Just over a week after announcing his plans to step away from football, it seems that Branden Albert has had enough of the retired life.
On July 31, three days into Jacksonville Jaguars training camp, Albert, 32, informed the organization that he was retiring and released a statement thanking his fans, teammates and coaches. Just one week later, however, the offensive tackle reached out to team executives and expressed his desire to return to the organization.
Adam Caplan of SiriusXM was the first to report the news. However, even with Albert’s change of heart, he may have trouble finding a place to play this year, as ESPN reported that the Jaguars are “unlikely” to allow him to return to the team.
Albert, who’s started 118 games in a nine-year career, could still provide value for the right organization. But it seems that the Jaguars, who have 2017 second-rounder Cam Robinson ready to go at left tackle and former Giants head coach Tom Coughlin as their new head of football operations, believe that a player who can’t decide whether or not he wants to play isn’t worth the trouble.
Albert signed a five-year deal with the Miami Dolphins prior to the 2014 season. He was traded to Jacksonville for a seventh-round pick back in March and spent much of this offseason holding out for a new contract, skipping the Jaguars’ offseason conditioning program and OTAs before reporting for a mandatory three-day minicamp in June.
Skipping those workouts may have had noticeable effects. Mark Long of the Associated Press wrote that Albert “looked out of shape and past his prime” during the days leading up to his retirement.
With Albert’s retirement, Jacksonville can recoup $3.4 million in signing bonus money. That sum could be a big part of Albert’s desire to return, but it seems the Jaguars would rather have financial flexibility than veteran insurance on the offensive line.
The Jaguars will play their first preseason game on Thursday against the New England Patriots.