Lacrosse legend Paul Rabil, a Montgomery County native who starred at DeMatha and led Johns Hopkins to a pair of national titles, retired Tuesday after a decorated 14-year professional career in which he became outdoor lacrosse’s all-time leading scorer. The 35-year-old midfielder will continue his executive role with the Premier Lacrosse League, which he co-founded with his brother, Mike, three years ago.

“It comes with unending gratitude and the heaviest of hearts that I will be retiring from professional lacrosse,” an emotional Rabil said at Audi Field, where the PLL will host its championship game Sunday. Rabil’s Cannons Lacrosse Club was eliminated in the quarterfinals of the PLL playoffs last month.

Rabil, The Washington Post’s 2004 All-Met Player of the Year, was the No. 1 pick of Major League Lacrosse’s Boston Cannons in 2008 after leading Johns Hopkins to its second title in three years in 2007. That same year, he was the No. 2 pick of the National Lacrosse League’s San Jose Stealth. Thanks to his massive social media following and endorsement deals with companies such as Red Bull, New Balance and Under Armour, Rabil would become the rare professional lacrosse player who made a full living playing the sport. It was a luxury he wanted more of his peers to experience.

A decade into his career and frustrated with MLL’s wages and declining attendance, Rabil and his brother set out to create a new player-centric organization. The Premier Lacrosse League launched in 2019 with modified rules and a barnstorming format. In December, it merged with MLL.

Rabil considered retiring as a player to focus on his front-office responsibilities with the league from its start, but instead he spent the PLL’s first two seasons with the Atlas Lacrosse Club. After a difficult and abbreviated 2020 campaign amid the coronavirus pandemic, he decided this year would be his last.

Feeling rejuvenated after being traded to the Cannons in March and playing for Coach Sean Quirk, Rabil registered 26 points in nine games and passed John Grant Jr. as outdoor lacrosse’s all-time leading scorer with his 644th career point July 3.

Rabil thanked the family members, coaches, teammates and trainers who helped him rebound from the lowest point in his career, when he fractured his foot in an MLL game in 2014, one week after he and the U.S. national team suffered a surprising loss to Canada in the World Lacrosse Championship.

There were far more highs than lows for Rabil over the past two decades, including 10 All-Star Game appearances with MLL’s New York Lizards and Boston Cannons and a couple of MVP awards. Rabil, who was inducted to the D.C. Sports Hall of Fame during a pregame ceremony at Nationals Park this month, said the camaraderie — specifically the huddles before, during and after games — is what he’ll miss most about playing.

Rabil will now dedicate even more of his time to growing the PLL, which has a media rights deal with NBC Sports, and the sport he discovered as a 12-year-old. Through a new initiative, “Goals for Greatness,” Rabil is committed to increasing the number of lacrosse goals in every state beginning in 2022.

“The future has never been brighter for lacrosse,” he said.

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