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Longtime NFL center Alex Mack will retire after 13 seasons in the league, the NFL Network reported Thursday.
Mack, 36, played for the San Francisco 49ers last season, where he earned his seventh Pro Bowl selection and helped the team reach the NFC Championship.
An All-Decade section for the 2010s, Mack was considered one of the best centers in the league. He spent his first seven seasons in the NFL with the Cleveland Browns before joining the Atlanta Falcons, where he anchored their offensive line for five seasons.
Kyle Shanahan, head coach of the 49ers, recently said he was holding out hope and would keep the door open if Mack decided to return to San Francisco for another season.
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“Football’s not the easiest thing to do, no matter how much you enjoy the competition, and he’s up there in age,” Shanahan said last month, via NBC Sports. “But, in terms of how he looks on tape and how he was [last season]everyone knows he can still play.
“Keeping our fingers crossed on Mack, but we’ve got to plan and know we can’t count on it.”
That plan saw the team pick two offensive linemen in the 2022 NFL Draft. The Niners selected Spencer Burford at No. 134 overall and Nick Zakelj at No. 187 overall.
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Mack was selected No. 21 overall by the Browns in the 2009 NFL Draft after playing college football at California. He was as dependent as they come, starting all 16 games in each of his first five seasons in the league.
Mack earned three Pro Bowls during his stint with Cleveland, and he helped strengthen an offensive line that already included tackle Joe Thomas.
Mack later signed with the Falcons in 2016. In his first season, he earned the first of four consecutive Pro Bowl selections, while helping quarterback Matt Ryan win league MVP.
In the playoffs, he helped Atlanta reach the Super Bowl, but the Falcons famously lost to the New England Patriots after being up 28-3.
Mack started 196 regular-season games in his career. He didn’t miss a game in 11 of his 13 seasons in the NFL.
He started all 17 games for the 49ers last season as the team gained the seventh most rushing yards in the league.
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San Francisco lost to the eventual Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams in the NFC title game this year.