After a year out of football, No. 74 is officially hanging up the cleats.
Long-time Jets C Nick Mangold announced his retirement on Tuesday morning, stating that he will sign a one-day contract with the Jets before calling it quits.
Mangold released an official statement on Twitter where he reflected on the first time he ever stepped on a football field to his very last.
"In my 11 years as a Jet, there were plenty of ups and downs but, through it all, I wanted to be the Steady Eddie," Mangold wrote. "I wanted to be the guy that other guys looked at to see how it was done. I learned this attribute from the vets that I played with."
The 34-year-old may not be entirely done with the game, though. He references wanting to bring a Lombardi Trophy to the Jets locker room some day.
"My biggest regret is not bringing the Lombardi Trophy to New York but, as I retire, I will continue my efforts to bring the Trophy home in a different capacity," he said. "I have no idea what that capacity is but I'm sure I will figure something out in the future."
Along with Mangold's statement, the Jets released a farewell video where Mangold reflects on his 11-year career with Gang Green.
Mangold was drafted 29th overall in 2006 by the Jets. Seeing a start in all 164 games he played, the Ohio State product was elected to seven Pro Bowls and was a First Team All-Pro in 2009 and 2010 -- the years the Jets made AFC Championship runs.
On the lists of favorite players and all-time greats, you'll rarely find a center. They're buried in the trenches, often noticed only when a bad snap happens or a defensive tackle breaks through.
The same was probably true for Nick Mangold during his 11 NFL seasons - rarely noticed from the outside and incredibly underappreciated game to game. Yet somehow he still emerged from his long career as a fan favorite. And he definitely emerged as one of the Jets' all-time greats.
It's a matter of when, not if, Mangold will be enshrined in the Jets' Ring of Honor after he officially announced his retirement from the NFL early Tuesday morning. He's been effectively retired since last February when he was cut by the Jets as part of their great purge, a victim of his age, a bad ankle, and a body that had just been beaten up too much over too many years.
What he did before then was amazing. He took the mantle from Kevin Mawae, perhaps the Jets' best-ever center and a future Hall of Famer, and the Jets didn't seem to miss a beat. A first-round pick out of Ohio State, he became an immediate starter as a rookie and missed only four games over the next 10 years.
Seven Pro Bowls and two First-Team All-Pro honors later, you might have noticed the Jets have struggled to replace him. Wes Johnson looked like he'd be next in line, but the Jets didn't re-sign him. Now, they've brought in Spencer Long and they can only hope his body holds up as well as Mangold's did over the years.
The truth, though, is Mangold is irreplaceable. The odds that the Jets will quickly find another great center to last that long are high. Add in a personality and energy that made him loved inside the locker room and the building and even among a fanbase that otherwise might not have noticed, and a player like him will truly be hard to find.
He'll be remembered, though, when his name and No. 74 are officially hung from the rim of MetLife Stadium. Mangold probably isn't a Hall of Famer. That's a hard honor for a center to achieve - just ask Mawae, who keeps coming close but is unfortunately still waiting for that call.
But the Ring of Honor is a no-brainer for Mangold. It was clear for years that's where he belongs.