After watching four referees retire in 2018, the NFL is once again being hit hard by the retirement bug.
In an announcement that definitely wasn't an April Fool's joke, the NFL revealed on Monday that referee John Parry has decided to call it quits. The announcement came from the NFL's senior vice president of officiating, Al Riveron.
"Referee John Parry has announced his retirement after 19 seasons and three Super Bowls," Riveron wrote on Twitter. "Thank you, John, for your dedication to the game. We wish you all the best!"
Parry, who started his career in the NFL as a side judge, served as a referee for 12 of his 19 years in the league. Parry's final game as a ref came in February when he was the referee for the Patriots 13-3 win over the Rams in Super Bowl LIII.
Although he's retired from officiating, Parry isn't going into retirement. Instead, he's already announced that he'll be taking a job as the rules analyst for ESPN.
"I will fully embrace this new position," Parry said. "We hope to leverage 20 years of NFL officiating experience to our talent and to our great fans. Bringing clarity to a complicated game will be both challenging and rewarding. ESPN is a perfect fit based on their dedication to educating and entertaining fans."
Parry will be seen on multiple shows and will also be seen in the booth each week on Monday Night Football.
With Parry now hanging up his whistle for good, that means the NFL has now lost seven referees to retirement over the past 13 months, which is notable because the NFL only had a total of 17 lead referees during the 2018 regular season. With Parry's retirement, the NFL will now have been forced to replace more than 40 percent of its referees since March 2018, which isn't an ideal situation, considering all the scrutiny that NFL officials have been under lately.
Parry is the, joining Walt Coleman and Pete Morelli. The NFL also saw the retirements of referees Gene Steratore, Ed Hochuli, Jeff Triplette and Terry McAulay before the start of the 2018 season. Steratore is now the rules analyst for CBS while McAulay is working for NBC.