Randall Godfrey dreamed about a decade long career in the NFL.
Godfrey, a former Lowndes High prep All-American, put the ninth season under his belt in 2004-05 with the San Diego Chargers, one year away from the 10-year plan he set out to accomplish.
Now, with a growing family and mounting surgeries that have taken their toll, Godfrey said the upcoming season in San Diego may be his last.
"My goal was to play 10 years in the NFL," Godfrey said Thursday from his home in San Diego. "I could still play three or four more years, but I've got three kids now and I'm working on getting a business going. I want to branch out into other things."
Godfrey is currently working on putting the final touches on his annual football camp at Lowndes High, something he said he would put together every year during his NFL tenure. The camp is slated to take place the first weekend in June for kids ages 6-15.
"I want to get the kids there because this may be my last camp," Godfrey said.
The former University of Georgia graduate donated $10,000 to different organizations in Valdosta last year during his camp, including a $5,000 gift to the Lowndes High athletic department.
Godfrey made an addition to his family last August when his wife, Rhonda, gave birth to their third child. He has two other sons, Billy, 12, and R.J., 20 months old.
Godfrey, 32, said he's gone through nine surgeries during his career and doesn't want to ruin his health by overexerting himself with more years in the NFL.
"(The NFL) is a quick investment, but it's something I love to do," Godfrey said. "I want to be able to do things with my kids when I get older. I don't want to be 45 and can't walk into Martin Stadium because of bad knees."
There could be a few small obstacles in Godfrey's way if he does decide to end his career next season. Godfrey, now with his fourth professional team, is entering the second year of a three-year contract with the Chargers, but said he may come to an agreement with San Diego to opt out of the final year of his contract after his 10th year is complete.
"If I have to play 11 years I will," Godfrey said, "but I verbally made a decision with the coaches that I'd like to done after this season."
There's one other problem standing in the way of Godfrey's decision -- he's still one of the league's top linebackers in terms of production. The 6-foot-2, 245-pounder made 85 tackles from his inside linebacker position last season, playing only on first and second downs.
He didn't miss a game while fighting off a nagging ankle injury in December, saying the 2004-05 season "was my best season since 2000. It rejuvenated my career."
Add to that San Diego won the AFC west last season before losing in the first round of the playoffs, Godfrey plans to continue his workout regimen in late March in hopes of helping the Chargers advance in the playoffs.
The riggers of the NFL schedule didn't keep Godfrey out of Martin Stadium during Lowndes' 2004 state championship run, either. As a player with the Vikings in the early '90s, Godfrey never made the playoffs, but enjoyed following Lowndes as it won the school's third state title.
"I snuck into town to watch a couple of games," Godfrey said. "I was very impressed. Coach (Randy) McPherson and his staff did a good job."