NFL

Veteran Chiefs lineman Lilja announces his retirement

{eot}
Associated Press
12/31/2012 2:50:31 PM
Decrease Text SizeIncrease Text Size
Text Size

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Veteran offensive lineman Ryan Lilja, who helped block for Peyton Manning during the Colts' Super Bowl-winning 2006 season, announced his retirement Monday.

Lilja said he was going to "hang it up" after the Kansas City Chiefs finished a 2-14 season with a 38-3 loss to the Denver Broncos on Sunday. Lilja had played guard his entire career until injuries along the Chiefs' line forced him to play centre the majority of this season.

"I'm ready to shut it down and move on with my life," said Lilja, who grew up in Kansas City and starred for Kansas State before signing with the Chiefs as an undrafted free agent in 2004.

Undersized by NFL standards, the 6-foot-2, 285-pound Lilja was waived by the Chiefs and quickly claimed by Indianapolis, where he became one of Manning's most trusted blockers. He played in 11 games the year the Colts beat the Chicago Bears in the Super Bowl.

He returned to Kansas City three years ago, and would have become a free agent.

"I think I'm done," Lilja said while cleaning out his locker Monday. "I've made a ton of dynamite relationships, but I think it's time I shut it down."

The 31-year-old Lilja said he had a feeling before the season that this would be his last, and a series of injuries -- including a nagging back injury that forced him to miss a game -- served to reassure him that walking away was in his best interest.

He wound up starting 104 of 111 career games over eight seasons.

"Physically, you kind of hit a wall," said Lilja, who started 104 of 111 games over eight seasons. "Your body tells you to start thinking about it."

Lilja had never played centre until this year, when a season-ending injury to Rodney Hudson moved him to the middle of the Chiefs' patchwork offensive line. Lilja had his struggles, too, with several botched handoffs and a few cases of costly miscommunication.

Still, his willingness to take on a new role impressed his teammates.

"I can't say enough about how professional he is," right tackle Eric Winston said. "This organization is going to miss him and the guys in the locker room are going to miss him."

Chiefs helmet (Photo: Brian Bahr/Getty Images)

zoom

(Photo: Brian Bahr/Getty Images)
Share This

Share This

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to FarkAdd to TwitterAdd to Stumble UponAdd to Reddit
Print this Story


Podcasts

TSN 1050: The Bryan Hayes Show: Septemeber 2nd - Alex Marvez

Alex Marvez of Fox Sports 1 joins the show to discuss Jim Irsay, Michael Sam, and J.J Watt.

TSN 1050: Game Night: September 1 - Matt Florjancic

WKYC Cleveland's Matt Florjancic joins Andy McNamara and John Letherby on Game Night.

TSN 1050: Game Night: Joe Horrigan - July 30

Pro Football Hall of Fame VP of Communications Joe Horrigan joined Game Night with Jim Tatti & Andy McNamara to talk NFL Hall of Fame Weekend


More Podcasts

NFL on TSN and CTV

Sunday, September 21

San Diego Chargers at Buffalo Bills - 1pm et/10am pt (CTV Toronto, CTV Kitchener, CTV Ottawa, CTV Northern Ontario, CKPR)


Houston Texans at New York Giants - 1pm et/10am pt (CTV Vancouver, CTV Alberta, CTV Saskatchewan, CITL)


Oakland Raiders at New England Patriots - 1pm et/10am pt (CTV Montreal, CTV Atlantic, CTV Saskatchewan)


Minnesota Vikings at New Orleans Saints - 1pm et/10am pt (CTV Winnipeg)


Green Bay Packers at Detroit Lions - 1pm et/10am pt (CTV Two Toronto, CTV Two Ottawa, CTV Two London, CTV Two Vancouver Island, CTV Two Alberta, CTV Two Atlantic)


Denver Broncos at Seattle Seahawks - 4:25pm et/1:25pm pt (CTV Toronto, CTV Kitchener, CTV Ottawa, CTV Northern Ontario, CTV Montreal, CTV Vancouver, CTV Alberta, CTV Saskatchewan, CTV Winnipeg, CTV Two Atlantic, CKPR, CITL)


Pittsburgh Steelers at Carolina Panthers
8:15pm et/5:15pm pt (TSN1, TSN3, TSN4, TSN5)


Monday, September 22

Chicago Bears at New York Jets
7pm et/4pm pt (TSN1, TSN3, TSN4, TSN5)


NFL on TSN Broadcast Schedule

© 2014
All rights reserved.
Bell Media Television