JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The Jaguars received a surprise announcement to start their second week of training camp.
Offensive tackle Branden Albert has elected to retire after nine seasons in the NFL. None of those seasons were spent with the Jaguars.
Albert's Jacksonville tenure featured just three minicamp workouts and three training camp practices. He skipped out on the entire voluntary portion of the offseason program due to a desire for a new contract.
He was acquired via trade from the Miami Dolphins in March. The Jaguars gave up a seventh-round pick in 2018 to acquire Albert. Due to the conditions of the trade, Miami will return the pick to Jacksonville.
Albert was the favorite for the starting left tackle job in a competition with second-round pick Cam Robinson. Albert was due $8.8 million this season. The retirement wipes that debt from the Jaguars' salary cap.
Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone told the media that Albert informed him of his decision on Monday morning. Marrone said he never got an inkling that Albert was thinking about retirement.
Albert released the following statement following the announcement:
“This is such a special league and it’s been an honor and a privilege to play this sport professionally for the past nine years. I wish Coach Marrone and my Jacksonville teammates the best of luck on their journey 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. 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. GOD BLESS AND GODSPEED.”
Albert was a first-round pick of the Kansas City Chiefs in 2008. He played in 120 games (118 starts) and made two Pro Bowls.
Robinson will now be the Jaguars' left tackle moving forward. Albert struggled mightily during Saturday's padded practice against defensive end Dante Fowler.
The Jaguars have been promoting Robinson as a left tackle throughout the offseason. He started 43 games at left tackle during his three seasons at Alabama.
Marrone said he would not anoint Robinson as the starter at left tackle. He listed veterans Josh Wells and Patrick Omameh as potential candidates for a new left tackle competition.
"I think at the end of the day, you understand that for all these rookies, they are going through a learning process," Marrone said. "Not just the playbook, but how to play and how to be out there on the field. I think that coming from the University of Alabama obviously helps. He played against elite players every day and practiced against them every day, but sometimes that is ingrained in those players’ heads and they don’t understand that when they come to this level, they’ve got to be faster and stronger than those guys, even though those guys have become good football players. It’s one of those things, he’s in there now, we’re playing with him, but again, I don’t want to hand a position to somebody."
Follow Mike Kaye on Twitter at @Mike_E_Kaye.