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Lions veteran QB Teddy Bridgewater plans to retire after 2023 season

Detroit Lions backup quarterback Teddy Bridgewater plans to retire after the 2023 season, his 10th in the NFL.

Bridgewater revealed his plans in an interview with Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, adding that he plans to coach high school football following his retirement.

Bridgewater, who signed with the Lions this offseason, told Birkett that he is content with his playing career after playing for six different teams since he was drafted in 2014.

"I was young and I was trapped in this lifestyle thinking that I was a football player 24-7, and when I got hurt I realized that I'm only a football player for three hours on a Sunday afternoon," he said. "Outside of that, I'm Theodore Bridgewater, so it just put everything into perspective and it really helped me not even have to think about not being a starter (anymore). It's like, 'Man, I still got purpose.' And my purpose is bigger than the game of football. Football is just a platform that I have."

Bridgewater was selected No. 32 overall out of Louisville in 2014 by the Minnesota Vikings. In his rookie campaign, Bridgewater led the Vikings to an 11-5 record and earned a Pro Bowl nod in his second season. However, he suffered a gruesome knee injury during the 2016 training camp and missed the entire season. In 2017 for Minnesota, Bridgewater appeared in one game. He signed with the Jets in 2018 and was traded to the Saints following the 2018 preseason. He would go on to start in six games for Sean Payton's squad in two seasons.

"Everything happens for a reason," Bridgewater said. "Injuries, highs, lows, the success, the failures. It all, it builds character, and that's what it did for me. Like I never look like, 'Oh man, what if?' Nah. Whatever was meant for me, it played out the exact way it was meant. And I'm still with that mindset every day and I'm just really appreciative that I'm in Year 10, I tell everyone this is my last year, so I'm in my final year and I'm just enjoying it all, man.

After spending time in the NFC South, Bridgewater signed with the Carolina Panthers in 2020. He started in 15 games and threw a career-high 15 touchdowns. The next offseason, Bridgewater signed with the Broncos. He led Denver to a 7-7 record as a starter and missed the final three games due to a concussion.

Over the last two seasons, Bridgewater has spent time as the backup for Tua Tagovailoa in Miami and this season for Jared Goff in Detroit.

"Teddy's been unbelievable for a lot of people here," Lions head coach Dan Campbell told The Free Press. "He's a huge asset for us, aside from the obvious, which is if we need him, he's a guy that can go in and win for us. But, man, he does so many things behind the scenes that I think a lot of people don't even realize. He's a valuable asset for our team."

Bridgewater's last appearance on the field was in Week 5 when he went in for the team's final drive and took two kneel-down snaps in the win over Carolina.

With the (9-4) Lions set to face the Denver Broncos, Detroit's season could be a little longer amid tight playoff race

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