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Early NFL Retirements Headline NFL Free Agency Day One

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A couple of pretty big names retired at a young age on day one of the 2015 NFL calendar.

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

It's well-known that the shelf life of an NFL player is shorter than most other professions. On average, professional football players only last for a few years, but many others last longer--especially when those players were high draft picks. Aside from the trades, new deals and other surprising moves that occurred on Tuesday, two other announcements rocked the league.

Shortly after the 2015 year officially began for the NFL, Titans quarterback Jake Locker announced that he was retiring. The former No. 8 overall pick of the 2011 draft surprised many with the declaration as he was set to hit free agency.

"I am retiring from football after much reflection and discussion with my family," Locker said in a statement obtained by NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport. "I will always be grateful for having had the opportunity to realize my childhood dream of playing in the NFL and for the lifelong relationships I developed because of that experience.

"Football has always played a pivotal role in my life and I love the game, but I no longer have the burning desire necessary to play the game for a living; to continue to do so would be unfair to the next organization with whom I would eventually sign. I realize this decision is surprising to many, but I know in my heart that it is the right decision and I look forward to spending more time with my family and pursuing other interests."

Some speculated that because of injury and ineffectiveness as a quarterback that Locker would look at re-tapping his roots as a professional baseball player. The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim drafted Locker in 2009, but made it known that they were not interested in giving him another try six years later.

Locker was the second quarterback taken in what was believed to be a deep 2011 quarterback class. Unfortunately, for many teams, that class hasn't worked out. Ironically, the two drafted at the top of the second round, Andy Dalton and Colin Kaepernick, have had the most in-season success.

Meanwhile, the Black and Yellow boys across the river experienced an similarly odd situation. Though Jason Worilds wasn't technically under contract with the Steelers, the outside linebacker suddenly announced his retirement late Tuesday night.

Though he was a free agent and wasn't really pegged to return to the Steel Town, Worilds' retirement came as a surprise after registering 15.5 sacks the past two seasons. He seemed to have been hitting his professional stride and had some interest on the open market, but decided to "pursue other interests".

Worilds is only 27 years old and was drafted by the Steelers in the second round of the 2010 draft. He signed the contract for the seldom-used Transition Tag before last season for a $9.75 million contract.

Check out tomorrow's "Morning Bites" for more on these items.