Alex Mack’s retirement was no big surprise.
The 49ers kept his situation relatively dark despite knowing which way Mac was leaning. Mac has spent 13 seasons in the NFL and is 36 years old. Seeing as there was no answer yet about his future and seeing how he was traveling, it became clear that he was hanging up his cleats.
What is not clear is his specific reasons for calling it a profession. Mac revealed these reasons to Albert Brier of the MMQB.
“But everyone loses, except for one team. The numbers are stacked against you. And that’s heavier in the equation. If we had won the Super Bowl, I think I would have been really quick to retire. Was, does my body have another year to give again? And I’ve landed, no, it’s time.” It’s time, it’s time to leave.”
Valid and expected point type. You always have to be interested in how a player’s body is holding up at his age with so many years of playing already. Until coming out of the Pro Bowl (alternate) season, he didn’t prove to Mac that he had to keep going. So why did Mac take so long to reveal his retirement? The pain of losing an NFC Championship match.
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It hurts. It hurts, that’s for sure. It’s very difficult to win the Super Bowl, and I’m close twice now and it’s been 13 years. It’s a huge task that requires talent, luck and timing, it’s just one of those very difficult things. And every year for 13 years. I did everything I could to be the best player possible, and I came close twice.”
Mac is totally valid in taking the time to recover from the pain of that game. Even Debo Samuel was visibly upset after this loss. I was shocked, and when you’re a consistent player like Mack who rarely gets the chance to go that far, you totally feel it. He would surely have enjoyed riding until sunset and living the end of a fantasy football story. It didn’t work out that way.
The 49ers will certainly feel Mac’s loss because the center position is now vacant without any real suitable replacements. This was why the Niners didn’t mind Mack taking his time because they knew they needed him again.
But Mac is done.
He will be leaving the football game on his own having come a long way in the playoffs while playing at a solid level in his final season.