymore. But yeah, any questions?"
On what to expect after his football career:
"Yeah, yeah, yeah, I do, I do. You guys kind of saw me out on the field with a couple of the guys, two of my business partners over here, Marcellus and Andreus. And we're, you know, bringing one of the first devices, 3-D devices that you don't need goggles for. You know, my kids sit in the movie theaters, I can't even take them to 3-D movies because I feel like I waste my money because 15 [or] 20 minutes through, anybody that has kids probably knows this, 15 or 20 minutes through the movie, they're taking the glasses off. I'm like; you can't see if you don't leave the glasses on! No, I can see it! It's not the same though, son. So I'm with a company called QOOBEX. [phone rings] I'm sorry that's my phone, that's probably my wife I guess I probably should've told her I was gonna do this but it was kind of spur of the moment guys, it was kind of spur of the moment. But, you know I felt like I've been dragging my feet on making my announcement. But you know, I knew I wasn't playing and that's what I kinda go back to with John [Keim], if he's in here, I told John…where's John at?….ok, I told John like you know I probably, like I played my last game. And you know after me and John had a little back and forth I didn't mean to discredit John by any means, John is a great journalist and a great reporter. And I told John, you know, we had a lot of conversations about kind of how the story leaked and I said John, like I've known you for years and normally if you going to run with something you would tell me. Like officially da da da. I said John I never said officially you gotta get the officially part of it. So, someone was asking me today and I said officially retiring as of today. And so, John you broke the story six months ago, well five or so months ago, but just a little bit too, too, too soon. I wanted to figure out what I was doing next, prior to that and so I figured that out. I'll be doing some TV stuff too, I'll be doing some national stuff and some, maybe, some regional stuff, we'll see."
On having a positive impact on multiple generations of defensive backs:
"It makes me feel great. You know, like I said, if you'd have asked anybody who - I'm not even going to say who, but, I had the chance to go to the combine with the Redskins as a front office guy and sit in some meetings and see coaches that I hadn't seen in years. Some coaches who had talked about drafting me and things like that and coaches that I played for along the way and for them to have the response they had about my growth as a person, like I said, it just goes back to a lot of those lessons I learned along the way. You know, coming into this league, I never thought I'd be talked about as a guy who's instrumental in helping mold other young corners and other young football players, and you know, having guys follow me. You know, until Mike Shanahan, like I said, sat me down, I never thought I had that kind of influence. You know, I knew I was kind of cool, but I didn't know I was, you know, that cool that guys hung on my every word. But, you know, when Mike kind of opened my eyes to that, you know, I kind of made it a point. I was always a lazy guy in practice. I always felt like, you know, let me just kind of get a look with my eyes and, you know, I'll make the play in the game. It wasn't until Mike like, you know, told me, 'well D if you don't make the play in practice, if guys see you doing that, they're going to think they can do that.' You know, it wasn't until I said, 'maybe you right Mike.' And so, we started trying to ramp it up, and I personally started to ramp it up. You know, try to lead by example instead of, you know, talking about it all the time. So, you know, it's a blessing man. You know, I've had a lot of trials and tribulations along the way, but I wouldn't change a thing about my career because, you know, it's all made me who I am. It's all taught me so many different lessons, man. Everybody wants to win, but I tell my sons all the time and my daughters too, you learn so much more when you lose because when you win, you tend to not care about the mistakes. When you lose, you've got to figure out, man, why did I lose? So, every single time, we're nitpicking something. So, you know, I just try to, you know, teach those guys to, you know, learn from their mistakes, learn from those lessons. You know, but I'm blessed to be able to help guide young guys and, you know, mentor guys along the way."
On finishing his career with the Washington Redskins:
"I came on a draft meeting up here pre-draft and I can vividly remember like it was yesterday. It was myself, Sean Taylor, Kellen Winslow II, Jonathan Vilma and D.J. Williams. We were all out to dinner with the coaches and they brought us all out together. You know, I'm the lone V Tech [Virginia Tech] guy back then it was Big East, so it was V Tech and Miami, you know that was a rivalry. So I'm sitting at the table with all of these guys and there talking about how great they are and this and that. You know, I was a cocky guy and so I'm kinda in the middle of the table and I'm like look man end of the day I didn't go to Miami, but I'm better than all of y'all period. Like hands down I could've went to Miami, I just chose not to. So, you know, the debate kept going and the coaches had to calm us down, it got real heated. So, you know, sitting at a draft dinner with the Redskins and them having just traded Champ Bailey I really thought, you know wow I'm going to be a Washington Redskin. They drafted Sean Taylor, which he was the better player obviously. But, you know when I was cut from Oakland [Raiders] and I had the opportunity to come back here, well even prior to being cut from Oakland I had a little falling out with the Atlanta [Falcons] front office and staff there and I remember sitting at the combine meeting with Jim Zorn and a couple other coaches, Greg Blache and Vinny Cerrato was the GM at the time. You know I thought I had a chance to come to Washington via trade from Atlanta, but they couldn't, we ended up working out a deal but Arthur Blank the owner of the Falcons and Mr. Snyder [Dan Snyder] couldn't work out the, I guess, the compensation for that deal. So, I had to go to the only place that would take me, well the only place that - the only other place that we had a deal worked out, which was Oakland. So, I ended up in Oakland so when I had the opportunity and I was released from there and I had the opportunity to come back here to finish those eight games out of that 2008 season. You know it was a no brainer and never did I think I would resign I was just like alright let's just finish this season and you know and go from there. To be a kid from Chesapeake, Va. to play at Virginia Tech and grow up a huge Darrell Green fan and Washington Redskin fan, I mean it's been a dream. You know, it's been a dream to put on the Burgundy and Gold for the past ten years and try to win football games. You know, that championships eluted me in every facet of my football career, but I still feel blessed, I feel fulfilled. My wife bought me another ring it's not a Super Bowl ring but it's another ring, so I have a ring, not the one I wanted but I'll take it. But just blessed man, just blessed to have grown up in this area and get to play for the team you grew up rooting for - a lot of guys can't say that."
