It's a question that's followed former Ferndale High School and University of Washington standout quarterback Jake Locker since 2015 when, at the age of 27 and after just four seasons in the NFL, he released a 128-word statement announcing his surprise retirement.
Was it the injuries? Was it his love for the game fading? Was it something else?
For the better part of the past three years, Locker has politely declined to speak about his reasons for leaving the game except to friends, family and those he trusts — people who truly understand what's important to him.
Greg Bishop, a former Seahawks beat writer for the Seattle Times and now a senior writer at Sports Illustrated, managed to get Locker to open up about the reasons why and what life is like for him after football for a story that will appear in the April 23 issue of the magazine.
The article, "Why Jake Locker Walked Away From Football — and Why He Doesn't Miss It," is now available online and is well-worth the read, whether you cheered for Locker on Friday nights while he wore blue and yellow or just watched his career with a passing interest and wondered why he seemingly gave up what many would consider "the perfect life."
In the article, Locker reveals that he told his father, Scott, that his favorite football memory isn't the Holiday Bowl victory over Nebraska or an Apple Cup victory over Washington State or even the night the Tennessee Titans picked him in the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft, it was winning the Class 3A state title playing for the Golden Eagles along with his friends and teammates in 2005.
He talks about what he's done since walking away and returning to life in Whatcom County — remodeling his grandmother's house, focusing on his family, a couple of business ventures, raising some cattle, serving as a volunteer assistant coach at Ferndale and studying theology, among other things.
And, of course, he answers the question of "Why?" and explains why he doesn't miss the game.
“I had to come to an understanding that I did not leave the NFL on bad terms," Locker said in the article. "I was grateful for the experience. I was just moving in a different direction.”