After an off-grid season in Kansas City as a backup, Austin Blythe returned to a role as a steady starter with Seattle. He will make that Seahawks season a one-off, however.
Blythe announced Tuesday he will retire after seven NFL seasons (Instagram link). The 30-year-old blocker was set to be a free agent, coming off a full season as the Seahawks’ starting center.
Sneaking onto the draft radar in 2016, Blythe managed to become a regular starter as a seventh-round pick. The ex-Iowa blocker ended up making 66 starts during his seven-year career, the final 17 (plus a playoff outing in San Francisco) came with the Seahawks. Seattle gave Blythe a one-year, $4MM deal to come over from Kansas City, where he backed up rookie standout Creed Humphrey in 2021. Blythe made sure the Seahawks had that center position, one that had gone through some inconsistency in recent years, covered.
A Colts draftee, Blythe will be best remembered for his Rams work. Indianapolis waived Blythe shortly after the 2017 draft, but Los Angeles claimed him in advance of Sean McVay‘s first season. Blythe worked as a backup for the 2017 Rams but started for their Super Bowl LIII-qualifying 2018 iteration and L.A.’s ensuing two squads. The Rams brought him back on a one-year deal in 2020, and Pro Football Focus graded that as a top-10 center season.
The Rams had moved Blythe from guard to center midway through his L.A. tenure, but the versatility did not bring much interest in 2021. Pete Carroll said that Blythe was ready to walk away last year, but some among the Seahawks convinced him to return. Blythe reunited with ex-Rams assistants Shane Waldron and Andy Dickerson with the Seahawks. Carroll had said Blythe previously expressed interest in re-signing with the Seahawks, via the Seattle Times’ Bob Condotta, but his Tuesday announcement will lead the team to look into other options at snapper.