By Jimmy Carlton Sportswriter Published Mar 14, 2016 at 1:37 PM

B.J. Raji is reportedly done playing football, at least for this year, which means the Packers have lost a valuable defensive lineman and the NFL has lost a priceless fat dancer.

According to the Green Bay Press-Gazette, Raji, a free agent drawing interest from multiple teams, plans to take a hiatus despite a "very, very nice deal" from the Packers, who are apparently aware of the 29-year-old’s decision. Other outlets have said he’s merely stepping away for a season and could return in the future.

In a confident, conscientious and gracious statement given to the Press Gazette, Raji expressed gratitude to the Packers, did not rule out a return to the league and said his decision wasn't related to long-term health concerns.

Raji has spent his entire seven-season career in Green Bay, where he was drafted ninth overall in 2009, won a Super Bowl the following year and was named a Pro Bowler in 2011. The nose tackle missed the entire 2014 season with a torn biceps, signed a one-year deal last March and had a quietly productive 2015.

It’s not clear if Raji, who suffered a concussion in the Packers’ Divisional Round playoff loss to the Cardinals in January, isn't walking away at least partly due to injury problems or precautions. The former Boston College standout was considered one of the brightest Packers, and it’s becoming more common for NFL players to retire due to rising distress over head injuries. Before last season, former Wisconsin Badgers star linebacker Chris Borland abruptly ended his career at age 24, citing brain health.

No matter the reason for Raji’s decision, we will always remember "The Freezer" most fondly for a moment on Jan. 23, 2011, during the Packers’ NFC Championship Game victory over the Bears. With a little more than six minutes left in the fourth quarter and Green Bay leading 14-7, Raji intercepted a Caleb Hanie pass and returned it 18 rumbling yards into the end zone for the clinching touchdown.

It was his first and only career interception and touchdown, and he followed it with a wonderful, gyrating hula dance that quickly became named "The Raji."

Here is The Raji, in all its fat-man shimmying glory. If the football player truly is gone for good, we will always remember him this way:

And here he is doing The Raji in a State Farm "Discount Double Check" commercial, back when those ads were still fresh and funny and tolerable:

Good luck, B.J. Raji. Wherever life leads you, may you never, ever stop dancing. 

Born in Milwaukee but a product of Shorewood High School (go ‘Hounds!) and Northwestern University (go ‘Cats!), Jimmy never knew the schoolboy bliss of cheering for a winning football, basketball or baseball team. So he ditched being a fan in order to cover sports professionally - occasionally objectively, always passionately. He's lived in Chicago, New York and Dallas, but now resides again in his beloved Brew City and is an ardent attacker of the notorious Milwaukee Inferiority Complex.

After interning at print publications like Birds and Blooms (official motto: "America's #1 backyard birding and gardening magazine!"), Sports Illustrated (unofficial motto: "Subscribe and save up to 90% off the cover price!") and The Dallas Morning News (a newspaper!), Jimmy worked for web outlets like, where he was a Packers beat reporter, and FOX Sports Wisconsin, where he managed digital content. He's a proponent and frequent user of em dashes, parenthetical asides, descriptive appositives and, really, anything that makes his sentences longer and more needlessly complex.

Jimmy appreciates references to late '90s Brewers and Bucks players and is the curator of the unofficial John Jaha Hall of Fame. He also enjoys running, biking and soccer, but isn't too annoying about them. He writes about sports - both mainstream and unconventional - and non-sports, including history, music, food, art and even golf (just kidding!), and welcomes reader suggestions for off-the-beaten-path story ideas.