The Miami Dolphins' recent history is filled with surprising, sometimes shocking, developments and one of those chapters belonged to Arian Foster.
Now, a little less than six years after the fact, Foster is shedding some light on his sudden retirement after only four games with the Dolphins during the 2016 season.
Foster explained on a recent appearance on the "I Am Athlete Tonight" podcast on SiriusXM Radio that it was advice from his father Carl, who had played wide receiver at the University of New Mexico, that led him to abruptly walk away from the Dolphins.
"When I was a kid, I asked my dad, 'How did you know when you didn't want to play anymore, you wanted to walk away,' " Foster said. "And he told me one time and I'll never forget. He said, 'You'll know.' And we were playing, I believe the Browns or the Steelers, and I was battling some small nicks and injuries and stuff, and I was standing on the sidelines.
"It was right before we went into halftime, and it's just a vivid thought that at the time I was reading this book by Brian Greene, who's a physicist. And I was really into the book. And I remember thinking, I was looking up at the stands and I thought vividly, I was like, I do not give a sh*t who wins this game, like, I don't care at all. I want to go home and I want to read my book. I want to finish reading my book. I would rather do that right now. That's the thought that ran through my mind. Once that thought crossed my mind. I was like, it's time to leave."
After signing Foster that July, the Dolphins made him the starter, but he gained only 47 rushing yards on 16 carries in the first two games before he missed the next three with an injury.
The one big play he produced for the Dolphins was a 50-yard reception after a short Ryan Tannehill pass, though that drive ended with him stuffed for no gain on fourth-and-1 from the Seattle 17.
By the time Foster returned from his injury in Week 6 against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Jay Ajayi had established himself as the starter and Ajayi rushed for 204 yards that day in a 30-25 victory.
For the record, Foster's last game with the Dolphins came the following week, Oct. 23, against the Buffalo Bills at Hard Rock Stadium. The Dolphins won that game 28-25 with Ajayi again topping 200 rushing yards. Foster had three carries for 5 yards.
He retired two days later.
"So we finished the game, the next day, I went to Coach (Adam) Gase's office, and I told him exactly how I felt. I said, 'Listen, I don't want to waste your time and I don't want you to waste my time. I don't play a position where it's like you can haphazardly kind of just, you know, fake the funk. Like I could get hurt or somebody else could get hurt, right? He's like, 'Take a couple of days. I appreciate you talking to me about it. Take a couple days and you come back, if you still feel like that, we'll rock with you. I did. I took a couple days. I got on one of those boats on a little river thing. I enjoyed my two days and I came back, I was like, that was the worst thing I could have done. I'm definitely done."
And so he was.
As it turned out, the Dolphins didn't need Foster in that 2016 season. Ajayi ended up rushing for more than 1,200 yards and the Dolphins finished with a 10-6 record and a wild-card berth in the AFC playoffs that stands as their last one as they prepare for the 2022 season.
Foster Not the First ... Or the Last
Foster was the latest in a line of Pro Bowl players who joined the Dolphins, only to see their career end abruptly.
The last was guard Josh Sitton, who sustained a serious shoulder injury in the 2018 opener and never played again.
There was running back Thurman Thomas, who joined the Dolphins in 2000 after all his great years in Buffalo and was contributing as a pass-catching running back until a knee injury ended his season — and ultimately his career.
Other Pro Bowl players who finished off their career with one season in Miami include QB Jay Cutler, WR Cris Carter and LB Lawrence Timmons, among others.