FLORHAM PARK, NJ – Former New York Jets runner Bilal Powell, who spent much of his career as a backup but climbed to eighth place on the franchise’s all-time rushing list, announced his retirement from the NFL Tuesday by signing a ceremonial one. -day contract with the team.
Powell, 33, played in late 2019 after a significant neck injury that shortened his 2018 season. He underwent surgery but returned to play 13 games as a reserve player.
A fourth round out of Louisville in 2011, Powell spent his entire career with the Jets. He was their leading rusher in 2017 with 772 yards. For most of his career, he was known as a reliable No. 2 ball carrier who played behind running backs like LaDainian Tomlinson, Chris Ivory and Matt Forte.
Powell finished with 3,675 rushing yards and 5,275 yards from scrimmage, which ranks seventh on the Jets’ all-time list. He is the only player in franchise history to have four runs at 40 plus yards in the same season. For nine seasons, he did not get a chance to play in a single playoff game.
He was always respected among teammates and coaches, yet he managed to keep a low profile. The media cloud Powell rarely did interviews.
“I had a couple of opportunities to leave, to play for some Super Bowl-fighting and playoff-fighting teams,” Powell told the Jets’ official website. “I remember a year where two of the teams that wanted me in free agency ended up playing against each other in the Super Bowl.
“I just always chose to come back to New York because I always wanted to see the trophy come back here again. It was one thing for me, deep down, when I wrote my name on that contract to become a New York “Jet, I wanted to stay a New York Jet, and that was for me personally. I always wanted to see the trophy come back, not just for myself, but for the Jets fanbase.”