After 17 seasons, former Knighthawk legend John Grant Jr. is retiring from professional lacrosse.
Grant leaves the game with the second most goals (668) and points (1,446), and the fifth most assists (778) in NLL history.
However, what he’ll miss the most isn’t the accolades or the championship or the crowds. It’s the fact that he can no longer play the game that he grew up with.
“I just loved strapping the pads on and going after it,” says Grant. “I’m going to miss playing, going out with my teammates, giving it all we got. Dying for each other and looking each other in the eye after saying ‘we’ve done all we can to win.'”
Grant is now a high school head coach at a private school in Denver and he’s the offensive coordinator for the Major League Lacrosse Denver Outlaws.
The reason for his decision is simple. “It’s time,” he said. His body just won’t allow him to play anymore.
“I’m pretty beat up,” says Grant. “Now it’s time to use all my experiences and teach the game to younger guys.”
Injuries, specifically to his head, forced him into retirement. His doctors advise him to not even play in recreational leagues because one bad hit could cause serious trouble.
“Like most athletes, you don’t think about it until it’s down the road. Well… it’s down the road now,” says Grant. “I’ll use some of those experiences to help young guys make the right decisions. I owe the game a lot. It’s given me so much. And I continue and will continue to give back.”
Grant was drafted first overall by the Knighthawks in 1999. He led to Rochester to the NLL Finals three times, winning it all in 2007.
“That was the year we finally got over the hump and won a championship. It was quite exciting,” says Grant. “The fans were around us all the time. It was just an awesome time.”
Rochester hasn’t seen a player like Grant since, and it could be a very long time until another one comes around.