McKenzie Milton has decided to officially hang up the cleats, announcing his retirement from football on Thursday. The former UCF star returned from a catastrophic leg injury to play for Florida State in 2021, providing one of the great stories of last season. But now that the 2022 NFL Draft has come and gone, Milton explained on Instagram that "my days of playing football have come to an end."
Milton had a 27-6 record as a starter for UCF, including being the engine of the offense for the Knights' undefeated season in 2017. He contributed to two American Athletic Conference Championship teams, but that fateful injury in the regular season finale back in 2018 led to a career-altering injury that cost him both the 2019 and 2020 seasons. Milton graduated from UCF and transferred to Florida State, where he was able to able to get on the field for six games with four starts during the 2021 season.
After participating in a pro day at Florida State and UCF this spring and not getting drafted, Milton can celebrate his recovery and still know he gave the NFL his best run. In his announcement on social media, Milton made reference to the "what if" questions that might include whether his NFL Draft outcome might have been difference without the injury. But he says his outlook is focused on his growing family, as he and his wife are expecting a boy this summer.
"A lot of people will wonder what if he never got hurt what if this what if that? I asked myself those same questions for awhile too," Milton wrote in his announcement on social media. "It wasn't until November 23 2021 (three year anniversary of my injury) where I saw my son for the first time on ultrasound and then understood why I went through what I went through. It took three years to put it all in perspective. I get goosebumps thinking about how divine it is that three years to the day I get hurt, is the same day I see my baby boy for the first time."
While Milton was working out with NFL aspirations, he simultaneously getting active in the name, image and likeness business. According to the Orlando Sentinel, he started a NIL company with former Miami quarterback D'Eriq King to help athletes "land potential deals," and that company has launched a UCF-focused in February.