“I’m happy to be done with the game. It was time to call it. I get to be a father and husband. I had a lot of great times here and played a lot of great football,” Derek Wolfe said in a retirement press conference per the Denver Broncos. “I focused so much energy on football that now I can focus on other things.”
Before being drafted by the Broncos, Wolfe spent four seasons with the Bearcats and was named Co-Big East Defensive Player of the Year in 2011. During his dominant career at Cincinnati, the Ohio native recorded 162 tackles, 37 tackles for loss and 19.5 sacks. Denver selected Wolfe in the second round of the 2012 NFL Draft.
— Denver Broncos (@Broncos) July 29, 2022
Former Cincinnati defensive end Derek Wolfe retires from NFL
Despite playing behind star defensive ends like Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil, Wolfe quickly made a name for himself in Denver. He racked up three tackles and a sack on Ben Roethlisberger in his regular season debut before going onto have an impressive rookie campaign with 40 tackles and six sacks in 16 games.
Less than a year later, Wolfe’s way of life was put on the line following a spinal cord injury in a preseason game against the Seattle Seahawks. After being partially paralyzed for three hours, Wolfe slowly regained feeling throughout his body and returned for several weeks before later having a seizure and getting placed in a medically induced coma.
— DNVR Broncos (@DNVR_Broncos) July 29, 2022
“I had a great rookie year and trained really hard for that second season then it was almost taken away from me. I was able to battle back and show some resolve,” Wolfe explained in the retirement press conference via Twitter. “I think everything I went through in my life prepared me for moments like that. I might be down but I’m never out.”
While battling through multiple health concerns, Wolfe eventually returned to full form the following year and became one of the league’s best defensive ends in 2015 en route to a Super Bowl run with the Broncos. After having a second hip surgery this year, the former Bearcat star defensive end decided to call it a career.