JACKSONVILLE – The Jaguars' longtime defensive leader is retiring.
Paul Posluszny, the Jaguars' starting middle linebacker the past seven seasons and one of the team's most reliable players for more than a half decade, has told the team he plans to retire from the National Football League. The Jaguars and Posluszny made the announcement Tuesday.
Posluszny wrote a letter to Jaguars fans regarding the decision, calling it "a difficult day for me" and "a day of reflection and gratitude."
"Playing for Mr. [Jaguars Owner Shad] Khan, the Jacksonville Jaguars and the city of Jacksonville has been a tremendous honor," he said in the letter. "During my seven years as a Jaguars player, I've always pursued success and winning football games, while preparing and training with the highest standards of competition, passion and perseverance.
"It has been an honor to represent my family, my teammates and the people of Jacksonville."
Posluszny called the decision "mine alone."
"With much sadness but without regret, I realize that I am no longer able to adhere to the unwavering standard of excellence that professional football demands," he wrote. "I love the game of football so much, and I know there is truly only one acceptable way to play. Knowing I can no longer compete at a level that I find acceptable, I have chosen to end my football career. …
"Although I know this will not bring me happiness, it is the right and honorable action to take at this time in my life. I cherished every moment of my NFL career, and it has been such a blessing to play the game for as long as I have played. I anxiously look forward to next football season to arrive, but this time with the sole focus of being a great husband and father for my loving family."
Posluszny was one of the team's more respected players among teammates. This past season marked the first time he had played on a team with a winning record or a team that made the postseason. The Jaguars won the AFC South in 2017, advancing to the AFC Championship Game.
"Success eluded me for the vast majority of my career," he wrote. "All of that changed with the promotion of [Head] Coach Doug Marrone and the return of [Executive Vice President of Football Operations] Tom Coughlin a year ago. I would like to offer my deepest thanks to them for allowing me to experience the most challenging offseason program and training camp of my career, for that experience prompted the success of the 2017-18 season.
"The AFC South Division title was won because of the hard work and discipline you demanded of us. Thank you for bringing us out of the darkness and back into the light, and for demanding a non-negotiable standard of excellence that will propel the Jacksonville Jaguars forward for years to come. I am excited to watch and cheer for you."
Posluszny, a second-round selection by the Buffalo Bills in the 2007 NFL Draft, played collegiately at Penn State University. He signed with the Jaguars as an unrestricted free agent shortly before the 2011 season.
Posluszny, 33, started 95 of 100 games in seven Jaguars seasons and missed just 12 games because of injuries during that span. He led the Jaguars in tackles five times – 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015 and 2016 – and registered 11 interceptions and 13 sacks.
Posluszny, the Jaguars' defensive captain the past four seasons, appeared in 145 career regular-season NFL games, registering 1,381 tackles (984 solo), 41 passes defensed, 16 sacks, 15 interceptions, eight forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries. He is one of two players (Karlos Dansby) to record at least 15.0 sacks and 15 interceptions since 2007, and his tackles are the most in the NFL over that span.
His 103 games with seven-plus tackles are the most in the NFL since 2007, and his 11 interceptions with the Jaguars are a franchise record for linebackers.
He played in all 16 games this past season, starting 11. He was the starting middle linebacker all season, missing five starts when the team started games in its nickel defense.
Tight end Marcedes Lewis, a first-round selection by the Jaguars in the 2006 NFL Draft, was the only Jaguars player last season who predated Posluszny on the roster.