Jerod Mayo’s Patriots Teammates Shower Him with Love

Mayo has decided to retire from the NFL at 29 years old.

Jerod Mayo

Photo via AP

Jerod Mayo’s NFL career didn’t end in a blaze of glory. The 2008 No. 10 overall pick spent the conclusion of the last three seasons on injured reserve, tearing his pecs twice and patellar tendon once. But that doesn’t mean his presence on the Patriots won’t be missed next season.

Mayo announced in an Instagram post Monday night he is retiring as a Patriot. The 29-year-old linebacker thanked the fans for supporting him over the last eight years and also referred to owner Robert Kraft as “Thundercat.” (Can we make this nickname a thing now?)

RETIRING A PATRIOT.

A photo posted by Jerod Mayo (@jerod_mayo51) on

Mayo wasn’t expected to return to the Patriots next season, given his $11.4 million salary cap hit. Now that he’s decided to retire, the Pats will save $7 million on the cap in 2016, which may help them lock up Chandler Jones, Dont’a Hightower, and Jamie Collins to contract extensions this offseason. All three players are slated to be free agents at the end of the year.

Despite his nagging injuries, Mayo probably could’ve continued his NFL career if he wanted to. The two-time Pro Bowler was a bruising force at middle linebacker in his prime, recording a career-high 114 tackles in 2010.

But rather than go through the rigors of a training camp tryout, Mayo has decided to hang it up. His decision isn’t completely analogous to former San Francisco 49ers linebacker Chris Borland, who retired last year after his rookie season, but it’s a reminder that an increasing number of football players are now opting to quit a couple of years too early rather than a couple of years too late. Marshawn Lynch, of “why didn’t they give the ball to Marshawn Lynch” Super Bowl fame, also decided to retire at 29.

It’s fitting that Mayo’s retirement could pave the way for the Patriots to sign their next defensive nucleus long-term, considering he bridged the gap from the Tedy Bruschi-led linebacking core to the younger group that’s on the field today—most notably Jones and Hightower. Though Mayo’s impact as a player may have waned in recent years, it’s clear his leadership was valued in the locker room.

Mayo may feel he has nothing left to prove in the NFL, or that he didn’t want to keep playing if it wasn’t going to be as a Patriot. His teammates’ outpouring of support indicates he certainly left his mark. See below for a few accolades from fellow Pats.

Over the years I had a chance to play with some great ball players but no better person than my brother mayo. We spent a lot of time on and off the field and we became family. From his wife Chani and his three kids, chya, pop, and chyanne nothing but first class family. I had the luxury to become family and till this day enjoy our friendship we built over the years. There's no price tag u can put on what we have. The struggles on field the meetings the film study the dinners the Bbq the crab boils Chani oxtails and chicken the good times and the bad times. Rehabbing together, working out together, You name it we done it and we will continue to do it cuz we are family. That's something no one can take from us. No matter how far we are apart we only a phone call away. The game only last for so long and it's time to move on and I understand that. Enjoy your life with ur family. Football is just a stepping stone for what we wanna be in life, now it's time to enjoy life brotha. Thanks for the memories we have up to this point, because I know there is a lot more to make. and since you will have time, come to Houston so I can finally teach you how to Bbq lmao. I love u bro. Much love and respect to what u have accomplished so far but I kno it's plenty more things in life you will excel in and I can't wait to see and hear all about them. One love FOE ( family over everything )

A photo posted by VINCE WILFORK (@vincewilfork) on