BY DENNIS WASZAK Jr.
NEW YORK (AP) — Nick Mangold has made his final snap after 11 years of consistency, toughness and NFL-wide respect as one of the game’s best centers.
The former New York Jets star — with his signature blond, bushy Viking-like beard — announced his retirement in a post on Twitter on Tuesday morning . He was selected to seven Pro Bowls and was twice a first-team All-Pro.
“I DECLARE RETIREMENNNTTTTTTT!” Mangold wrote fittingly at 7:40 a.m. — he wore jersey No. 74. He says he will be signing a one-day deal with the team so he can retire a Jet. “Thank you to all! J! E! T! S! Jets! Jets! Jets!”
The Jets announced they will hold a news conference April 24 at their facility to honor Mangold.
The 34-year-old Mangold did not play last season after being released by New York in February 2017. He played in only eight games in 2016 because of ankle and foot injuries that landed him on the injured reserve list for the final month.
Mangold was a first-round draft pick out of Ohio State in 2006 and immediately became a starter for New York. He was one of the most popular Jets players among teammates and fans.
“In my 11 years as a Jet, there were plenty of ups and downs, but, through it all, I wanted to be the Steady Eddie,” Mangold wrote. “I wanted to be the guy that other guys looked at to see how it was done. I learned this attribute from the vets that I played with.”
Mangold seamlessly stepped into big shoes as a rookie, replacing perennial Pro Bowl pick Kevin Mawae, who carved out a Hall of Fame-caliber career of his own. Mangold stepped in and started every game during his first five seasons, and missed just two games over his first eight years.
He often played through injuries, showing an uncanny knack for routinely shaking off nicks, bruises and more serious ailments to get back on the field.
Mangold made his first Pro Bowl in 2008, and finished with the second-most all-star honors in franchise history. Only offensive tackle Winston Hill with eight AFL/NFL selections has more. Mangold also was selected an AP first-team All-Pro during the 2009 and 2010 seasons.
“My biggest regret is not bringing the Lombardi Trophy to New York but, as I retire, I will continue my efforts to bring the Trophy home in a different capacity,” Mangold wrote. “I have no idea what that capacity is, but I’m sure I will figure something out in the future.”
Mangold’s wry sense of humor made him popular among the media, and he was often a go-to presence in the locker room as a team leader.
Last offseason, Mangold was released by the Jets as the team renovated its roster by cutting ties with several high-priced big-name players. Mangold said on social media at the time that he was surprised by the decision, receiving the news while he was at Disney World with his family.
He continued to rehabilitate his foot and ankle through last season and kept his options open. But Mangold didn’t latch on with another team and decided Tuesday to call it a career.
Mangold thanked his family, friends and fans as well as the Jets organization. He talked of how his love for football grew from his youth league days in Ohio and the “amazing ride” he has had thanks to the sport.
“If you made it this far, thanks for reading my ramblings,” Mangold closed his statement. “And I can’t wait to see what this new chapter brings.”
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