Marshal Yanda could have kept playing. But after 13 seasons, one of the greatest guards in NFL history has decided to retire on top.
Yanda was voted to eight Pro Bowls and won a Super Bowl (2012) – one of three guards to ever accomplish that feat.
He had one year left on his contract, leaving the door open for a possible return in 2020. At 35 years old, he was still one of the game's top guards and had a blast in 2019 bulldozing opponents in a offensively historic season.
But Yanda decided now was the time to step away from the game he loves so dearly and spend more time with the other loves of his life. He's healthy and he's accomplished everything. Up next is perhaps a Hall of Fame gold jacket.
Yanda will fully explain his decision at a press conference to be held Wednesday at the Under Armour Performance Center at 11 a.m. While the Ravens and their fans are surely sad to see one of their all-time greats walk away with more left in the tank, it will be a chance to honor Yanda's fantastic career.
A third-round pick out of Iowa in 2007, Yanda spent his entire NFL career in Baltimore. Nobody better embodied what it meant to "play like a Raven."
Yanda's toughness, resiliency, leadership and dedication to perfecting his craft are unmatched. They made him not only one of Baltimore's most respected players, but one of the league's most highly regarded.
He wasn't the biggest guy, standing in at 6-foot-3, 305 pounds, but Yanda found his own unique style, and he constantly worked to master and maintain it. He set the example for countless Ravens offensive linemen on how to work, and coined the team's "embrace the grind" saying.
Over all else, Yanda preached consistency to his fellow offensive linemen. Get good, and then do it over and over and over. During his 13 seasons, he allowed just 20 sacks, according to Pro Football Focus. Three of those sacks came his rookie year when playing right tackle.
Outside of two years in which he suffered season-ending injuries (2008 and 2017), Yanda missed just five other games due to injuries. The most famous Yanda toughness tale was when agreed to be tased by a teammate during his rookie year. That was just a harbinger of his toughness yet to come.
In 2016, during a season in which the Ravens weren't going to the playoffs, Yanda essentially played with one arm and switched positions to help the team after suffering a major shoulder injury. After breaking his ankle in 2017, he walked off the field under his own power.
But those injuries took a toll on Yanda, and he didn't want them to be his ending. Yanda considered hanging up his cleats last offseason but came back for another year because he felt healthy.
During a franchise-best 14-2 season, Yanda clearly had some of the most fun of his career. Personally, he gave up just one sack and paved the way for a historic offensive attack that set the NFL single-season record with 3,296 rushing yards. He earned yet another trip to the Pro Bowl. He was still at the pinnacle of the game.
Look through Marshal Yanda's legendary career filled with eight Pro Bowls, one Super Bowl and many, many blocks.
Yanda's retirement creates $7 million in salary-cap space, but opens a hole in the Ravens' offensive line. Ben Powers, a fourth-round pick out of Oklahoma last year, would be the most likely in-house "replacement."
But for now, the Ravens are honoring one of their all-time greats, and there's been an outpouring of support from Yanda's teammates.