Trae Waynes, released by Bengals in March: 'Honestly, in my head, I'm done'

Dave Clark
Cincinnati Enquirer
Jan 9, 2022; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Cleveland Browns tight end Harrison Bryant (88) can not make the catch in the end zone as Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Trae Waynes (26) defends during the first half at FirstEnergy Stadium.

Cornerback Trae Waynes played in just five games over two injury-plagued seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals, which released Waynes in March - saving about $10 million in cap space.

Now Waynes, who missed the entire 2020 season with a torn pectoral injury after signing a three-year, $42 million deal with the Bengals, has told the Geary & Stein Sports show podcast that he's not announcing his retirement but, in his head, he's done playing.

"It's open, but I'm not really exploring anything, to be honest with you," Waynes said. "Multiple teams have actually called. Honestly, in my head, I'm done. I'm not officially doing it just because I don't give a (expletive). But I'm retired, but it's not like I announced it or anything. ... It didn't feel like a Super Bowl to me because my time in Cincinnati has just been injuries."

"For me, I played. I lived the dream. I did it. I made enough money to where I can take care of my family. Being able to walk away on my own terms is always something I wanted to do," Waynes continued. "There's more to life than football. And I want to enjoy life outside of football without limping or walking in pain all the time and stuff like that. It's bittersweet but I know at the end of the day it's probably the right decision."

Waynes played in five regular-season games - with four starts - and four postseason games for the Bengals, but an ankle injury limited him to just special-teams snaps.

In seven NFL seasons - including the first five for the Minnesota Vikings - Waynes played in 79 games with 57 starts. He had seven interceptions (but none with Cincinnati), along with 43 passes defended, 259 tackles and one sack.

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