It's the end of an era in Baltimore. When the top-seeded Ravens were upset in the playoffs by the surging Tennessee Titans in January, speculation surrounding the future of offensive lineman Marshal Yanda began immediately. The 35-year-old was uncertain at the time if he'd continue to lace up his cleats in 2020, or if he'd decide to simply call it a career. Yanda didn't want to make a decision in the moment -- given the emotion of it all -- and instead decided to mull over it to make sure whatever he decided was what he truly wanted to do.
To that end, he's now made his choice, the team announced, opting to hang up his helmet for good and walk away from football. Though not entirely surprising, Yanda's exit will create a sizable void in front of league MVP Lamar Jackson the Ravens will not easily fill.
One of only three guards to land eight Pro Bowls and also win a Super Bowl, and is largely regarded in Baltimore as the best offensive lineman in Ravens history not named Jonathan Ogden. A former third-round pick of the Ravens in 2007, Yanda has never played a single snap for any other club, and also has seven All-Pro nods -- two First-Team and five Second-Team -- on his illustrious NFL resume. He fired out of the gates in Year 1 and never looked back, being named to the PFWA All-Rookie Team in 2007 before going on to prove the early honor was far from a fluke.
For the better part of his career, Yanda was also the beacon of availability, and returned from a broken ankle suffered in 2017 to play in all but one of his last 32 regular season games. He participated in 177 out of a possible 208 in his 13-year career, and 25 of those 31 misses were accounted for in 2008 and the aforementioned injury in 2017. Over the remaining 11 seasons, he missed just six games total, and consistently played at a level that kept in the conversation as one of the league's best.
His retirement will clear roughly $7 million in cap space for the Ravens, but they would've happily paid it to keep him around, instead of now having to replace a probable future Hall of Famer in free agency or the NFL draft.