Seeing the Bills' bring a long offseason of indecision on Aaron Schobel's playing future to a conclusion Monday by stating he will not play for them again, might strike some as surprising. For Schobel the decision by the only NFL team he's ever played for lifted a tremendous weight off his shoulders.
"I'm relieved. I'm happy," Schobel told Buffalobills.com. "With this happening it feels like they're ready for me to go on. I think I was more of a headache than a benefit so it's time. I don't have any regrets looking back. I really don't. I enjoyed the fans for the most part and my time in Buffalo."
Schobel still does not know if his playing career is over or not. He plans to take a couple of weeks to come to a final decision on whether he wants to try and play this season.
"I don't know," he said. "I'm just dealing with what I have to deal with now and then take a week and then maybe, I would say within a two week period I'm going to go one way or the other, that's for sure. I'm either going to try to get it going or I'm going to put my (retirement) papers in. That's what I'll do."
The two-time Pro Bowl defensive end said he will not try to force the Bills hand and show up to camp to force a trade or a release. Bills GM Buddy Nix indicated he would keep him on the Reserve/Did Not Report list until he decides what he wants to do regarding his playing career.
Schobel last told Buffalobills.com that he was 70-30 to play again in 2010, but admitted Monday that in the past week he's changed his mind 10 times. In a way Schobel feels the Bills did him a favor.
"Just thinking about being around the guys again you want to play," he said. "But then you think about waking up on Wednesday morning getting ready to start another week and I thought, 'Do I want to do that?' So I kept changing my mind. This makes it easier."
Never a big workout warrior or practice player, Schobel felt he had lost half a step playing last season at age 32, and playing at less than his best was not something that sat well with him.
"I know athletically I'm not what I used to be, but at the same time as I got older, I played smarter and that made up for it," he said. "If I watch tape from '06 to last year, I saw that I wasn't what I used to be. I always said I don't want to be a guy that's playing when he ain't at his best. And I know I was getting to that point so it's time. Now will I say I'm done for sure? I don't know."
A lot of Schobel's indecision was due to a complicated family situation. With all three of his children of school age, splitting the school year between Buffalo and his native Columbus, Texas was not working because the curriculums did not match up. Schobel confirmed that his family was pleased by the Bills' organizational decision.
"They were happy," said Schobel. "I think we're all happy. I played nine years in the NFL, that's a pretty long time for a lot of people. I'll be 33 in a month. It's almost time to do something else."
As far as how he'll look back on his Buffalo career, Schobel admitted he hasn't had time to reflect much on it yet. However, he's hopeful fans remember how he gave nothing but his best every Sunday.
"I don't have any regrets," he said. "Whenever I did something I never felt like I half-*ed it. Maybe I could've practiced harder. Maybe I could've worked out more, but on Sundays I gave you what I had and that's what I'm going to remember. And I think any time I turn on the film whatever game it is I'll be able to see that."