In a surprising announcement Thursday, Miami Dolphins nose tackle Jason Ferguson retired after 13 NFL seasons.
"You get what you put into this game," Ferguson said in a statement. "I would like to thank my family, the fans and the organizations that I have been a part of for their continued support throughout my career. It's been an absolute blessing to play this long."
Ferguson's retirement comes as a shock to many Dolphins fans because he signed a contract extension earlier this offseason. However, the 35-year-old was suspended for the first eight games of the upcoming season for violating the league's substance abuse policy for the second time, though Ferguson claims it was blood pressure medicine he was taking.
With Ferguson, the Dolphins had one of the best run-stopping units in the NFL, ranking as high as third. But, when he was lost for the season with a torn biceps, Miami fell to 18th.
Now, Randy Starks, who was moved from defensive end to nose tackle this season to take Ferguson's place while he was sidelined, will be the permanent replacement, with first round draft pick Jared Odrick backing him up.
It will be curious to see how both players perform in a role Ferguson was very good in over the last two seasons.