Glover Quin has been such a rock of stability and consistency in his five seasons at free safety in the Detroit Lions' defense that the possibility that any cracks might be showing – perceived or otherwise – can be cause for speculation.
A pause before answering a question about his future with the Lions prompted an exchange Tuesday about whether Quin was considering retiring.
It was an unusual moment in what has been an unusual offseason for Quin in a departure from his own immaculate standards for preparing to be at his best.
For the first time, Quin did not report for the start of the offseason workout program. He had been home with his family in Houston, working out on his own until reporting Monday for this week's mandatory three-day minicamp.
Quin has had a good relationship with the media covering the Lions, and the weekly sessions that he does during the season in front of his locker seem more like conversations than hard-core interviews. Tuesday's interview was in that vein.
Tuesday's practice his first with the team. There have been reports that Quin has been taking care of family matters.
Asked why he hadn't reported, Quin replied: "I had some stuff I needed to take care of."
Did he want to be specific?
View photos from Day 1 of Detroit Lions minicamp practice.
"Nah. Just had some stuff I had to take care of."
Was he considering retiring?
Quin laughed, and after a fairly long pause replied with a emphatic "No."
Why the pause?
"Because I was not considering retirement," he said. "I think every player, once you get to a certain age, you look in the mirror and ask yourself, 'Can you continue to play at that high of a level?'
"But thinking about retiring was not on my mind. It was just trying to figure out how much I had left. If I didn't think I had a lot left, I wouldn't be here."
The secondary has developed a level of camaraderie that has made it a tight-knit group, despite the disparity in ages and backgrounds. Quin is the veteran in the group in terms of age (32) and service time (preparing for his 10th pro season).
He is respected throughout the team, and by the organization as a whole for his professionalism. It would be difficult to fill the hole created by his absence.
Quin showed no decline in ability or production last year. He started all 16 games for the eighth straight year, and he stretched his streak of consecutive regular-season starts to 132.
He had three interceptions, four forced fumbles, a fumble recovery and a touchdown return on one of his interceptions.
While home in Houston, where he began his career with the Texans in 2009, Quin refrained from contacting teammates regularly, saying he did not want to be a distraction.
He doesn't anticipate any problem picking up a new defensive system.
"I was trying to be the least distraction possible," he said. "I wasn't bothering the guys. I've been around long enough. I've learned new defenses four times in my career. I've had four head coaches. I understand what it's like.
"I understand the business. I wasn't stressing myself out about what was going on."
Quin and his wife, Gladys, have three sons. Family concerns, not retirement, were on his mind.
"The only thing I was contemplating was, 'How do I spend more time with my family?'" he said. "That was really it. It was like, disconnect – giving them everything I've got. Let's figure out how I can spend more time with them."
Quin is convinced that he'll know when it's time to retire. He won't have to pause and think about reconsidering.
"I've lived my life and done things to where when I feel like it's time for me to walk away, I can have no regrets," he said. "I'm not going to be a guy who's coming back three or four times because I miss it. I feel like I've given the game everything I have when I played.
"When it's time for me to walk away, I will peacefully and gracefully bow out and let the young guys have it."