Chris Houston retiring amid battle for Panthers' cornerback role

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Cornerback Chris Houston's return to the NFL lasted 51 days.

Houston told the Carolina Panthers on Tuesday he was retiring. The team offered no explanation for his decision.

Houston, 30, is the second Carolina player to retire in a week. Offensive tackle Jonathan Martin informed the team last week he had given up football.

A second-round pick by the Atlanta Falcons in 2007, Houston had 91 career starts with Atlanta and Detroit. He led the NFL in interception return yards with 225 on five picks for the Lions.

Houston sat out the 2014 season after undergoing toe surgery. He recently became a father and decided to give football another try, signing with Carolina just before the end of offseason workouts in June.

He was fighting for a backup job with the Panthers, whose starting corners appear set with Charles Tillman and Josh Norman. Second-year player Bene' Benwikere is in the mix for the spot opposite Norman.

Houston was involved in arguably the most exciting play of Carolina's training camp thus far at Wofford College in Spartanburg, South Carolina.

He was covering wide receiver Ted Ginn Jr. on a deep pass from Cam Newton on Saturday that resulted in a touchdown but also sent both leaping over a 4-foot picket fence in the back of the end zone. Houston sat out of practice the next day.