As recently as March, former Baltimore Ravens and Denver Broncos defensive end Derek Wolfe was insisting he’d be “coming back” to play for the Ravens this season, despite having missed all of last year with hip and back injuries, not to mention a January 2022 hip surgery. A May 25 tweet showing him carrying a black bear on his back offered reason to be optimistic about the state of his health. But Wolfe sounded a lot less optimistic in June, when he revealed he had undergone a second hip surgery in hopes of making a full recovery and living a normal life.
Derek Wolfe: ‘It’s Time to Step Away From the Game’
Today, the 32-year-old Wolfe formally announced his retirement from the NFL in a video segment posted at the official site of the Denver Broncos, the team that drafted him in the second round in 2012.
“After 10 seasons in the NFL, I have decided its time to step away from the game. It’s time for a new beginning,” he began.
“The gratitude that I feel to the organization as a whole and the city itself, the love that they showed me from Day 1, it’s just been incredible,” Wolfe says. “And even after I left, after eight years I was with them, with the Broncos, and then I went to the Ravens for two years, during those two years I still got a ton of support and love from this city — and the whole state, really, and anyone that’s a fan of the Broncos became a Derek Wolfe fan,” he said.
Indeed Wolfe got a standing ovation when he showed up at Broncos training camp on Friday.
Derek Wolfe’s Career in Baltimore
Unfortunately for the Ravens, Wolfe’s health issues prevented him from making the kind of impact he had in Denver, where he had 299 tackles, including 46 tackles for loss, 33 sacks and 77 quarterback hits. His first sack came against Ben Roethlisberger of the Pittsburgh Steelers; his last career sack came with the Ravens in 2020.
Wolfe played in 14 games for Baltimore that year, recording 51 tackles, including six tackles for loss and four quarterback hits, as per Pro Football Reference. The Ravens went on to sign him to a three-year deal worth a total of $12 million, one that included a $5.4 million signing bonus. But they got nothing out of that investment, and on June 14 the team came to an injury settlement with Wolfe, leaving the club with a $3 million dead money cap charge for 2022, as per overthecap.com.
Wolfe’s NFL career comes to an end at 122 regular-season games, including 116 starts. The former Cincinnati Bearcat has been credited with 350 total tackles (225 solo), with 52 tackles for loss, 34 sacks, 81 quarterback hits, 17 passes defensed, one interception and three fumble recoveries.
Meanwhile, the Ravens seem well-prepared to move forward with Wolfe. The team re-signed Calais Campbell, reunited with Brent Urban and brought back Michael Pierce, the latter of whom spent 2020-21 with the Minnesota Vikings. Baltimore also used a 2022 third-round pick on Connecticut defensive tackle Travis Jones, the latter of whom was coveted by the division rival Steelers and likely would have been drafted by Pittsburgh had he remained available.
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