TAMPA, Fla. (AP) – Pro Bowl offensive lineman Ali Marpet surprised the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday and announced his retirement from the NFL at the age of 28.
Marpet was a second-round pick from tiny Hobart College in 2015 and became a starter at right guard as a rookie. The following season, he moved to center and later settled at left guard, where he helped the Bucs win the Super Bowl in 2020 and was selected to the Pro Bowl for the first time in 2021.
Marpet announced the decision on Instagram. He did not give a reason for the surprising step.
“After seven amazing years with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, I have made the decision to retire from the game that has given me so much. This organization and the people around it have helped make me the person I am today,” Marpet wrote.
“To the coaches and teammates, family and friends, an Instagram post just can’t express the profound impact you’ve had on me,” Marpet added. “I am infinitely grateful. Thank you Tampa Bay.”
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The move comes just weeks after quarterback Tom Brady announced his retirement after 22 seasons. It also means the Bucs may need to replace three offensive lineman this winter, with Pro Bowl center Ryan Jensen and right guard Alex Cappa slated to become free agents in March.
“I want to thank Ali for everything he has done as a valued member of the Buccaneers organization over the past seven seasons. He has played a key role in our success both on and off the field and we will certainly enjoy his leadership and professionalism,” Bucs general manager Jason Licht said in a statement released on Twitter.
“As the tallest Division III player ever drafted, Ali always seemed destined for greatness at the NFL level,” added Licht, “and we simply could not have achieved the success of the past two seasons without him.”
Coach Bruce Arians described Marpet as a “consummate pro” and “a rock for us on the inside of our offensive line.”
“It’s never easy to say goodbye to a player who has contributed so much to our success,” Arians added, “but I support and respect his decision and wish him a great life after football.”
Marpet had two seasons left on a five-year, $54.125 million contract he signed in October 2018. He was expected to earn a base salary of $10 million next season.
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