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Why Corey Linsley is '99 Percent' Likely to Retire this Offseason


Corey Linsley didn't officially announce his retirement Monday morning as the Bolts cleaned out their lockers at Hoag Performance Center.

But the veteran center, who missed the final 14 games this season with a non-emergent heart-related medical issue, said that scenario is "99 percent" likely to happen.

"After my last appointment, I met with a specialist whose entire career is on this particular portion of the heart," Linsley said. "His advice was to stop playing. 99 percent sure that's what's going to happen."

Linsley held court with reporters for nearly 10 minutes Monday morning. It was the first time he had spoken publicly since September.

He gave some details on what the past 10 months have been like, including a note that he was checked out for an irregular heartbeat in May.

Linsley was then ready for training camp and the start of the regular season but said that he felt off in the first few weeks of the season.

And when the 32-year-old went in to check on his irregular heartbeat, doctors found a separate issue that will effectively end his NFL career.

"It's serious enough where playing football put me at risk for further complications," Linsley said.

He later added: "In the coming weeks, [I] came to the decision where it was like, 'OK, you can roll the dice here,' but I don't think that's, especially long-term, I don't think that's fair to my kids or my family."


Linsley, who is a father to four children with wife, Anna, was asked about dealing with the finality of his NFL seemingly coming to a sudden end.

"It was hard at first, but again it would be devastating and tragic in like Year 4 or before I even started playing," Linsley said. "I'm thankful for everything that I got to accomplish, the teams I've been on, the people that I've met, the friendships, the battles that we've had out there.

"There's so much to be thankful for. I can't really be too upset," Linsley continued. "For sure, it sucks. Overall, there's a lot to be thankful for and I think I'm resting my head on that.

"Again, it made honestly the whole process, the decision, the coming months, everything from that point when I had to stop, being around here, around the guys, in the locker room made it everything a lot more palatable and easier to take," Linsley added.

As a result, Linsley's final NFL game is slated to be a Week 3 road win against Minnesota.

The Vikings brought relentless pressure that September afternoon as Herbert was blitzed on over 80 percent of his dropbacks.

But it was Linsley up front who helped identify the Vikings blitz schemes and allowed Herbert to have the first 400-yard passing game of his career.

It was a ho-hum performance from Linsley, who will go down as one of the best players at his position in the past decade.

"Corey has been awesome," Herbert said Monday. "He's such a great leader and has been such a great teammate for this team.

"What he's given this game over the past few years has been remarkable. We're definitely going to miss a guy like that if he does decide to retire," Herbert continued. "He's meant so much to me and especially that quarterback room.

"He's helped just talking about football, talking about life and all the things we've talked about with him," Herbert added. "The game will definitely miss him."


And even as Linsley watched from the sideline in recent months, he was still as involved as ever with the Chargers and the offensive line.

Right guard Jamaree Salyer said Linsley, a team captain, was in the weeds in the meeting room trying to help the unit be at their best.

"At one point, he was doing goal line cut ups," Salyer said. "At one point he was doing his thoughts on players we were about to play that he's played. Just stuff like that.

"He's been an integral part of our success and couldn't ask for a better leader," Salyer added. spoke with numerous starting Bolts offensive linemen Monday, including center Will Clapp, who filled in for Linsley before ultimately going on Injured Reserve.

The group, to a man, raved about Linsley as both a player and a person.

"Ever since I showed up, Corey has been like a mentor. Just taught me a lot from the very beginning," Rashawn Slater said. "He's always been there for me, given me advice. Football stuff, how to approach this business.

"He's been invaluable to me at this point in my career, even him sticking around throughout the year has been tremendous for moral, still having that wisdom in the room has been huge," Slater added. "He's awesome."

Zion Johnson said: "Corey, he's wise beyond his years. Not just in football things but in life. He's taught me a lot and I'm just really appreciative of everything he brought to this team and to our O-line."


Clapp said Linsley was with him every step of the way this past season.

"He's an All-Pro center and had his health stuff and had to step away from football, but he was still a huge asset for me every week," Clapp said. "He would do a deep dive, give me a heads up on stuff, just a guy on the sideline that can kind of [be a] calming presence."

Salyer detailed the belief Linsley showed in him as a rookie in 2022.

"One of the first people to tell me that he believed in me when I first got here," Salyer said. "He told me he thought I was going to be a great player so I appreciated that.

"He's just been a great leader and great friend off the field as well, somebody you can laugh and joke with," Salyer added. "Anybody that knows him knows that he's a good time. Meant a lot to me, meant a lot to this organization."

Linsley, who has lost a considerable amount of weight in recent months, said Monday that he has a follow-up doctor appointment in March and will likely make a final decision on his playing career then.


If this it for Linsley, it was a remarkable run.

A 2014 fifth-round pick by the Packers, Linsley played in 132 career games, starting every single one of them. He joined the Bolts as a free agent in the spring of 2021.

Heralded as one of the game's best centers for the past decade, Linsley earned one Pro Bowl and one All-Pro nod in his career.

But his impact on the game went beyond that, as Linsley was viewed as an unheralded MVP of the Chargers offense in recent years.

And while his playing career might be over, Linsley enjoyed every minute of the wild ride.

"Honestly, the locker room is the best part, and winning is also sweet," Linsley said. "Mondays after a victory, Sundays after a victory are amazing.

"Being in the locker room with the guys, those are the best times that stick out in my mind," Linsley continued. "It's a special bond, an elite group guys and we're all very fortunate to even here. That sort of bond you get with guys who appreciate that, it's special.

"I'll miss it, but again, I'm thankful that I even got to experience it," Linsley added. "I never would've thought I'd be in this position to begin with."

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