MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO/AP) – It is the end of an era for some Minnesota Vikings fans.
On Tuesday at the Vikings’ practice facility in Eden Prairie, linebacker Chad Greenway announced he is retiring.
Greenway began his career playing college football as a Hawkeye at University of Iowa. He was selected as the 17th draft pick in 2006 for the Vikings, and has played all of his 11 seasons with the Minnesota team.
Among his accomplishments include 1,101 career tackles, which is good enough for fourth in the franchise’s entire history.
He was also voted the Vikings’ defense MVP in 2010, 2012 and 2013.
At the press conference Tuesday, head coach Mike Zimmer said “In the 3 years I’ve been here he’s been a tremendous help to me. He’s a true Viking.”
“I’m proud of the fact that I played for this organization for 11 years. I wanted to have this press conference to thank everybody who got me here,” Greenway said Tuesday.
“Only thing I didn’t accomplish was a Super Bowl. I never took a day off. I never took the easy way out,” Greenway said.
Greenway accepted a reduced role at linebacker the past three years under Zimmer. He excelled in the position, and it likely extended his career.
“I learned more about defense the past three years than I did my entire life,” Greenway said of coach Zimmer.
Greenway says he was “90 percent” certain he was done after the 2016 season ended. His talks with general manager Rick Spielman and coach Zimmer since then never broached the subject of a new contract.
Iowa was Greenway’s lone Division I offer coming out of high school. He made sure to thank everyone from his hometown that helped get him to college football. He thanked his entire family and got emotional when speaking about his parents. Greenway lost his dad to cancer two years ago.
“I am the person and player that I am because of my parents. None of this would be possible without them,” Greenway said. “I also thank my wife for letting me live out my dream while she put hers on the back-burner.”
Additionally, Greenway made a lasting impression on the Twin Cities community with his charity work.
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)