Orakpo, a four-time Pro Bowl selection, concludes his 10-year NFL career having spent six years with the Washington Redskins and the final four seasons in Nashville.
“I always wanted to be able to walk away from the game on my terms, healthy and in a great state of mind,” Orakpo said. “This was a decision solely made for walking away from the game health-wise. As you get older, your body starts talking to you. This is the first time I actually sat down and listened.”
The retirement was something that Orakpo said was in the works coming into the 2018 season. He wanted to make sure he finished out his deal, as it was important to him to honor his contract.
Orakpo dealt with elbow and triceps injuries this season, causing him to miss three games — including one against the Redskins. The Titans ruled Orakpo out for the season finale after he was limited in practice last week.
He finished the season with 1.5 sacks, three passes defensed, a forced fumble and 28 tackles.
A 2009 first-round pick (No. 13 overall), Orakpo posted 66 career sacks, 12 forced fumbles, and a defensive touchdown in his career. The veteran linebacker said he is most proud of helping to change the culture for the Titans.
“We did some great things with the leadership from Coach [Mike] Vrabel, Jon Robinson — just completely changing the culture,” Orakpo said. “That’s what I am most proud of. When you think of the Tennessee Titans before, it was an easy ‘W’ for opponents. I think we all collectively helped change the culture and helped change the perception of the Titans to become a powerhouse in the NFL.”
Now Orakpo can turn his attention to his family — wife Bitura, son Brian and daughters Brianna and Brea. He quickly shot down any possibility of coming back, and he has no plans of being involved with football.
Orakpo plans to go back to his home state of Texas, where he owns a flourishing cupcake business with former University of Texas and former Titans safety Michael Griffin.
“I am going to relax and spend way more time with my family than I have before,” Orakpo said. “Now I can turn my energy to some of the other passions I have.”
The Redskins selected Orakpo with the 13th overall pick in the 2009 draft and he went on to earn three of his Pro Bowl selections in his six seasons with the team.
He had his best season for the Titans in 2016, when he earned his only Pro Bowl section with the team, finishing with 10.5 sacks.
He had 40 of his 66 career sacks in a Redskins uniform.