Back in March, the Daily News reported that the reason Eagles free agent safety Walter Thurmond hadn't signed here or anywhere was that he was leaning toward retirement.
Thurmond has now leaned all the way out of the NFL.
"That is official," Thurmond texted Tuesday, after several reports, the first from ESPN, said he was definitely stepping away from the game.
Thurmond, who will turn 29 in August, bailed the Eagles out big-time last season, after signing a one-year deal as a corner. He switched to safety, which he had never played, and ended up starting all 16 games, setting career highs in tackles (76), interceptions (3), sacks (2), and forced fumbles (2).
But after winning the Super Bowl in Seattle, Thurmond moved his career to the East Coast -- first for a year with the Giants, then the Eagles -- because of his aspirations to make it as a film director. He also has endured several serious injuries; he'd never played 16 games before last season.
Last October, Thurmond said he was in preproduction "working on a documentary on the recording artist Eddie Levert (lead vocalist of the O'Jays) that I'm scheduled to direct."
"We've started some filming," Thurmond said Tuesday, but he added that production has stopped momentarily, while Levert's camp takes care of "some personal family things." He said he is in preproduction for another film that should start shooting around the end of July, when Thurmond normally would be reporting for training camp.
Thurmond's Eagles teammates have known this was his likely direction for several months. Malcolm Jenkins, the other starting safety last season, said he was initially surprised, because "he had a really good year last year, and he definitely has some more ball in him."
Jenkins added: "I also respect him. There's not many guys in this league who can walk away from the game with that much left to play, from the emotional standpoint, from the financial standpoint -- I'm actually proud of him, to be in that place where he's able to walk away from the game. I couldn't do that right now. I'm not there, that I'm ready to walk away from all that the game brings, being in the locker room, even the money that comes with it. So for him to be in a place where he feels like the next chapter is more exciting than this here, that's a great place to be in."
Thurmond made $3.25 million in his year with the Eagles. He stood to make at least that in 2016 as a free agent, and probably could have bagged a multiyear deal with several million dollars guaranteed.