Colts’ Khari Willis, 26, retires to ‘pursue the holy call that God has for my life’

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Indianapolis Colts safety Khari Willis was going into his fourth season in the NFL until he decided to answer to a higher calling.

Willis, 26, announced his retirement on Wednesday, revealing he was going into the ministry.

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Trevor Lawrence #16 of the Jacksonville Jaguars scrambles while being chased by Khari Willis #37 of the Indianapolis Colts during the fourth quarter at TIAA Bank Field on Jan. 9, 2022 in Jacksonville, Florida. 
(Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)

“I’d first like to thank the Indianapolis Colts organization for granting me the opportunity to compete in the National Football League the past three years. I’ve built lifelong relationships with numerous teammates, coaches and support staff that have impacted me greatly. The lessons I’ve learned in this phase of my life will be valuable for me in my next chapter,” Willis started.

“With much prayer and deliberation, I have elected to officially retire from the NFL as I endeavor to devote the remainder of my life to the further advancement of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I thank all of my family, friends and those who have supported me on this journey thus far and I look forward to your continued support through the next phase of my life.

“I am both humbled and excited to pursue the holy call that God has for my life which brings me much joy and purpose. Thank you for all your support over the years.”

Khari Willis #37 of the Indianapolis Colts is seen during the game against the Houston Texans at Lucas Oil Stadium on Oct. 17, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Khari Willis #37 of the Indianapolis Colts is seen during the game against the Houston Texans at Lucas Oil Stadium on Oct. 17, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana.
(Michael Hickey/Getty Images)

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The Colts selected Willis in the fourth round of the 2019 NFL Draft out of Michigan State.

He played in 39 NFL games, starting in 33 of them. He had 219 total tackles, four interceptions, a touchdown and 3.5 sacks during his NFL career.

Colts head coach Frank Reich wished him well on his journey.

Indianapolis Colts Safety Khari Willis (37) looks on in game action during a NFL game between the Chicago Bears and the Indianapolis Colts on Oct. 4, 2020, at Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois. 

Indianapolis Colts Safety Khari Willis (37) looks on in game action during a NFL game between the Chicago Bears and the Indianapolis Colts on Oct. 4, 2020, at Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois. 
(Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

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“We’re thankful and appreciative of Khari’s contributions to the Colts both on and off the field over the last three seasons,” Reich said. “Khari’s character, leadership and professionalism will be missed in our locker room as well his play on Sundays. I admire and respect his decision to transition into the next stage of his life and ministry and my prayers will always be with him.”

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