EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. - He never won a Super Bowl ring, but longtime Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway says he was able to achieve his final goal, which was retiring on his own terms.

"I started from nowhere, and was able to achieve the highest standard of our profession," Greenway told reporters at his official retirement announcement Tuesday after an 11-year career with the Vikings.

Greenway described growing up in tiny Mount Vernon, South Dakota town as a kid with big dreams, who was encouraged by his father. He recalled a conversation he had with his dad as a 6-year-old while holding a cattle gate on the family farm. Chad told his father he wanted to be a professional football player. "it's gonna take a lot of hard work, but it's possible," Greenway recalls his father telling him, and that set the stage for his journey to the NFL. He called it a moment he will never forget, and called his dad "his hero."

Hard work was the central theme of Greenway's message, that dreams don't happen without the hard work that comes along with it. He thanked the University of Iowa and coach Kirk Ferenz for taking a chance on a small town quarterback and being the only program that offered him a scholarship. They taught him to be safety, then a linebacker who was drafted by the team he loved.

"I never took a day off, i never took the easy way out," he insisted."