JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Jaguars offensive lineman Branden Albert, who was acquired by the club in a trade with the Miami Dolphins on March 9 and was expected to start on offense abruptly announced his retirement Monday from the National Football League.
“After nine seasons playing in the National Football League, I have decided to retire from the game that has given me so much,” Albert said. “God has blessed me with so much through football that I thought would never be attainable. It’s been truly a blessing. I cherish all of the relationships and people I have encountered while playing in the NFL."
The Jaguars traded a seventh-round pick to the Dolphins for Albert this offseason, but he did not show up for off-season practices, as he was negotiating for a better contract. Albert did show up to the mandatory mini camp, avoiding NFL mandated fines.
"Branden came in today and said hey I'm going to retire," said Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone. My mind was on to the next thing."
Albert said he wished Marrone and his Jacksonville teammates the best of luck this season.
"During my short stint in Jacksonville, I quickly realized that they are working incredibly hard to turn the corner, and I truly believe that they will find success in the coming years," Albert said. "I look forward to returning to Miami, the place that I now call ‘home,’ and running my businesses, while giving back to the community. While this chapter of my life is coming to an end, my story is still going, and I hope you’ll follow along. I will be furthering and finishing my education."
Albert's departure leaves the Jaguars with Cam Robinson as the likely starter at left tackle. Patrick Omameh and Josh Wells can also play that position but are not considered starter-level players.
"Cam Robinson is in there now but we're not handing him the position, said Marrone. "He has to earn it."
Robinson was projected as a first-round draft pick, but slid to the Jaguars at the top of the second round. It proved a fortunate move, as the Jaguars would be in a tough position with Albert's retirement if Robinson wasn't on the roster.
Albert, 32, was a two-time Pro Bowl selection in 2013 and 2015. Albert started 118 of 120 career games after originally being selected by Kansas City with the 15th overall pick in the 2008 Draft. Albert started 83 of 85 games during his six seasons with the Chiefs. Following the 2013 season, during which Chiefs RB Jamaal Charles totaled 1,980 all-purpose yards, Albert was selected to his first Pro Bowl and, after entering free agency, signed a five-year contract with the Miami Dolphins on March 11, 2014.
After appearing in nine games in his first season with Miami, Albert was placed on injured reserve with a knee injury on Nov. 10, 2014. Albert returned to form in 2015, starting 14 games, and was named to his second Pro Bowl after the Dolphins combined to rush for 1,496 yards and 11 TDs.
Albert was the recipient of the Dolphins’ Ed Block Courage Award in 2015 after returning from knee injury and became just the fifth Dolphins OL to win the award, given annually to players in the NFL who are voted by their teammates as role models of inspiration, sportsmanship and courage. Albert was heavily involved in the Miami community and created “Albert’s Einstein’s,” a program where he donated tickets, food vouchers, T-shirts and parking for each home game to local charities.
Albert attended the University of Virginia and was a three-year starter for the Cavaliers, starting in all 37 career appearances. Following his junior season in 2007, Albert was named a first-team All-ACC performer and declared for the NFL Draft. He attended Glen Burnie (Md.) High School and played both DT and OT during his junior and senior seasons. Albert also starred on the school’s basketball team, averaging 15.5 points and 10.6 rebounds en route to All-Metro honors as a senior. Albert was born on Nov. 4, 1984 in Rochester, N.Y.