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For Vontae Davis, the realization that it was over came suddenly

Vontae Davis' decision to retire at halftime of the Buffalo Bills game divided Chris Simms and Mike Florio.

Much has been said about the stunning decision of Bills cornerback Vontae Davis to retire from the game during a game. For the first time since he retired at halftime of Sunday’s loss to the Chargers, Davis opened up about the situation.

The realization came in an instant, late in the first half of the game.

I don’t belong on that field anymore,” Davis told Domonique Foxworth of regarding the feeling that overcame Davis. So he told defensive backs coach John Butler than Davis is done, and that was that.

The day that it happened began normally, but the realization eventually crept in that it was time for Davis to move on. “In that moment, my intuition was telling me I don’t belong on that field anymore,” Davis said.

He understands that teammates were bewildered, confused, and angry. “I didn’t expect them to understand,” Davis said. “That moment was shocking to me as well.”

Davis was dubbed a “quitter” by some, attacked as “disrespectful” by others. But none can truly know what Vontae Davis was experiencing in that moment, and if -- given the obvious health risks of playing football -- Davis decided that he no longer wants to enter a workplace that entails those risks, that’s his decision, and his alone, to make.

“The crazy thing is that people automatically assumed that something was wrong with me mentally,” Davis told Foxworth. “I feel great. I haven’t felt like this in . . . well, in my whole life.”

Davis later provided this post script to Foxworth via text: “I left everything the league wanted me to be, playing for my teammates while injured, the gladiator mentality, it all just popped. And when it popped, I just wanted to leave it all behind. So that’s why I don’t care what people say. That experience was personal and not meant for anyone else to understand. It was me cold turkey leaving behind an identity that I carried with me for so long.”

Certain events in life are intensely personal, and there’s no right or wrong way to handle them. For a man whose identify for most of his life has flowed from the fact that he plays football -- and who once learned while on camera that his football team had decided abruptly to trade him to another team -- the sudden arrival of the ability to shed that identity and move on with his life should not have been ignored. Especially if he knew in his heart that it was the right thing to do, regardless of the outside voices so quick to tell him that he was somehow in the wrong.