The San Francisco 49ers have moved up their mandatory OTA (Organized Team Activities) to this Tuesday, June 7, but one 49ers Pro Bowler won’t take part.
On Friday, June 3, Pro Bowl center Alex Mack officially announced his retirement from the NFL. His decision ends an illustrious 13 season career that saw him earn seven appearances to the NFL’s top all-star game, including making his final Pro Bowl ever with the 49ers in 2021. Mack already sent his bevy of thanks online.
But on Monday, June 6, Mack detailed the reasons for walking away with Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated.
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Mack Began Listening to his Body
Mack was part of Breer’s MMQB (Monday Morning Quarterback) column on SI. The newly retired lineman leader shared how it felt to be a part of the January 30, 2022 NFC title game.
“It hurt,” Mack said to Breer. “It hurt, that’s for sure. It’s so hard to win a Super Bowl, and I’ve gotten close twice now and it’s been 13 years. It’s such a monumental task that takes talent and luck and timing, it’s just one of those things that’s immensely hard. And every year for 13 years, I did absolutely everything I could to be the best player possible, and I got close twice. And the fact that it didn’t happen my last year, that isn’t ideal.
“But everybody loses, except one team. The numbers are so stacked against you,” Mack continued. “And that weighed into the equation.”
Say the 49ers, not the Los Angeles Rams, came out of SoFi Stadium as the Super Bowl champs over the Cincinnati Bengals. Would retirement become easier to think on for Mack?
“If we had won the Super Bowl, I think I would’ve been really quick to retire,” Mack told Breer.
However, Mack shared with the longtime NFL insider that he began to listen to another inner-voice: His 36-year-old body that took part in 204 career games including playoffs.
“It was: ‘Does my body have another year to give it another go?'” Mack asked himself. “And I landed on, No, it’s time, it’s time to walk away.”
What’s Next for Mack?
Mack endured his share of heartache and triumphs after snapping the football throughout his career. Not only was his final game ever the 20-17 loss to the Rams for the conference title, but Mack was also on the Atlanta Falcons team that lost their 25-point lead to the New England Patriots in Super Bowl 51.
Mack, however, leaves the game on good terms.
“I had a really good time on the field, and I always have really loved football,” he said “It’s a lot of work; it’s hard and you’re tired. But it’s fun to be with the guys, and be at practice, and run around and push things. It just gets harder when your body hurts, to do that day-in and day-out, and be the player you want to be every time, with the immense pressure of preparing week-in and week-out. There are a lot of things that go into the season, you really have to be ready to go all in.
“There’s no half-effort,” Mack continued. “You have to be training your hardest, getting your body right, ready to put in the work in the film room. It is a monumental task of monotony to be good.”
Now the next burning question involving Mack: What’s next for him?
“I want to be involved in football for the rest of my life, there’s no question about that,” he said. “This game has given me too much to just walk away. I’ll find a way to stay involved, whether it’s coaching high school, pee-wee football or at a higher level. I like the game too much and put too much time and effort into it. It’s too much fun and too rewarding not to stay at least partially involved.”