The biggest question for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers heading into this offseason was the status of legendary quarterback Tom Brady and whether or not he would return for another season.

What the Bucs and their fans didn’t expect was the shocking retirement of Pro Bowl offensive lineman Ali Marpet, who walked away from the game at just 28 years old after seven stellar seasons in Tampa Bay.

Even after Brady decided to return for another season with the Bucs, Marpet hasn’t had a change of heart, clearly content with his decision to hang up his cleats instead of chasing another Super Bowl with the GOAT.

“The biggest reason for me was the physical toll: I didn’t want any more of that. There were some things I wanted to accomplish in my career that I had done,” Marpet said. “I loved playing football. But one of my strongest values is health and if I’m really going to live out what’s important to me it doesn’t make sense to keep playing. There are also the unknowns of the head trauma of the NFL and how that plays out. Plus, your joints, the aches and pains that come with surgeries and all that stuff.”

Over the past four seasons, Marpet only missed a total of three games, and those came in November 2020 when he had to sit out for several weeks due to a lingering concussion. It seems that head injury may have also played a part in Marpet’s decision to retire.

Marpet played college football at Hobart and William Smith Colleges, a small liberal arts college with an enrollment of 2,271. In 2014, he was a Lindy’s preseason All-American first team, American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) All-American, All-America first team, and Liberty League Co-Offensive Player of the Year.

He attended the 2015 Senior Bowl as the first NCAA Division III player picked to play in the all-star game. Sports Illustrated named Marpet the “biggest riser” at the game and included him on its All-Offense team.

At the Scouting Combine in February 2015, he ran the fastest 40-yard dash among offensive line prospects eligible for the 2015 NFL Draft (4.98), the fastest 10-yard (9.1 m) split (1.74 seconds), and also the second-best time in the three-cone drill (7.33) and 20-yard shuttle (4.47), while scoring the highest “Speed, Power, Agility, Reaction and Quickness” (SPARQ) score. He also performed 30 repetitions at 225 pounds (102 kg) in the bench press, tied for fifth-best among offensive linemen.

He also had a vertical leap of greater than 30 inches and a Wonderlic test intelligence score of over 30 (90th test percentile; 50 possible). The measure indicates top echelon intelligence among NFL players.

Drafted in the second round, 61st overall, of the 2015 NFL draft by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Marpet is the highest-drafted pick in the history of NCAA Division III football.