One of the most storied careers in Chargers history, and the NFL for that matter, has come to a close.
After 44 years in the NFL, including 21 with the Chargers (11 as a player and 10 as a coach), Hall of Famer Charlie Joiner has announced his retirement from the NFL.
“Retirement is kind of tough, especially after all the years I’ve spent in the NFL,” said Joiner. “After 44 years though, it’s time for retirement. I realize that. This is definitely a young man’s game, and it’s time for new blood, new insight and new ways of doing things. I think the players need to be introduced to those new things. It’s time in my life that at 65, I should be doing something else. Right now, I have no idea what I will be doing. I’m just trying to make a clean move out of here and make it nice and easy for the new coach to come in and get his program started.”
Over his Hall of Fame playing career, Joiner amassed 750 catches, which was the most in league history at the time of his retirement as a player. He caught 586 of those balls as a Charger, which was a team record that stood until
“I’ve been associated with some of the best people in the game with the Chargers,” said Joiner. “When the Spanos’ took over the Chargers, we developed a great relationship. I appreciate everything they’ve done for me and I appreciate everything they’ve done for this community. I just think it’s a strong leadership here now with Dean, A.G. and John.”
Joiner was quick to point out that what he will miss most is the fans, who he developed a special rapport with over the years.
“I appreciate all the years of devotion they had for me,” he said. “I appreciate all the years they backed me, followed me and helped me. I used to feed off the crowd. And when the crowd got excited, I got excited. I’m going to miss that. I know it’s time for another player to get that kind of attachment with the fans. And the fans in San Diego are some of the best in the nation. I’ve been around the entire league and seen every team in the nation, and here in San Diego they’ve done an outstanding job of backing this football team, and it’s time to get behind this team again.”
Even though he is stepping away from the game, Joiner made it clear that his devotion to the Bolts will remain forever.
“I will always be a San Diego Chargers fan,” he said. “This is where my career started. Even though I played for two other teams, my career started here and now it’s ending here. There’s a new leadership now and we’ve got to get behind this new leadership to make sure this franchise gets to where it wants to get to.”