08/05/11 — David Thornton retires

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David Thornton retires

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on August 5, 2011 1:47 PM

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- After nearly a decade of playing professional football, Tennessee Titans outside linebacker David Thornton announced his retirement from the National Football League earlier today.

Thornton graduated from Goldsboro High School and was a walk-on at the University of North Carolina. He eventually earned a scholarship and earned second-team, All-Atlantic Coast Conference accolades and team MVP recognition as a senior.

A soft-spoken individual, Thornton had his jersey retired at Goldsboro High School. He's been involved in numerous community activities, including providing Thanksgiving dinners for needy families in the Nashville area. He, along with fellow NFL players, also ran a free football clinic for kids in Goldsboro.

While his love and passion for the game never wavered, Thornton said in a press release sent to the News-Argus that it was the "right decision" for him.

"Growing up, playing in the NFL seem far-fetched; however, the Lord had greater plans for me than I ever imagined," said Thornton. "I am still in awe of God's goodness, for He is the One who placed me in this position and blessed me with tremendous opportunities.

"I am honored God chose to use me in this capacity."

Thornton was selected by the Indianapolis Colts in the fourth round of the 2002 NFL Draft. His best season was 2003 when he led the team with 145 tackles and two interceptions. Two years later, he recorded 83 tackles and two quarterback sacks.

Thornton became an unrestricted free agent and signed a five-year deal with Tennessee in 2006. Shoulder and hip injuries shelved the hard-hitting tackler for nearly two years, and he hadn't played a down of football since week 12 of the 2009 season.

He concluded his NFL career with 730 tackles, 10 forced fumbles and five interceptions.

"I am extremely humbled and thankful for all that I have experienced in my career," said Thornton. "Football has given me a platform to share my faith and reach individuals on a personal level. I truly have no regrets and I am excited about where God leads me in the next chapter of my life.

"I plan to remain connected and engaged in football, but I be letting God guide my steps as He's never let me down."