For seven of Jermon Bushrod's 12 seasons in the NFL, he was a New Orleans Saint.
In retirement, a Saint is all that he wants to be.
Bushrod officially announced his retirement Thursday, after book-ending his career with stints in New Orleans (2007-12, then again in '18) that included the 2009 Super Bowl season. That year was Bushrod's first as a full-time starter, and he was a two-time Pro Bowler with the Saints ('11 and '12).
"We had a lot of good years here," Bushrod said. "We won that Super Bowl here. I had the opportunity to come back here and this place just means a lot to me. As far as timing, I felt like it was right. I need to be there for my kids, and I need to be able to run around like I want to and do the things that I need to do.
"After like, Year 10, you have to sit back and just really evaluate everything that's going on. With me, when I try to make a decision to play, retirement never is something that I'm even thinking about. But we got to this year – my heart's always going to be in it, but my mind and body kind of gave me the answer. I'll be 55 years old and feel like I can still go block somebody. You know it's not going to happen, but that's just the competitor in me."
The Saints benefited from that competitiveness in '09, when Bushrod stepped in as the full-time starter at left tackle for the first time. He started 62 of his next 63 regular-season games with the Saints.
The former Towson State standout, a fourth-round draft choice by New Orleans in '07, also spent three years with Chicago ('13-'15) and two with Miami ('16-'17). But he rejoined the Saints for one more run in a homecoming last year to provide offensive line depth, and wound up starting six of the 11 games he played. He started 128 of the 145 regular-season games he played, and seven of nine playoff games, including all three in '09.
In Bushrod's final NFL season, his Saints teammates named him the team's Ed Block Courage Award winner, given annually to a player from each team who has persevered through adversity.
During last season, Bushrod and his wife, Jessica, lost their daughter, Jordyn Lynn Bushrod, days after she was born.
He said that he was extended offers to play this season, but that the time is right for retirement.
"I had four or five teams reach out," he said. "Even last week, I had a GM call. But I'm just at a place in life where, we don't have to do it. We don't have to do it right now and I feel good about it. I don't feel bad.
"It's a time to be celebrated. I've done everything in this league that I've ever wanted to, things I never thought I would do. So I'm blessed. I'm fortunate. God's been good to me, so I'm not upset. It's tough to kind of sit back and watch it, but I've been so fortunate. So this is a good thing."