When the Colts open up preseason play next week, they're going to be missing a familiar face in the huddle. 

Offensive lineman Jack Mewhort unexpectedly announced his retirement on Wednesday after playing just four seasons in the NFL

"I would like to thank the Irsay family and the entire Colts organization for giving me the opportunity to live a childhood dream," Mewhort said in a statement through the team. "The fans and the city of Indianapolis have treated me like one of their own, and I am forever grateful. Wearing the Horseshoe was one of the biggest honors I have ever known, and I will always bleed blue."

The 26-year-old entered the league in 2014 after the Colts made him a second-round pick in the NFL Draft. Mewhort made his mark on the team almost right away, starting a total of 14 games during his rookie year. Over the past four seasons, Mewhort started in a total of 45 games at multiple positions, including right guard, left guard and right tackle. 

Of course, Mewhort would have played in more games, but he missed a total of 19 games over the past four years due to injuries. In the past two seasons alone, Mewhort missed a total of 16 games while battling a constant knee issue.

"He fought through injuries and played through pain," Colts general manager Chris Ballard said. "Jack is a selfless player who always carried a team-first mentality. He is revered among his coaches, teammates and staff and his leadership will be missed in the locker room. We're appreciative of Jack's dedication to the Colts and we wish him the best moving forward."

The retirement comes as a total surprise and that's because Mewhort sounded like he was definitely going to play this year. Back in June, Mewhort said he thought he would be able to play at a "high level" this year.

"I do believe that I'm going to be able to be out there and be playing at a high level," Mewhort said, via the team's official website. "I'm getting stronger every day. I'm feeling better every day. I've been moving around on the field, and I'm feeling good. At this point in my career, obviously I'm dinged up, and like you guys said, I've had to deal with some stuff. But for all that being said, I feel pretty darn good, and like I said, having the Colts show faith like this is making me feel even better."

Mewhort had just signed a one-year deal with the Colts in March. 

Although the Colts are losing Mewhort, they did add some depth on the offensive line this year that should help the team manage his loss. Back in March, the Colts signed veteran lineman Matt Slauson. One month later, the Colts added even more depth by selecting offensive guards in each of the first two rounds of the draft with Quenton Nelson getting selected in the first round and Braden Smith being taken in the second.