On Coach Bud Foster and Virginia Tech:
"Wow! A couple different points about Virginia Tech, you know, I really wasn't highly, highly recruited like you see some of these guys now, I probably was a four-star, I don't know if they put stars out back then. I probably was a four-star. I kind of gained a lot of momentum late in the recruiting process. I committed to Tech as a junior, and a lot of people might think I'm lying when I tell this story but, I went to a game with my high school football coach who was a punter at Virginia Tech, David Cox down at Deep Creek [H.S.]. I remember seeing a girl on the sidelines, while I was in the stands, I remember seeing a girl on the sidelines who was cheering and I was like 'Man, she is gorgeous,' you know, I'm like, I'm coming here 'cause I'm going to find her, you know. So, I ended up at Virginia Tech probably for that reason along with obviously I had a great relationship with Coach [Frank] Beamer [former Virginia Tech Head Coach] and a lot of those coaches. But, I ended up finding my wife there, that was my wife and I ran up on her in the cafeteria freshman year, took her I.D. off her plate, found out what her name was and proceeded to stalk her for the next six to eight months until I finally got a date with her. So, that's the romantic version but, the coaching staff and the guys at Virginia Tech you know, I was put into their Hall of Fame a couple years ago and you know, I told Coach Beamer, I'm like 'Man, I appreciate this honor but, I don't know if I deserve it, you know.' I felt like my time at Virginia Tech was so short, I was so focused on one goal and it was just trying to make it to the NFL that I really didn't feel as though I deserved to be a Virginia Tech Hall of Famer. But, those guys man, just the lessons they taught me along the way, I grew up without a dad and to have Coach [Bud] Foster, my DB coach, Lorenzo Ward, Coach Beamer, all those guys. Coach [Bryan] Stinespring, my recruiting coordinator, down there at Tech and offensive coordinator, you know to have those guys; those are guys that I still talk to this day. You know, I hope my son picks Virginia Tech and I'm still trying to sway him but, it's been just a blessing man. Like I said, I went to that school for one reason and left here just enamored with the culture there, the guys, the players. I mean it's really, you know, everybody talks about their college being a family atmosphere but, Virginia Tech, it really was for me. It was a support system for me, I was 17 years old when I left high school to go to college and you know, those coaches made a promise to my mom and they never once turned away from what they told my mom they were going to do, and that was take care of me and help turn me into a man. I thank those guys from the bottom of my heart for everything they did for me along the way and everything they still do for me to this day."
On his message to Redskins Nation:
"My message to Redskins Nation is a simple one. It's really a thank you. You know, thank you for putting up with a knucklehead and giving him the chance to mature and grow and learn over the years. You know, I made my fair share of plays and I gave up my fair share of plays as well, but - just hang in there. You know, hang in there. I know things haven't always been sunny, but you know you look at what this organization has been able to do the last couple of years and you can actually see a clear direction in where we want to go. You can see the players they're bringing in. You know, you see around the league and other guys and other situations that come up, you know you don't see it in this locker room and so this is going to be a hell of a football team and I look forward to rooting for them, day in and day out. You know I was just joking with Jay [Gruden] and Bruce [Allen], I'm like, now we decide to draft all the D-linemen. I could have used some of those D-linemen back in the day. But, you can just see the clear direction and clear focus and everybody is on the same page and that camaraderie and team work is what's [going to] ultimately get these guys over the hump. I mean you can see it. You can see it in the position battles, you can see it in the one-on-one battles and in the constant competition with each other that these guys really love each other and it's a brotherhood. You know everybody asks me, what am I going to miss? I'm not going to necessarily miss catching interceptions, because I haven't had one in five years and I'm not going to miss making plays, because I haven't made many in the last couple years because of injuries. But, I'm going to miss just hanging out with the guys. I'm going to miss being in the locker room, I'm going to miss the jokes, I'm going to miss going to dinner, even though I ended up picking up the check half the time, but I'm going to miss that part of it and hopefully I can still come around as much as possible and still try to pour into these young guys. But, you know I'm really going to miss that part of playing football, you know it's really that camaraderie and that brotherhood that we all share. So, I'm not going to miss going out there, running around, hitting people, I'm not going to miss that at all. You know, I'm going to miss hanging out with the fellas and so, even being out here on the field, I was starting to miss it a little bit it. I just miss hanging with the guys, not running around at all and so you know I'm going to miss that part of it for sure."