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Troy Aikman Announces Retirement

Aired April 9, 2001 - 15:16   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOIE CHEN, CNN ANCHOR: Rhonda Schaffler, thanks very much. We want to bring you the news from Dallas today, which is a city that's having a little bit of trouble trying to come to grips with this story. It's not a big surprise for the folks in Dallas but America's team is having to say goodbye to one of its greats. Troy Aikman making it official today after most, almost years of rumors about his career coming to an end.

He is today making it official and announcing his retirement out there in Dallas. Says he is headed off to the broadcaster's booth, as had anticipated for some time. Of course, Troy Aikman has long suffered a lot of injuries, great injuries to his back, his lower back, has suffered for years.

He's had 10 concussions over the course of his NFL career, four just the past two seasons alone. Always said that he was ready to go out and play, but it has been a tough time. In fact, last month, owner, Jerry Jones in Dallas having to make the tough decision to waive Aikman because of the nature of his injuries and concerns because he had a big roster bonus coming up.

They are making the announcement official out in Dallas today. Jerry Jones speaking with reporters and Troy Aikman sitting at his side. They had just played a special presentation film about the highlights of Aikman's career out there in Dallas. He's been the big name, the marquee name out in Dallas ever since he was the number one draft pick in Dallas back in 1989. Led the team to three Super Bowl championships, the all-time leading passer. He's and won more games in the '90s than any other quarterback. This is the guy that Dallas will miss greatly. And they are a city honoring a champion today. Troy Aikman ready to speak.

TROY AIKMAN, FORMER PROFESSIONAL FOOTBALL PLAYER: I appreciate the remarks, and I appreciate the video that Steve Sabol did. I certainly wasn't expecting that. You know, I joined the Cowboys back in 1989. I saw Danny White retire, Tom Rafferty, Ed Jones. Forgive me here, because this is going to be a lot harder. Michael Irvin, Jay Novacek, Daryl Johnston. And you watch and you think that your time will never come. And you know, my time's come. And today, I announce my retirement from the National Football League and the Dallas Cowboys. And it was 12 of the best years of my life professionally speaking. We had some great fun. I look back over it, and the people that I had a chance to get to know, the friendships that we've established, walking away from that is hard. I've been playing this game since I was 7 years old, and to all a sudden recognize that you're not going to be doing it anymore is hard. And I know it's the right thing. I know it's the right thing for me because of my health: concussions, my back problems that I've had. It took its toll and I know that to try to go out there and play another year was going to be, you know, a tough thing to do. But you know, the competitor in me wanted to continue to do that, I still wanted to play. And you know, I just can't do it anymore.

Another reason why it's the right thing to do is because of the family. If it was just me, I think it'd be a little bit easier to try to go on and play somewhere else. Being married, and 11-year-old daughter and another child along the way, you know, asking them to pick up and move on and just to pursue, you know, my own selfish desires of playing, I didn't feel like that was the right thing to do. So I came to this agreement and decision and I'm OK with it. I'm OK with it, but I also know that I can still play. And I think that when all things were considered, it was the right thing for me and my family.

I might reminisce here a little bit. I remember coming out of college 12 years ago, and I wanted to play for the Dallas Cowboys.

CHEN: A very, very emotional statement speaking in Dallas before reporters there and making official his retirement from America's team, from the Dallas Cowboys. Of course, this had been long speculated, but Troy Aikman making it official today that he will leave the team. And he's going up to the broadcaster's booth. You're going to see him during the season doing some of the commentary there.

He said that watching the greats retire over the years, you always thought your time will never come. Today, he said his time had come. Troy Aikman making official his retirement from the Dallas Cowboys. CNN will continue to follow up on this story. Now we're going to bring you back to TALKBACK LIVE.

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