One of the most successful draft picks in recent Cincinnati Bengals history is hanging up his cleats.
Former Bengals cornerback Johnathan Joseph announced his retirement from the NFL via his Twitter account. Joseph included pictures from his days as a Bengal in the tweet.
Today I retire from the NFL.— Johnathan Joseph (@JJOE2424) June 10, 2021
In the summer of 2006, I signed my first NFL contract with the Cincinnati Bengals. Fifteen years later, I can say I accomplished my childhood goal of making it to the NFL. I will never forget as a kid telling my father I wanted to be in the NFL. pic.twitter.com/v29OIiziwY
Joseph, a 15-year veteran, was Cincinnati’s first-round pick in the 2006 NFL Draft. The former South Carolina Gamecock was made the 24th overall pick, and up until Thursday was one of nine remaining active players from that class. Coincidentally, two of the now eight remaining active players, Andrew Whitworth and Domata Peko, were also drafted by the Bengals.
From 2006-10, Joseph started 58 games at cornerback for the Bengals. He registered 14 interceptions (three returned for touchdowns), 76 passes defensed, two forced fumbles, and 221 solo tackles.
In the 2011 offseason, Joseph left the Bengals for the Houston Texans in free agency. That same offseason, the Bengals opted to re-sign cornerback Leon Hall instead of Joseph. Hall would continue to have a great career with the Bengals, but it took plenty of resources for the Bengals to properly replace Joseph at cornerback. Veterans Nate Clements and Terence Newman were brought in, and more first-round draft picks were used on Dre Kirkpatrick and William Jackson III years later.
Joseph would go on to play 10 more seasons after leaving Cincinnati, with nine of them in Houston. Despite not making a Pro Bowl in Cincinnati, Joseph made two of them with his second team in 2011 and 2012. During those same years, Joseph and the Texans also defeated the Bengals in the postseason.
In 2020, Joseph had short stints with both the Tennessee Titans and the Arizona Cardinals. His last game with the Titans came against the Bengals, a game in which he allowed 92 yards and a touchdown on 11 targets, per Pro Football Focus. Joseph was cut shortly afterwards.
Joseph finished his productive career with 32 interceptions (seven returned for touchdowns), 200 passes defensed, eight forced fumbles, and 670 solo tackles.