Photograph: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
Ali Marpet, who helped protect Tom Brady during Tampa’s Super Bowl title in the 2020 season, has announced his retirement at the age of 28.
The left guard, who is in the prime years of his career and was named to the Pro Bowl last season, confirmed the surprise decision on Instagram on Sunday. ESPN reported the decision was down to health concerns.
“After seven formidable years with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, I’ve come to the decision to retire from the game that has given me so much,” Marpet wrote in his post. “This organization and the people surrounding it have helped not only fulfill a dream, but also helped build me into the person I am today. I’ve made Tampa Bay my home and I look forward to serving this community in the coming years. To the coaches and teammates, family and friends, an Instagram post simply can’t express the profound impact you’ve had on me. I’m eternally grateful. Thank you Tampa Bay.”
Related: The star from Division III: Ali Marpet leads NFL Draft’s legion of invisible men
Marpet was due to make $20m in the final two seasons of his current contract. He has career earnings of $37m.
Marpet took an unconventional path to the NFL. The son of a fashion videographer and a former rock star, he played for tiny Hobart College before becoming the highest-drafted player ever out of a Division III program when Tampa selected him with the 61st overall pick in 2015. However, he flourished in the NFL and according to ESPN Stats & Information he had the ninth-best pass-block win rate among NFL guards from 2018 to 2021.
“I think he accomplished his goals, values his health, is looking for more challenges. Ali has a very strong inner voice, and he is courageous enough to follow it. I’m in awe,” Marpet’s father, Bill, told ESPN on Sunday.
Brady also paid tribute to Marpet, leaving a comment below his Instagram post. “Congratulations, @AliMarpet you are a warrior,” Brady posted. “It was an…