Orlando Predators quarterback Bernard Morris has confirmed that he will retire from Arena Football League action.
The Predators veteran quarterback, who has played in the AFL for six seasons from 2010 through 2016, revealed the decision on social media on Tuesday.
“Just time to move on,”Morris told Inside the Arena. “I have new chapters to write in my life.”
The 31-year-old Orlando native stepped up to lead the team in the final games of the 2016 season after the Predators starting quarterback Randy Hippeard tore his ACL.
In his first full game starting he earned AFL player of the week, throwing 16 for 23 for 131 yards and five touchdowns. He added three rushing touchdowns.
Playing in front of his hometown was huge motivator for Morris who attended Jones High School in Orlando. “Its always a great joy for me to go out there and represent my family and my community,” said Morris.
Morris’s highlight victory came on June 24 when Orlando defeated in-state rival Tampa Bay Storm 56-33. This was the Predators first home game following the tragic shooting at Pulse nightclub in downtown Orlando on June 12. It was also the highest crowd of the year with 13,527 in attendance at the Amway Center in 2016.
Said Morris: “2016 was definitely an eventful year. We had a terrible tragedy with the Pulse Nightclub, and the one moment that sticks out a little more than others came when we pulled together a win vs Tampa to help uplift those who lost loved ones, I broke the franchise career rushing record. That’s my personal highlight.”
The Predators finished 2016 with 12-4 record, but were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs by the Jacksonville Sharks for the second year in a row. Morris would finish the year with 1,249 passing yards, 27 passing touchdowns and eight rushing touchdowns.
“The loss to Jacksonville was definitely the toughest loss I have ever been apart of in my AFL career,” said Morris, “Everyone played their hearts out and we were not ready for our season to end.”
Morris played collegiately at Marshall before starting his indoor football career in 2009, playing for three AFL teams in six years. He finishes with 12,059 passing yards, 256 passing touchdowns, 1,562 rush yards and 59 rushing touchdowns.
Although his time as a player has ended Morris has no plans to stay away from football. Morris is currently in the process of launching “BEMORR” a non-profit organization which is currently under development. Morris hopes to use his knowledge and experience from years as a professional athlete to inspire the next generation of leaders in the community.
“At the moment I’m preparing to start a teaching and coaching career to motivate and mentor our youth, and give back to the community.”