Logan Mankins played his last NFL football game on January 31. Fittingly, it was a gathering of all-stars.
Mankins announced his retirement from the NFL on Monday, capping an 11-year career that included seven selections to the Pro Bowl. The last of those was played a little over a month ago and was his first as a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Mankins spent the majority of his career (2005-13) with the New England Patriots but finished it with an impressive two-year coda in Tampa following a surprise trade just before the start of the 2014 campaign.
In his two seasons with the Buccaneers, Mankins started all but one game at left guard and was named a team captain in 2015. After facing a tough transition in 2014 due to the timing of his trade to Tampa, Mankins had a very strong season in 2015 and anchored an offensive line that proved to be a very pleasant surprise. He and his fellow blockers helped Doug Martin rush for 1,402 yards, second-most in the NFL, while the offense as a whole recorded a team-record 6,014 net yards.
"It is always difficult losing a player of Logan's caliber both on the field and in the locker room," said Buccaneers General Manager Jason Licht, who swung the unexpected trade for the former first-team Associated Press All-Pro on August 26, 2014. "He is one of the toughest, most intelligent and skilled players at his position that I have seen in my years around this game. Logan distinguished himself as the ultimate professional over his 11-year career and he was an unquestioned leader for us over the past two seasons. His leadership, work ethic and selflessness played a key role in the development of our younger players and he set the standard which we use to evaluate all of our offensive linemen."
During his last Pro Bowl trip, Mankins indicated that he was still undecided as to whether he would continue his playing career. Reports of his eventual decision to retire surfaced early on Monday but he made it official in a press release late in the morning.
Mankins finishes his fantastic 11-year playing career as one of the most decorated and successful interior offensive linemen of the past decade. In addition to his seven Pro Bowl trips, Mankins also helped the Patriots win eight AFC East titles and make two trips to the Super Bowl. He was a three-time team captain in New England and a member of the Patriots' "50th Anniversary Team." In addition to his first-team AP All-Pro selection in 2010, he also won second-team honors in 2007, 2009, 2011-2013.
During his 11 seasons in the league, Mankins helped his team's offense finish in the top 10 in the NFL's rankings nine times, including last year with the Buccaneers. Tampa Bay ranked fifth in the league in total yardage in 2015, the highest ranking ever for a Buccaneer offense. The Patriots also finished in the league's top 10 in points scored in all nine of his seasons with the team.
Mankins was also renowned for his toughness, which helped him play in 161 of a possible 176 games during his 11-year career. He started every one of those games. The Buccaneers saw that toughness first-hand last year when Mankins missed just a single game after suffering a significant knee injury. Mankins also played in and started all 17 of the Patriots' postseason games from 2005-13. And though offensive linemen rarely get an opportunity to record personal statistics, one highlight of Mankins' career was a touchdown on a fumble recovery in the 2006 AFC Championship Game.