“I am officially retiring from the NFL,” Wootton posted on his official Twitter account. “I want to thank the Chicago Bears organization for drafting me and allowing my NFL career to become a reality.
“I was able to live out my childhood dream. Throughout my time in the NFL I was fortunate to work with some great coaches and players. My main focus in life now is putting my family first, and spending as much time with them as I can.”
Selected 109th overall (fourth round) in the 2010 NFL draft, Wootton, 29, battled injuries for a portion of his collegiate and professional careers, but still managed to record a career-high seven sacks for the Bears in 2012.
As a rookie in 2010, Wootton delivered a memorable blow to Brett Favre in frigid Minnesota that forced the legendary quarterback to leave the field due to a concussion. Favre never took another snap in the NFL after that play.
Wootton left the Bears following the 2013 season, signing a one-year deal with the Minnesota Vikings. The 6-foot-6 defensive lineman appeared in 14 games for Minnesota in 2014 before joining the Detroit Lions last offseason. Wootton played well for the Lions in the preseason, but landed on injured reserve with a torn pectoral muscle.
While at Northwestern, Wootton earned first-team All-Big Ten honors and was voted the Wildcats' Most Valuable Player in 2008.