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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Ali Marpet Goes Out on Top

Guard Ali Marpet, a Super Bowl champion and a Pro Bower, has chosen to end his stellar career earlier than expected, informing the Buccaneers of his decision to retire on Sunday


Tampa Bay Buccaneers guard Ali Marpet ended his playing career abruptly on Sunday, informing the team of his decision to retire after seven NFL seasons. Though Marpet is still very much in his prime, he has also accomplished a great deal in his unique NFL career.

Buccaneers General Manager Jason Licht, who drafted Marpet out of Division III Hobart in the second round in 2015, released a statement thanking the Pro Bowl linemen for his contributions to the team and calling him critical to Tampa Bay's success in the last two seasons in particular.

"I want to thank Ali for all that he has done as a valued member of the Buccaneers organization over the past seven seasons," wrote Licht. "He has played a key role in our success both on and off the field and we will certainly miss his leadership and professionalism. It has been one of my greatest professional thrills to see his rapid ascension from a small college standout into one the NFL's best all around offensive linemen. As the highest Division III player ever drafted, Ali always seemed destined for greatness on the NFL level and we simply could not have attained the success of the past two seasons without him. Off the field, as a founding member of our social justice player advisory board, Ali provided the vision and passion that was crucial to that programs launch and ongoing work. We wish him the best and are confident he will enjoy similar success off the football field in whatever the future holds."

Marpet's retirement obviously came as a surprise, particularly after he finally received what had seemed like long-due Pro Bowl recognition this past season. Marpet was an anchor on perhaps the NFL's best offensive line in 2021 – the Buccaneers allowed the fewest sacks in the NFL and also ranked fifth in the league in run blocking according to Football Outsiders – but his retirement potentially could be followed by free agent departures from fellow starters Ryan Jensen and Alex Cappa. Those are issues for later consideration this offseason; for now, the Buccaneers are simply appreciative for what Marpet gave to the franchise for the better part of a decade.

"I can't say enough about what Ali has meant to our team over the three seasons since my arrival," wrote Head Coach Bruce Arians, who took over as the Buccaneers head coach in 2019, Marpet's fifth season. "He has been the consummate professional and has been a rock for us in the interior of our offensive line. We will miss him on the field and in the locker room, but I am happy that he gets to go out as a Super Bowl champion and Pro Bowler. It is never easy saying goodbye to a player who has meant so much to our success, but I support and respect his decision and wish him a great life after football."

The Buccaneers traded up into the second round in 2015 to make sure they could nab Marpet, who had thoroughly impressed the team during the NFL Scouting Combine and other predraft exercises. Despite his small-school background, he immediately secured the team's starting right guard position as a rookie and opened all 13 games in which he started. After two seasons in that position, he was shifted to center in 2017 and excelled at that spot as well. After the Buccaneers signed Jensen in free agency in 2018, Marpet moved again, this time to left guard and, if anything, was even more dominant at that position.

Overall, Marpet played in 101 games over his seven seasons, starting all of them. He was a critical part of an offense that ranked in the NFL's top five in four of those seven campaigns, and in the top 10 six times. In his final season, Marpet helped the Buccaneers average a team-record 405.9 yards per game and score 30.1 points per outing, both second-best in the NFL.

And, of course, Marpet goes out as a champion. In 2020, he and the Buccaneers followed an 11-5 regular season by storming all the way from the fifth NFC seed to the championship, winning three straight postseason road games before blowing out the Kansas City Chiefs, 31-9, in Super Bowl LV. Tampa Bay's offense ranked second in passing yards and third in scoring and posted the league's second-best sacks-allowed-per-pass play rate. Marpet started 13 games during the regular season and all four postseason outings.

Marpet's career came to an end sooner than most expected, but it was more successful than anyone could have hoped. He will be remembered as one of the best offensive linemen in franchise history.

View some of the top photos from offensive lineman Ali Marpet's career with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

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