Johnny Knox’s life changed dramatically when he took a devastating hit in December 2011. Fourteen months later, Knox realizes that his NFL career is over.
“As an athlete, you don’t want to give up, you want to keep on fighting. That’s how I’ve always been,” Knox told Sean Jensen of the Chicago Sun-Times. “But it’s been on my heart for a while. I know how my body feels, and I know I’m not going to be the same and perform at the ability that I used to.
“So I’m moving on and going forward.”
The news does not come as a huge surprise just one day after the Chicago Bears terminated Knox’s contract. But Knox’s agent previously indicated that Knox would try to play again.
It’s a sad story for such a young, promising player. Just a few days after the birth of his second child, Knox was drilled in the back while playing the Seattle Seahawks. He had spinal fusion surgery the next day and missed all of the 2012 season.
Knox has pushed himself in rehabilitation, but he walks with a limp and can’t stand comfortably. The only time he’s not in pain is when lying down. But he’s grateful to have a relatively normal life.
“I was centimeters away from being paralyzed, so just sitting here and talking, I’m appreciative of that,” Knox says. “Just the hard work that I had to put in. Just to be able to stay in and do everything in my daily life that I used to do.”
Knox’s short career will be remembered for a Pro Bowl appearance as a rookie return man. He was also the leading receiver on the 2010 Bears team that reached the NFC title game.
His career ended suddenly, but Knox does not sound like a man that feels wronged.
“My whole life, I’ve always been positive, and people ask me, ‘Man, why are you so positive?’
“But I know things will work out for the best.”