The Green Bay Packers have had some productive linebackers over the years, and while he wasn’t a superstar at the position, one of the franchise’s recent inside linebackers has decided to call it a career.
After struggles with staying healthy and finding a full-time role with a new team, former Packers linebacker Blake Martinez has decided to retire from the NFL at just 28 years old. The veteran linebacker posted his official retirement announcement on Instagram.
“I’m announcing my retirement from the game of football!” Martinez posted. “I had an amazing journey with some incredible franchises, and made lifelong friendships. I have chosen to step away from this career at this time to focus on my family and future passions! I am excited for this new journey and appreciate all the fans and organizations that have supported me throughout the years!”
Martinez spent his NFL career playing for the Packers, New York Giants, and Las Vegas Raiders before deciding to hang up his cleats.
Blake Martinez’s Football Career
He may not have been a superstar at the linebacker position, but considering where he came from, Martinez carving out a seven-year career is an impressive feat.
Coming out of high school in Tucson, Arizona, Martinez was only a 3-star recruit in the 2012 recruiting class. He drew interest from some FBS programs, but didn’t receive offers outside of Stanford, where he decided to enroll and play for the Cardinal.
Martinez was a contributor all four college seasons at Stanford. By his senior year, he was named a first-team All-Pac-12 member after recording 138 total tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss, two sacks, and an interception.
That production helped Martinez get the attention of NFL scouts, and in the fourth round of the 2016 NFL Draft, he was taken by the Packers. He played four seasons in Green Bay, even leading the NFL with 144 total tackles in 2017. He joined the New York Giants in free agency in 2020, but tore his ACL early in his second season with the franchise.
Martinez was picked up by the Raiders this season, but ultimately decided to retire rather than continuing to try and find opportunities to play. He finished his career with 706 total tackles, 13 sacks, and four interceptions.
Do the Packers Need Another Inside Linebacker?
Even though they spent significant assets on the position, the Packers are having a problem in 2022 at inside linebacker.
De’Vondre Campbell was a first-team All-Pro after an incredible first season in Green Bay in 2021. Unfortunately, the veteran linebacker has been struggling in 2022, and could need a change of scheme to get back to his 2021 level of plays.
The Packers also used a first-round pick this offseason on former Georgia Bulldogs linebacker Quay Walker. While he showed flashes of potential in the season opener against the Minnesota Vikings, the rookie linebacker is struggling and hesitating rather than being decisive and aggressive attacking downhill.
Neither starting linebacker is playing well right now, so do the Packers need to add more help at the position? The Packers have already spent significant assets on both players, while also having some backups in Krys Barnes and Isaiah McDuffie who contribute on special teams.
Instead of adding more help at the position, the Packers could decide to part ways with defensive coordinator Joe Barry in favor of a new defensive coach to find ways to get the two talented linebackers more involved defensively.