Christian Kirksey is grateful for his team with the Buffalo Bills, even if it lasted less than a month.
The veteran linebacker, who joined Buffalo’s practice squad just before the start of the season, announced this week that he was retiring from the NFL at the age of 31. Kirksey took to Instagram on September 22 to explain his decision in more detail, sharing some love with the teams he played for and giving a shout-out to the Bills.
Christian Kirksey Speaks Out on ‘Childhood Dream’ of Playing in NFL
In an emotional post, Kirksey explained that it was his dream to play in the NFL but said the time was right for him to walk away from the game.
“As an athlete you never think the time will come to an end until it does,” he wrote. “Humbly I am officially retiring from the NFL. It has been an unbelievable journey fulfilling my childhood dreams of one day making it to the NFL.”
“To the Buffalo Bills entire organization; thank you for everything,” he wrote, adding, “To all the wonderful people that I’ve met on this journey, I am forever grateful and truly blessed to have crossed paths!”
Kirksey’s wife had already shared an emotional post earlier in the week, saying she was proud of all he had accomplished over the course of his nine seasons in the NFL.
“To say I’m proud would be an understatement,” she wrote on Instagram. “Seeing all of the things God has done for you and through you has been absolutely incredible. You have accomplished so much over the past 9 years!! You are an inspiration to so many people. Your character, dedication, your heart and your love for your family, friends, teammates and fans is undeniable.”
Kirksey is coming off a strong season in 2022, making 124 tackles with three sacks for the Texans. He also made two interceptions.
Bills Add Another Popular Linebacker
After Kirksey’s retirement, the Bills brought veteran linebacker A.J. Klein back to the practice squad in what will be his third stint with the team. Klein had also considered retirement, saying before the season that he wanted to be back in Buffalo for the chance to win a Super Bowl.
“This is the one place I knew I could come to and win the Super Bowl and be around quality people and quality teammates,” Klein told The Buffalo News. “If this is the end of my journey as far as football goes, I want it to be here in Buffalo.”
The Bills had already faced one unexpected retirement earlier in the offseason. Veteran offensive lineman Brandon Shell, who was one of the most high-profile offseason additions to the offense, decided to retire during training camp. He was expected to compete with Spencer Brown for the starting spot at right tackle, but instead left a hole that the Bills filled in part by picking up veteran Germain Ifedi after his release by the Detroit Lions.