Allen Park — The thought almost appeared to blindside Glover Quin.
At first, he laughed, followed by an “um” and a lengthy pause, not all that unusual of a reaction from one of the Detroit Lions’ most thoughtful players as he ponders the best way to answer a question. Then, after about 10 seconds, the often-loquacious safety delivered a one-word response.
Rejoining the Lions for this week’s mandatory minicamp after curiously skipping the team’s workouts and OTAs the past six weeks, the 32-year-old Quin had been asked if he had been considering retirement.
So why the pregnant pause?
“I think every player, once you get to a certain age and look in the mirror and ask yourself can you continue to play at that high of a level,” Quin said. “Thinking about retiring was not on my mind. It was just trying to figure out how much I have left.
“If I didn’t feel like I had a lot left, I wouldn’t be here.”
Since signing with the Lions in 2013, Quin has been the model of consistency, and he showed no signs of slowing down during the 2017 campaign, recording 84 tackles, three interceptions and four forced fumbles. Pro Football Focus graded him as the fourth-best player at his position.
Still, there are long-term health concerns that weigh on many players in the twilight of their careers. Quin suffered an ugly-looking concussion last season, his second in three years, but stated that also had nothing to do with his decision to stay home.
More than pondering his own football future, Quin’s decision was about putting family over football this offseason, committing more time to his wife and his three young sons, who live in Houston throughout the year.
“Only thing I was contemplating, really, was how do I spend more time with my family,” he said. “That was really it. How do I spend more time with them? It’s a difficult situation. That was really the main thing, disconnect, give them everything I got and let’s try to figure out how to spend more time with them.
“I know the work I had to put in to be in shape and I just put it on myself,” he said. “When you’re in the offseason program, the first few weeks, you don’t get that much time (on the field). You work out and then you’re kind of done, so it’s a lot of standing around. I was like, I can get my workouts at home and make sure I’m training. And instead of standing around, I can spend that time with my kids and my wife.”
More than most, Quin is equipped to miss these early portions of the offseason program. He has always possessed a standard-setting work ethic in the locker room, has started 132 consecutive games, so durability is not a concern, and the football IQ that has made him one of the league’s best at his position also allows him to pick up a new defensive scheme and playbook quickly.
“I’m just trying to soak up as much of the playbook as I can,” Quin said after his first practice on Tuesday. “As I’ve said, football is football to me. I thank God every day because one of the things I’ve felt he blessed me with is a great football mind. Just being able to learn and understand defenses has been fairly easy for me. I came in yesterday and got a lot thrown at me, but was able to practice today.”
Quin noted this is his fourth head coach and defensive scheme of his 10-year career. Regardless of what he’s asked to do within the system, he’s confident in his ability to perform.
As for retirement talk, that can wait. When it’s time, he has no intention of lingering longer than he should.
“I’ve lived my life and done things to where when I feel it’s time for me to walk away that I have no regrets,” Quin said. “I’m not going to be a guy that’s coming back three or four times because I miss (it). I feel like I’ve given the game everything I’ve got when I’ve played.
“When it’s time for me to walk away, I will peacefully and gracefully bow out and let the young guys have it.”