From starting his rookie season with a torn ACL in the preseason to the start and end of the head coaching careers for Brad Childress and Leslie Frazier and numerous players in between, Greenway has seen plenty.
Although he sounds like a player ready to retire soon, he isn’t ready to make that announcement with one game left in the Vikings’ 2016 season.
“There’s going to be a time and a place for that, I think, and this week I just want to stay focused on winning this football game. We’ve had a rough stretch here going out,” Greenway said, referring to the Vikings losing eight of their last 10 games. “… For me personally I just want to stay focused on (winning the finale). There’ll be a time to do that. I’m not trying to take away from what we’re trying to do right now. I think it’s just a smart play, and then we can take some time and think about it and reflect and make sure we’re all in a position to know what we want to do.”
Greenway was voted the defensive MVP of the Vikings for 2010, 2012 and 2013, but his role has been diminishing. He’s still technically a starter in the team’s base defense, but this year he has played in less than 40 percent of the defensive snaps. On Saturday, he saw action in 13 of the 59 defensive snaps as the Packers featured more three-receiver sets that keep the weakside linebacker on the sideline.
Despite the grind of the second half of the season, he maintains that a retirement decision never comes easy.
“I don’t think you get to this position and have been through 11 years of this grind and just be like it’s just easy to say, ‘Well, I’m done. It’s easy. Here we go.’ Or the other way around. It’s a tough decision. It really is,” he said. “… I’ve talked to a ton of friends obviously who’ve gone through this process, and a year or two out they still have the same things you’re thinking about.”
Greenway said he cherishes his opportunity to play in the NFL, but he doesn’t believe how the season is ending for the Vikings will factor into his decision either way.
“I just think it’s kind of an individual, personal decision, and for us it’s a family decision and a thing we need to talk about and think about,” he said. “But it’s just such a weird thing being 33 years old and talking about this, you know? You’re retired, and most people, like my cousin just became a doctor and she’s 30. Her career is just starting. It’s just such a different profession that way. It’s interesting. Been interesting to turn 30 in the NFL and go through these last three years and get called old for three years. It’s just funny.”
But the South Dakota native and Iowa alumnus stopped short of making an official retirement announcement.
“I just want to make the decision when it’s right, and I don’t want to take away from this week,” Greenway said. “I think there’s a good time and place for that.”