HARVEY | After nine seasons in the NFL, Antwaan Randle El officially announced his retirement from the league Friday at the first day of his youth football academy at Thornton High School.
"It's official. I'm hanging 'em up," he said.
Randle El said he had offers from some teams, but was not interested in any of them. He made his mind up about six weeks ago that he wanted to move on to other opportunities.
"I didn't want to go with the teams that were offering me, so I just said, 'It's time.' Prayed about it, God opened some other doors, and I said I'm going to go that way," Randle El said.
The Riverdale native, who graduated from Thornton, will be working with the Big Ten Network in the fall as both a color analyst on the football field and in the studio.
He said he will be in Bloomington for the first two weeks of the season to cover his alma mater, Indiana, when it opens with Indiana State and Ball State.
"I can't wait," he said. "I already called people up and told them I'm going to be there."
He will also work on BTN's "The Next Level" and will assist with the Washington Redskins preseason games as an analyst.
He earned a degree in sports communication with a specialization in broadcasting, and did broadcast work with the Steelers, Redskins and NFL Network while he was playing.
The 32-year-old still lives in the Washington D.C. area from his time with the Redskins.
According to his brother, Curtis Randle El, this is the eighth year the two have put on a camp at Thornton. Antwaan wants to try to do a one night overnight camp next year, then a four night camp in 2014 in the area.
"The most important thing is these camps and these academies and reaching out to these kids," Antwaan said. "Being able to tell them about God and Jesus Christ and what it really means to be a man. That is at the front of everything that I want to do."
Randle El played football, basketball and baseball at Thornton, before going on to a football career at Indiana University. There, he starred for the Hoosiers as the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year in 2001.
The Pittsburgh Steelers drafted him in the second round of the 2002 draft. He won Super Bowl XL while with the Steelers, becoming the only wide receiver to ever throw a touchdown pass in the Super Bowl.
"That's pretty big to be able to do that, and it's always been a childhood dream to be able to play in the Super Bowl, to quarterback in the Super Bowl and throw a touchdown pass," he said.
"Obviously I wasn’t a quarterback, but did it as a wide receiver so it was a blessing in itself."