JC Tretter has announced his retirement from the NFL at the age of 31.
The eight-year veteran said in a statement on Twitter he is walking away from football "on my own terms," but that he intends to remain active in the sport by "doubling down" on his work as president of the NFL Players Association.
Tretter's extended free agency has been the source of speculation throughout the offseason and into the preseason.
Cleveland Browns guard Joel Bitonio, who was teammates with Tretter from 2017 to 2021, wondered aloud if the veteran center was being blackballed by teams because of his position as NFLPA president and stance on protecting player safety:
Mary Kay Cabot @MaryKayCabot
<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Browns?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Browns</a> Joel Bitonio suspects that his close friend JC Tretter might not have an <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NFL?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NFL</a> team yet b/c of his <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NFLPA?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NFLPA</a> stance on player safety issues, etc <a href="https://t.co/kxCINmADE2">pic.twitter.com/kxCINmADE2</a>
There were multiple teams that seemed like they could have used a veteran center like Tretter. He had most recently been connected to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the wake of Ryan Jensen's knee injury.
The San Francisco 49ers were another team that could have been in the market for a center after Alex Mack announced his retirement in June.
Tretter became a free agent in March after being released by the Browns. He was owed $8.24 million in 2022, the final season of his three-year, $32.5 million contract signed in November 2019.
The Browns originally signed Tretter as a free agent in March 2017. He only missed one game in five seasons with Cleveland and started all 80 games he played during that span.
After starting his college career at Cornell as a tight end, Tretter moved to the offensive line before his junior year. He made 20 starts as a left tackle over his final two seasons.
The Green Bay Packers selected Tretter in the fourth round of the 2013 NFL draft. He appeared in 31 games over three seasons with the club.
In addition to his work on the field, Tretter was voted NFLPA president in March 2020. He was involved in negotiating the new collective bargaining agreement that was signed between the union and league in 2020.
Tretter was unanimously re-elected to the position by the NFLPA Board of Player Representatives in March after running unopposed.