From an overlook above Machu Picchu on Monday, veteran linebacker Scott Fujita announced his retirement from the NFL.
"Timing-wise, it just seemed appropriate," Fujita, 33, told The Times Picayune from Peru, where he was on an 18-person expedition with his close friend and former teammate Steve Gleason earlier this month. "This morning I woke up and hiked to the top of Machu Picchu and watched the sun rise and contemplated everything. This really is the end of one journey and the start of another."
Most recently, Fujita played for Kansas City and Cleveland, but suffered multiple injuries that often kept him off the field. Fujita’s most successful years were in New Orleans with the Saints. He started on the team’s 2009 Super Bowl team and was a defensive captain in 2007.
Fujita plans to spend more time with his family and his friend Gleason. The two athletes became close after Gleason was diagnosed with amyotrphic lateral sclerosis in 2011. Also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, ALS is a fatal condition in which victims progressively lose control of their bodies and most often die from respiratory failure. For much of the final, 10-hour hike to Machu Picchu, Fujita pushed Gleason in a wheelchair. The journey was documented by NFL Films.