Three years after becoming the highest-paid center in NFL history, Weston Richburg has announced his retirement from the NFL. The former Sand Francisco 49ers star had an injury-plagued career and missed the entire 2020 season due to a shoulder injury that he just couldn’t shake off and a torn tendon that he had trouble recovering from. Richburg will turn 30 in July.
Part of the Best Franchise in the World
Richburg said that he considered himself as blessed to have played in the NFL and that he was very grateful for the experiences he had over the past seven years.
He cited injuries as the main reason for his early retirement and said that he reached a point where his body could no longer allow him to compete at the highest level.
However, in his retirement statement, Richburg said that he had few regrets and that he was happy that he was able to play some good football and finish his career with the “best franchise in the world.”
He added that everyone in the San Francisco 49ers organization is a top professional and that he would never forget sharing the NFC Championship and Super Bowl run with those people.
Highest-Paid Center in the NFL
Richburg’s last game in his career was against the New Orleans Saints in Week 14. During his time with the San Francisco 49ers, Weston Richburg started 28 games.
He also played for four years for the New York Giants after they picked him as a second-round 2014 NFL draft pick. In 2018, Richburg signed a $47.5 million deal with the 49ers that made him the highest-paid center in NFL history.
The 49ers had to rework the lucrative five-year deal in 2019 so that they could save some salary-cap space. Under that rearranged deal, Richburg was scheduled to get $11.5 million in 2021.
However, because Richburg retired after June 1, the 49ers can now spread out the extra $7 million evenly over the cap this year and the next. That means they will save a little over $1 million in cap space.
John Lynch, 49ers General Manager, said in a statement that Weston Richburg was a player that improved not just San Francisco’s offense but their entire team. He said that the center “led by example” and that he had a “detailed approach” to the game that made him one of the best players in his position, and one that “will be missed both on the field and in the locker room”.
The 49ers acted quickly to cover the center position and signed free agent Alex Mack as soon as they knew about Richburg’s retirement decision.