Three seasons after entering the NFL with the Indianapolis Colts as a fourth-round pick out of Michigan State, safety Khari Willis called it a career Wednesday.
Willis announced his retirement via Twitter, stating that he's going to devote himself full time to ministry work, hanging up his cleats.
In 33 career starts, Willis racked up 219 tackles and four interceptions for the Colts.
"I'd first like to thank the Indianapolis Colts organization for granting me the opportunity to compete in the National Football League these past three years," Willis wrote, announcing his retirement. "I've built lifelong relationships with numerous teammates, coaches and support staff that have impacted me greatly. The lessons that I've learned in this phase of my life will be valuable for me in my next chapter.
"After much prayer and deliberation, I have elected to officially retire from the NFL as I endeavor to devote the remainder of my life to the further advancement of the Gospel of Jesus Christ," Willis added. "I thank all of my family, friends, and those who have supported me on this journey thus far and I look forward to your continued support throughout the next phase of my life.
"I am both humbled and excited to pursue the holy call that God has for my life which brings me much joy and purpose. Thank you all for your support over the years."
The loss of Willis to retirement opens up a sizable hole on the depth chart at safety, especially after he started 33 games over the last three seasons. The return from a torn Achilles by Julian Blackmon will help solidify the position overall, as will the increased role for veteran signee Rodney McLeod, but there's no denying the Colts lost a significant leader in the secondary under first-year defensive coordinator Gus Bradley.
Rookie third-round draft pick Nick Cross should also see opportunities increase for him in 2022 with Willis no longer in the fold. There's also a chance the Colts could hit the free agent market again and add another veteran safety, simply for depth purposes with Willis pursuing his life's calling.
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