Veteran DL announces retirement

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Although Michael Brockers landed an offseason workout, he did not end up playing in 2023. The veteran defensive lineman will pass on playing in 2024. Brockers took to Instagram on Thursday to announce he will retire from the NFL after 11 seasons.

Best known for his lengthy Rams tenure, Brockers finished his career with the Lions. Not part of the Jared GoffMatthew Stafford trade, Brockers ended up joining Goff in relocating to Detroit as part of a separate 2021 swap. The Lions tenure pushed the former first-round pick’s start count to 157 games. Brockers’ NFL exit comes two months after longtime D-line mate Aaron Donald
wrapped his storied career.

Brockers, 33, will be best remembered for a seven-year stretch working alongside Donald. The longest-running sidekick of the all-time great DT’s career, Brockers was also regarded as an upper-crust D-lineman for much of his time with the Rams. The LSU alum ended up signing three contracts with the Rams, who valued him alongside Donald. While Brockers was dealt as the team assembled its Super Bowl LVI-winning roster, he played in Super Bowl LIII and was part of three playoff teams after having been part of a lengthy Rams playoff drought.

Midway through that 12-season drought, the Rams hired Jeff Fisher and GM Les Snead. The duo began its St. Louis tenure with an eventful draft. It took multiple trades for the Rams to end up with Brockers in 2012. The team moved down from No. 2 to No. 6, collecting two future first-rounders from Washington in a deal that gave Mike Shanahan‘s team a path to Robert Griffin III, and then slid down (via the Cowboys) from 6 to 14. The Snead-Fisher tandem made a pick there, and Brockers moved into the starting lineup in Week 4 of his rookie year.

Playing in Fisher’s 4-3 scheme during the first half of his Rams career and a 3-4 alignment during the second chapter, Brockers produced 28 of his 29 career sacks during his Rams run. He put together two five-sack seasons (2013, 2020) and notched at least seven tackles for loss in four separate seasons. For his career, Brockers tallied 64 TFLs. He made seven tackles against the Patriots in Super Bowl LIII.

It took extensive time for the post-Greatest Show on Turf Rams to regroup, and it did not happen under Fisher. But the Donald-Brockers partnership certainly worked well to close out the team’s St. Louis stay, and Sean McVay made the pair more relevant in the grand scheme upon arrival in 2017. Brockers became one of the NFL’s top interior run defenders, and the Rams rewarded him with a three-year, $33.25M deal in 2016. Staying in form long enough to land a third quality contract, Brockers fetched a three-year, $24M deal from the Rams. This came after a memorable Ravens plot, which involved a Brockers three-year, $30M agreement being nixed due to concerns about the veteran 3-4 D-end’s health. Brockers managed to play three more NFL seasons.

The Lions reached a reworked deal with Brockers in 2022 and stopped his run of starts midway through that season, making him a healthy scratch during the ’22 slate’s second half. Although Brockers worked out for the Titans last summer, no deal came to pass. He will nevertheless finish his career with $69.8M in earnings in St. Louis, Los Angeles and Detroit.

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