Coming back in that AFC Championship Game against the Steelers, that was a poignant moment for me for a lot of reasons - the magnitude of the game and having not been able to play for quite a while and to be able to get on the field for that game. That one stands out.
I kind of picked up the game at an early age. The way that other kids would learn what a fork or a spoon is.
I feel so fortunate, so honored, to have played this game that I love for so long, with so many great players, and in front of so many wonderful fans. I fulfilled a childhood dream the first time I stepped on an NFL field, and the league did not let me down one time.
I had a great career and I enjoyed all of it, with the exception of losing.
I played eight years without really being hurt seriously and hadn't had to deal with that part of the game. So, to get hurt and to have to miss games, that part of it was very hard. And so when I came back and somebody else had my job and I couldn't get it back. You know that was hard.
I'm not fast. But there are a lot of guys that are a hell of a lot slower than I am. Somebody wants to do a pay-per-view race between me and [Tom] Brady, sign me up.
Getting hurt and watching Tom Brady take over and beginning what's been just a spectacular run of his, and to come back and play in the AFC Championship Game against the Steelers in Pittsburgh, and help us win that game, is a memory that stands out very clearly.
That's the only reason I'm here. I don't need to play the game for any other reason than to win a championship.
The game against the Vikings back in my second year stands out. It was kind of a turnaround for us. It allowed us to make a run at the playoffs for the first time in quite a while. The memories are so many it's hard to pin one down.
The amount of work and the amount of both physical and emotional investment it takes to get to the top.
I feel pretty good when I get out of bed in the morning. I don't feel all beat up, which is nice.
Playing in New England and the Boston area, the fans are so passionate about their sports if you don't play well, they'll let you know so I know it's not something that they take lightly.
Fairly early in my career, I had a passion for wine just as a consumer, and I started to learn about the whole process, starting with a piece of raw ground, and ending up with a work of art in a bottle.
You want hot days to get your fruit ripe but then you want it to cool off nicely at night so that the grapes stay on the vine longer and develop complexity.
We're phenomenally blessed in the Walla Walla Valley. We have great, complex soil that's nutrient-rich but fairly porous.
The positives of retiring outweighed the positives of returning and my desire to still play.
It is the best feeling in the world to have a close game come down to just a couple of plays and you are able to do it.
You know, it's a different deal - throwing a football as opposed to throwing a baseball.
I retire with a smile on my face, in good health, and ready to spend autumns at my kids' games instead of my own. I'm excited to start the next chapter of my life.
It's a really interesting and diverse business. You're a farmer first, then a winemaker, then you're onto marketing and distribution. So it's multi-faceted and really engaging. I've learned more in the last couple years than in the ten prior to that, so it's been pretty interesting.
When you look at facing retirement in your mid-30s, and all of a sudden the outlet for that passion and work ethic goes away, you can't just sit back in a rocking chair and be retired at 35. I'm not a good enough golfer to play golf every day.
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