The last four months have been a whirlwind for the Bucs, with each big offseason development topping the previous one. That’s why it might feel like the news of Ali Marpet retiring from football was quickly buried in the news cycle.

In any other offseason, Marpet’s retirement may have stolen the show. He was finally selected to a Pro Bowl in 2021 — an honor that was long overdue — and then decided to hang up his cleats at the age of 28.

But with Tom Brady unretiring just two weeks later and Tampa Bay going through a coaching transition two weeks after that, the Marpet news largely got overshadowed. Of course, the impact of his decision still remains. The battle for the left guard spot he vacated is currently wide open.

Marpet opened up about his sudden retirement in a recent interview with Melissa Jacobs of The Guardian. He spoke at length about what went into his decision, as well as what’s next for him.

Health The Biggest Factor In Marpet’s Retirement

Marpet came into the league in 2015 as a second-round pick out of Division III Hobart College. Not long after breaking into the NFL, he became one of the Bucs’ top offensive linemen. He was a beacon of consistency, even amid position changes. Whether it was at guard or center, Marpet played at a Pro Bowl and All-Pro level.

So, why did he walk away from the game in the middle of what seemed to be his prime years? When he retired in February, health was cited as the main reason. He discussed it in further detail with The Guardian.

“The biggest reason for me was the physical toll. I didn’t want any more of that. There were some things I wanted to accomplish in my career that I had done,” Marpet said in the interview. “I loved playing football. But one of my strongest values is health and if I’m really going to live out what’s important to me, it doesn’t make sense to keep playing.

“There are also the unknowns of the head trauma of the NFL and how that plays out. Plus, your joints, the aches and pains that come with surgeries and all that stuff.”

Bucs LG Ali Marpet

Bucs LG Ali Marpet – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

As an offensive linemen, Marpet was obviously right in the thick of the extreme physicality that comes with playing football. And he said playing at 300 pounds also had an impact on his health.

“I was eating as clean as possible for a 300-pounder, but having all the weight on your body is bad,” he said.

Marpet isn’t the first player in recent years to retire at a young age. Andrew Luck, Luke Kuechly and Patrick Willis are among some of the other top players who cited health in their seemingly premature retirements. Even Marpet’s former teammate, Rob Gronkowski, retired for a year due to health reasons before returning to play in 2020.

Marpet Focusing On Mental Health In Next Chapter After Football

So, when you retire just before your 29th birthday, what’s next? For Marpet, post-football life means focusing on and maintaining his health — both physically and mentally. The Super Bowl LV champion is no stranger to speaking publicly about mental health, doing so in the NFL’s Mental Health & Wellness Series just last year.

“If there’s one takeaway from Covid for me, it’s that people are willing to share their own stories and mental health is starting to see its day a little bit,” he said in his interview with The Guardian. “That feels really good and mental health is definitely something we should prioritize.”

But it’s not just his own mental health that he’ll be focusing on. He is preparing to work on a master’s degree in mental health counseling or marriage and family therapy.

“I’m not entirely sure yet what my actual role will be, but I want to work with people in a one-on-one setting,” he said. “I’m very eager and excited to build my skills and figure out where they can best aligned.”

You can read Melissa Jacobs’ full feature on Ali Marpet here. He talks about a variety of other topics, including the importance of playing multiple sports growing up, what his draft night was like in 2015, social justice work in the NFL and meeting Tom Brady for the first time.

Share On Socials

About the Author: Bailey Adams

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
29 days ago

Wish him the best.

29 days ago

Read the whole article in the Guardian. Still sorry to lose Ali, but good for him and good luck.

29 days ago

Nice to see a Player realize in life what is important, which is your health if you want to live past the average NFL life age. He’s a conservative guy so he has enough funds to live comfortably for the rest of his life; in other words, he has taken control of his choices in life. I wish you the best Ali.

29 days ago

Got mad respect for Ali. He wisely calculated his fortunes and how much it was going to take to retire comfortably. He didn’t buy the cars, jewelries and trappings most players take. He’s not in debt nor frequents the.. Infamous Tampa Bay Gentlemens Clubs wastin cash. S0 he does not have to force himself to continue to play like many. He got out on top sayin to hell with allegiance. My overall well being and health matters. Gotta have mega respect for a man like this.