Top Call of Duty Player Stepping Away from the Game

Optic Gaming's "Nadeshot" taking a leave of absence; no word yet on his replacement.

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Matthew Haag, better known in the gaming world as top Call of Duty competitive player "Nadeshot," is stepping away from the game and taking on more of a backseat role at his squad, Optic Gaming.

"Basically, I am going to be taking a break from competitive Call of Duty. A leave of absence, if you will," he explains in the video posted above.

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Haag's announcement comes in the wake of Optic Gaming's disappointing finish in the recent Call of Duty Championship. The team took seventh place out of eight teams at the event, going home with $35,000 of a $1 million prize pool.

He stresses, however, that he's not retiring from competitive Call of Duty entirely. Haag will still play events here and there, and hopes to get back in the mix for this year's new Call of Duty game from Treyarch.

But in the short-term, he says he hopes to "pursue other things that I'm passionate about," including spending more time creating YouTube videos for games like Minecraft and H1Z1.

"I'm very confident that I will be revisiting my competitive roots and continue to compete in the next Call of Duty title and maybe towards the end of Advanced Warfare," Haag said. "I just need some time to step back and pursue other things that I'm passionate about."

Haag explained that, even though Optic had won three out of the last five tournaments it competed in, he felt he was "holding my team back." Since Haag is a co-owner of Optic, his decision to step down as a regular player on the main squad was something of a managerial move.

Going forward, Optic will seek out another, potentially more skilled and driven player, for Haag's replacement. "My passion just wasn't high enough to continue to compete at this level," he said.

Optic has not announced Haag's replacement yet.

"If you guys asked me two months ago if I was going to be making a video like this, I would have told you you were absolutely crazy," Haag said. "But things change, people change, situations change."

Haag was named Optic's captain last year, and at the Video Game Awards in December, was named the eSports player of the year. According to a 2014 New York Times story about him, Haag earns about $1 million per year through winnings and endorsements.

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