Jacksonville Jaguars C Brandon Linder retires after 8 seasons

The Jacksonville Jaguars lost a longtime franchise backbone on Monday, with eight-year-old center Brandon Linder officially announcing his retirement a month before the 2022 NFL Draft.

“After careful consideration, I realized that the man I currently aspire to be no longer aligns with the person I need to become to play this game. That’s when I decided to close this chapter of my life and retire from the NFL,” Linder said in an Instagram post announcing his retirement.

Linder’s retirement was expected last week as the Jaguars and Linder each considered the future of the longtime center. With Linder in the final year of his contract, there was speculation the Jaguars could release him to save nearly $10 million while taking the zero-death cap.

“Brandon and I actually just had a great conversation. We’re working on it right now,” general manager Trent Baalke said March 16. “No decision has been made regarding Brandon at this time. You know, we’re ‘moving forward.’

Drafted in the third round (No. 93 overall) in the 2014 NFL Draft, Linder started 15 games as a rookie and quickly established himself as a key part of rebuilding the Jaguars offensive line. Linder has started 88 games in his career, including three playoff games.

With his vote as captain last year, Linder took a historic step and became the first-ever Gold Star captain in Jaguars franchise history. Players receive gold captain’s patches when they’ve been captains for more than four seasons, and 2021 marked Linder’s fifth season as captain.

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The Jaguars made a key re-signing at center to provide them with insurance in any case they didn’t have Linder, re-signing longtime backup center Tyler Shatley. Now the Jaguars will have to move forward with Shatley and without Linder in the middle of their attack.

Linder’s full retirement note can be read below:

“To the city of Jacksonville,

Eight years ago, you welcomed me as a member of the family and you continued to support me unconditionally. I learned to love this city, where I put down roots with my family, where I made lifelong friends and where I cultivated my passion for the outdoors. After careful consideration, I realized that the man I currently aspire to be no longer aligns with the person I need to become to play this game. That’s when I decided to close this chapter of my life and retire from the NFL.

I started playing football at the age of seven and always played with all my heart to have the opportunity to win. I have spent most of my life sacrificing my body, my mind and my time to achieve my dreams. I am beyond grateful for the opportunities that have come my way and all the doors that have been opened through football. I learned valuable life lessons and had many unforgettable experiences that I will cherish forever. I am grateful to my teammates, coaches, family and friends for helping me grow in the sport and helping me become a master at my craft.

To my teammates, I want to thank you for completely sacrificing yourselves to the sport. The experiences we have had together are why the fellowship we have created is so special. I will miss it the most.

I am grateful to be able to achieve my goal of retiring a Jaguar for life. Jacksonville will remain my home. I’m excited to pursue new dreams and look forward to all the great things to come in the future.”

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