49ers C Weston Richburg To Retire

Injuries will end up ending Weston Richburg‘s career after just five seasons and change. The former 49ers big-ticket free agency addition will not return for the 2021 season. Kyle Shanahan confirmed Richburg intends to retire, via the San Francisco Chronicle’s Eric Branch (on Twitter).

Richburg, 29, missed all of 2020 with injuries, including a torn patellar tendon, and was set to undergo hip surgery earlier this offseason. The former Giants second-round pick last played in December 2019.

The 49ers gave Richburg a five-year, $47.5MM contract in 2018, and the Colorado State alum started 28 games with the team. He fared well as San Francisco’s center, and his injury threw the team off course. The 49ers used Ben Garland for the 2019 stretch run, which ended in a Super Bowl LIV berth, and re-signed him for last season. But the veteran backup/spot starter was one of many 49ers to land on IR early last season. San Francisco added Alex Mack, who played for Shanahan in Atlanta, early in free agency this year.

After Super Bowl LIV, Richburg was targeting a return for the 49ers’ 2020 training camp. Those goal posts eventually moved, and the veteran blocker wound up on the 49ers’ reserve/PUP list. Torn patellar tendons are among the most severe injuries on the NFL spectrum; Richburg becomes the latest to see his career end because of one.

For his career, Richburg started 78 of the 79 games he played. A concussion ended his 2017 season early, and the Giants ended up going in a different direction. Big Blue has yet to find a surefire long-term replacement. The 49ers have Mack in place as a stopgap. The 49ers will be hit with nearly $7MM in dead money, stemming from the prorated bonuses on Richburg’s deal.

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