Houston Texans safety Andre Hal announced his retirement from the NFL on Tuesday, citing that his health has nothing to do with his decision to walk away from the game at age 26. After being diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma prior to the 2018 season, Hal made a triumphant return to the field mid-way through the year to finish with 13 tackles and a team-high three interceptions in just 8 games.
A 7th-round pick in 2014, Hal was drafted as a cornerback out of Vanderbilt and successfully transitioned to safety, where he accumulated career totals of 189 tackles, one sack, 31 passes defended, 12 interceptions and one touchdown in 40 starts for the Texans.
Hal released a statement via his Instagram page, thanking the organization. “One thing I’ve learned in life is that change is inevitable and life goes through seasons. This season of my life has come to an end. I will be retiring from the NFL. My health did not have anything to do with my decision. I am completely healthy. Thank you to the Houston Texans organization for giving me the opportunity to live my childhood dream. I also want to thank my family and friends for all of their support. I truly appreciate it.”
Texan’s Head Coach Bill O’Brien had this to see about the former safety: “Andre Hal is the epitome of what it means to be a Houston Texans player. What he overcame last season is nothing short of incredible and is an inspiration to every single person in this building,” said Texans head coach Bill O’Brien in a statement. “Over the last five years, Andre’s leadership, infectious personality in the locker room and play-making skills on the field were instrumental to our success. He’s what this place is all about. Although Andre will be missed, I have no doubt that he will be extremely successful in the next chapter of his life.”
After losing both Tyrann Mathieu and Kareem Jackson in free agency, the Texans once-strong safety group is very thin. Justin Reid and Tashaun Gipson hold the starting spots, but with no real options on the roster to fill the third spot, Houston will likely have to invest a draft pick in a safety. Considering the Texans use three-safety packages very often, don’t be surprised to see the team invest one of its top four picks in a safety. Houston has met with Juan Thornhill, Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, Darnell Savage and Zedrick Woods—indicating that they’ve done their due diligence on some of the top safety prospects in the draft. Pick 23 seems too early for the Texans to draft a safety considering they have their starters solidified, but picks 54 and 55 could be options if one of the top safeties falls.