B.J. Raji was a fan favorite during his time with the Packers.
The defensive tackle played a key role in Green Bay’s 2010 Super Bowl run on the league’s top defense. He anchored the defensive line, all while making impact plays when the team needed them most.
He’ll perhaps be most remembered for his pick-six in the NFC Championship game against Chicago that helped send the Packers to the Super Bowl.
But during the 2016 offseason, Raji unexpectedly announced he’d be taking a hiatus from football. While he wouldn’t go as far as to say he retired, Raji decided he needed a break.
It appears as if the defenseman plans to stand firm in that decision.
According to his agent, Raji wants to continue helping his family, with no indication of an imminent return to football. The Packers would gladly take him if he changed his mind, but there’s no telling when (or if) Raji will again play in the NFL.
He recorded 11 sacks in six years with the Packers, battling injuries after stellar play in 2010 and 2011. The DT missed all of 2014 with a torn biceps, but returned in 2015 to be a solid contributor in the trenches.
The Packers appeared ready to offer him a new contract before 2016, until he announced his decision to stop playing.
Green Bay has since added Kenny Clark to the roster, who showed promise last year during his rookie season. Letroy Guion, who was brought on when Raji got hurt in 2014, has also played well in his time with the Packers.
The defensive line is not a glaring weakness on a subpar defense, but Raji used to be a major presence. Even if he were to return, a two-year hiatus may have significantly diminished his ability.
For now, Green Bay will simply have to focus on improving their defense elsewhere.