Miami Dolphins

Dolphins rookie linebacker quits football on eve of camp. Here’s his explanation why

Linebacker Mike McCray hits a blocking sled during OTAs back in June. McCray announced his retirement Tuesday.
Linebacker Mike McCray hits a blocking sled during OTAs back in June. McCray announced his retirement Tuesday. ctrainor@miamiherald.com

It only took three months for Dolphins linebacker Mike McCray to realize that professional football was not for him.

So two days before what was to be his first training camp practice, the undrafted rookie out of Michigan announced his retirement on Twitter, saying that he had been playing football “for the wrong reasons.”

“Football has helped shape me into the man am today; through the great times and the bad,” McCray wrote. “But I am so much more than an athlete. I’m a Man of God, I’m a Man with a sense of humor, I’m a Man who wants to give back, I’m a Man who likes photography, I’m a Man who loves kids, I’m a Man who loves to cook, and I am a Man who is loving.”

McCray added: “During this time, I sacrificed my happiness and my well-being. I want to encourage those reading this to do what feels good on the inside and not what looks good on the outside. Also, make sure you are doing it for you and your happiness and not others and their happiness.”

And with that, McCray announced his playing career was done.

The Dolphins made the news official later in the day, placing McCray on the reserved/retired list. They signed San Jose State linebacker Frank Ginda, who spent six weeks with the Arizona Cardinals this spring, with the vacant roster spot.

The news — and timing — must have been particularly jarring for the Dolphins, considering he was a priority rookie free agent back in April. The Dolphins gave him a $10,000 signing bonus — a good amount for a rookie free agents — and owner Stephen Ross (another Michigan Man) called to personally congratulate him.

McCray was an All-Big Ten honorable mention player his final year at Michigan. He finished his injury-plagued college career with 154 tackles and nine sacks.

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