Written By Sam Ekstrom (ZoneCoverage.com)
Per a release from the Minnesota Vikings, veteran linebacker Chad Greenway will announce his retirement via a press conference at 11 a.m. Tuesday.
Greenway’s retirement was not a surprise as the 11-year pro had also contemplated retirement the previous year and had begun to show signs of slowing down in his age 33 season.
Vikings fans gave Greenway a heartfelt sendoff during the team’s final game, applauding him as he stood on the sideline in the closing seconds. The South Dakota-native endeared himself to Minnesota fans with his blue collar Midwestern mentality, loyalty and philanthropy, having developed the Lead the Way Foundation that has positively impacted children in the community.
“This business is so much about relationships and people and teammates, coaches,” said Greenway after his final game. “You don’t realize that until you think about, ‘This could be it.’ You start really thinking about it and thinking about the people you’re meeting, you’re shaking hands with on an every day basis.”
Greenway made the playoffs four times with the Vikings and never came closer to winning a Super Bowl than in 2009-10, when the Vikings lost a heartbreaker to the New Orleans Saints in the NFC Championship Game.
His individual accolades are numerous, however. He was a four-time Vikings Man of the Year Award winner, an Ed Block Courage Award winner, recorded the fourth-most tackles in Vikings history and finished with the third-most sacks among Vikings linebackers.
Per the release, “Greenway, who ranks fourth in franchise history with 1,334 career tackles, played 11 seasons and appeared in 156 career games with 144 starts for the Vikings. Chosen with the 17th overall selection in the 2006 NFL Draft, Greenway was the first draft pick under the leadership of the Wilf family and ownership group. The Mount Vernon, South Dakota, native earned two Pro Bowl nods (2011 and 2012), was selected Second Team All-Pro by the Associated Press in 2012 and was voted the Vikings Defensive MVP three times (2010, 2012 and 2013) throughout his career.
“Greenway, who is tied with LB Scott Studwell for the most consecutive seasons leading the Vikings in tackles with six from 2008-2013, was named to the All-Mall of America Field Team in 2013, a recognition as one of the greatest Vikings to play in the Metrodome during its 32-year existence.”
The linebacker’s exemplary character and leadership will leave a void in the Vikings locker room, as well as on the field. Knowing Greenway’s close connection to the team, though, it’s not out of the question that he’ll find a way to remain close to organization.