No one can Bishop Sankey did not try.
It was evident long ago that the Tennessee Titans were not going to get anything close to a return on their investment when they made Sankey the first running back selected in the 2014 NFL Draft.
Taken in the second round (54th overall) out of the University of Washington, he was part of a string of second-round picks for Tennessee who all fell well short of expectations, wide receiver Justin Hunter in 2013 (34th overall), wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham in 2015 (40th overall) and outside linebacker Kevin Dodd in 2016 (33rd overall).
Still, he continued to do what he could to carve out a professional football career for himself. That effort apparently ended Saturday when the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League announced that Sankey, fewer than two months away from his 29th birthday, had retired. The news came on the first day of Argonauts training camp.
Sankey last played in the NFL in 2015 when he appeared in 13 games (three starts) for the Titans. Tennessee released him at the end of the 2016 preseason, and over the next year he spent time with New England, Kansas City and Minnesota but never appeared in a regular season game.
His 569 yards as a rookie made him the Titans’ leading rusher in 2014, when they ranked 26th in the league in rushing offense. Only once in the last 30 years has the franchise’s leading rusher produced fewer yards. That was 2015, when Antonio Andrews finished with 520 yards.
For his NFL career, Sankey rushed for 762 yards and three touchdowns in 29 games. Each of the next seven running backs selected after him have run for more yards and six of the other 18 running backs selected overall that year are still active in the NFL.
A look at the top eight running backs selected in the 2014 NFL Draft:
|Player||Round||Team(s)||Career rushing stats|
199-762 3 TDs
Cincinnati, New England
708-2,898 24 TDs
S.F., Cle., Jax., Hou., Sea.
1,153-4,726 36 TDs
245-958 2 TDs
St. Louis Rams
254-972 5 TDs
Cle., Tenn. Balt.
465-1,816 11 TDs
555-2,237 12 TDs
Atl., N.Y. Giants
1,005-4,144 33 TDs
Sankey first signed with Toronto late in the 2019 season but never played in the CFL, which canceled its 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He re-signed with the franchise in December but apparently reconsidered once the season arrived.
Earlier in 2019, he played four games and ran for 119 yards on 30 carries for the San Diego Fleet of the Alliance of American Football before that league ceased operations. He also tried to earn a spot in the short-lived XFL.
Apparently, he has decided it is time to try something else.