Arian Foster, a four-time Pro Bowler who was among the NFL’s top running backs in 2014, became the latest player to leave the sport of football due to injuries, abruptly announcing his retirement late Monday after playing in only four games this season.

Dolphins’ Arian Foster Announces Immediate NFL Retirement After Several Injuries

In a statement released on Monday by the website Uninterrupted, Foster, 30, who joined the Miami Dolphins this season, said he was retiring immediately.

“There comes a time in every athlete’s career when their ambition and their body are no longer on the same page,” Foster —  who started for the Dolphins in Week 1— said in the statement. “I’ve reached that point.”

Foster was worn out by a long line of soft-tissue injuries early in the Week 2 loss to the New England Patriots. He will end his short-lived Miami career with 55 rushing yards on 22 attempts.

Foster, an undrafted rookie signed by the Houston Texans in 2009, became the league’s top rusher in the 2010 season with 1,616 yards. He was released by the Texans in March, having missed 12 games last season due to injuries. He joined the Dolphins on a one-year contract but played in only four games this season because of injuries.

 “This game has been everything to me … my therapy, my joy, my solace and my enemy,” Foster wrote via Uninterrupted.com. “I’ve learned to love every facet of this game, from the peak of accomplishment to the gutter of criticism. And it all makes the ride worthwhile. I’ve been fortunate enough to play many successful years in this league. I’ve given a lot to this game and given up a lot for it. But it has returned to me more than I could have ever asked for.

“Faceless gladiators have been shuffled in and out of this arena for decades and I’m proud to have taken part in that legacy. My father always said, ‘You’ll know when it’s time to walk away.’ It has never been more clear than right now. I’m walking away with peace. I know it’s not commonplace to do it midseason, but my body just can’t take the punishment this game asks for any longer. … Every athlete would love to go out as a Super Bowl MVP, riding off into the sunset with the crowd cheering their name. Unfortunately, life has other plans and they’re usually opposite the imagination. But that imagination got me this far and I could not be prouder of the things my teammates and I accomplished in this game.”

Foster then thanked the Dolphins organization for allowing him to “bow out with grace.”

The rusher referred to football as a “beautifully violent game,” that left him with a “bittersweet taste.”

NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported that Foster is retiring now because the eight-year veteran’s heart couldn’t handle another rehab, even for a minor injury.

 During the off-season, Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson announced his retirement at age 30 after nine great seasons in the NFL. In September, 26-year-old San Francisco 49ers offensive lineman Anthony Davis retired for a second time, having sustained multiple concussions. That announcement came merely 15 months after Davis retired for the first time.

Davis attempted a comeback this year, but another concussion convinced him to leave the game for good.

NFL players have recently been retiring at younger ages as they ponder the long-term consequences of playing while injured. According to Business Insider, 19 players retired from the NFL at age 30 or younger in 2015. Only five such players did so in 2011.

Jake Locker, Marshawn Lynch, Jerod Mayo, Patrick Willis and Jason Worilds are among those who have recently retired while in their prime.

 In 2015, linebacker Chris Borland retired after just one season with the 49ers because, although he was not injured, he was afraid of the potential trauma to his brain from repeated blows to the head.

SEATTLE, WA – SEPTEMBER 11: Running back Arian Foster #29 of the Miami Dolphins rushes against the Seattle Seahawks in the first quarter at CenturyLink Field on September 11, 2016 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

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