Saints safety Jenkins is retiring after a 13-year career

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METAIRIE, La. New Orleans Saints safety Malcolm Jenkins announced his retirement Wednesday after an indelible 13-year NFL career that led him to win Super Bowls with two different franchises and emerge as a leader in the social justice movement.

Jenkins, 34, originally joined the Saints as a first-round draft pick from Ohio State and played for New Orleans from 2009 to 2013, before spending six years with the Philadelphia Eagles from 2014 to 2019 and ending his career back in New Orleans from 2020 to 2021.

He won the Super Bowls with the Saints in 2009 and the Eagles in 2017, and he was selected for the Pro Bowl in 2015, 2017 and 2018.

“I played the game at the highest level for 13 seasons,” Jenkins said as he shared his decision on The Pivot podcast. “And I’ve got the Super Bowls, the Pro Bowl, all there’s to do in this game. And when I came in, I always wanted to have an impact on the game on and off the court. And I’m just like that. Point. , I’ve got it. “

The 6-foot, 204-pound, who began his career as a cornerback, has scored 21 career interceptions, 20 forced fumbles and eight touchdowns. I have played in 199 games in the regular season with 191 starts plus a further 14 playoff games.

Jenkins had a remarkable 133-game Ironman streak that ended with the league’s COVID-19 record last year. Before that, I had not missed a game since 2013.

“You know you paint and put everything into this game to play at a certain level,” Jenkins said. “You’re sacrificing your body, your time, your mental … And I’m like, ‘If I can do this, at this level, among the best in the world at what I do, I’m excited to put that energy into something else.’ It’s that time.

“And I know it’s a huge blessing, and I do not take it for granted to be able to choose to walk away from the game.”

Jenkins was an undisputed leader on both teams and in both communities. Both selected him as their nominee for the NFL’s Walter Payton Man of the Year award in various seasons. And he won the NFL Players’ Associations Byron “Whizzer” White Award for his efforts in the community in 2017.

Not only was Jenkins co-founder of the Players Coalition – a group of NFL player activists who later expanded into other sports – but he also started a production company called Listen Up Media, which produced the documentary “Black Boys.” And he joined CNN as a political analyst, among many other community and business endeavors.

He helped organize a “Listen and Learn” tour with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie while in Philadelphia. He began raising his first national anthem in 2016 after seeking the blessing of an Air Force sergeant with whom he had become friends in New Orleans. And in one of his most memorable and powerful acts in 2018, Jenkins silently addressed a group of journalists in Philadelphia by holding up a series of signs that read, “You are not listening” and detailed facts about the criminal justice system, the police – involved shootings and the efforts of fellow players in the local community.

Jenkins said he will now pursue these endeavors beyond other areas he has not explored – including a screenwriting television comedy series he has developed about his life.

Jenkins played without a doubt his best football in Philadelphia. But he said the defenses he played with in his last two seasons in New Orleans were the two best he has ever played on. He said he would be torn to pieces if he had to choose whether to retire as a saint or eagle.

“But I know I’ve had a lasting impact on both of these franchises – and more importantly, these franchises and cities have had a lasting impact on my life,” Jenkins said.

Saints coach Dennis Allen, who was Jenkins’ position coach when he first joined the league, said in a statement that he was proud to have “the opportunity to coach Malcolm and congratulate him on an excellent career.”

“The combination of skill, awareness and intelligence allowed Malcolm to be able to play all over the court,” Allen said. “Putting up the numbers he did, as long as he did, speaks to both his talent and his commitment to his craft. He was also a great leader in the locker room and an important contributor to the community.”

The Saints have now lost two of their three starting securities after free agent Marcus Williams signed with the Baltimore Ravens. They still have nickel safety CJ Gardner-Johnson, and they replaced Williams with former New York Jets starter Marcus Maye. But they could be looking for another replacement.

The Saints recently signed former Kansas City Chiefs veteran Daniel Sorensen for depth. Their own veteran backup security PJ Williams remains unsigned in free agency.

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