“My Time On The Football Field Has Come To An End” | Malcolm Jenkins Retires, Leaving A Legacy Of Advocacy And Activism

Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Malcolm Jenkins is hanging up the cleats.

The former Eagles safety and captain made the retirement announcement Wednesday morning with an Instagram post and a special episode of “The Pivot” podcast.

Jenkins gave 13 years to the NFL and left an athletic legacy replete with two Super Bowls, three Pro Bowl appearances, and becoming the voice of reason for player activism and advocacy.

Jenkins Hanging It Up

“After 13 seasons, my time on the football field has come to an end,” Jenkins posted on Instagram. “When I first picked up a football, I was just a kid from Piscataway, New Jersey.

“Never did I imagine how far this game would take me, the opportunities it would afford me, the platform it would give me, the growth it would facilitate, or the blessings it would allow me to grant others.

“I am so grateful to my parents for supporting me, my girls for loving me, my time at Ohio State for molding me, the Saints for believing in me, the Eagles for allowing me the space to emerge into the leader I am today, and every single fan who has shown up for me along the way.

“This is just the beginning.”

The Jenkins Way

Jenkins was a decorated player in high school and at the Ohio State University. He was drafted by the New Orleans Saints in the first round of the 2009 NFL draft and won a Super Bowl during his rookie year.

“It’s been a long, long journey, but it’s the right time for me to do that transition,” Jenkins said on “The Pivot” podcast.

“For me, I’ve played the game at the highest level for 13 seasons, and I’ve accomplished, you know, Super Bowls, the Pro Bowls, all that there is to do in this game. When I came in, I always wanted to make an impact in the game, on and off the field, and I just feel like at this point I’ve accomplished that.

“You grind and put everything into this game in order to play at a certain level. You sacrifice your body, your time, your mental, and you perform at a certain level. I’m like, if I can do this at this level amongst the greatest in the world at what I’m doing I’m excited to put that energy into something else. It’s that time; I’ve been playing since I was 7 years old.”

A Two-Team Legacy

Jenkins went to the Philadelphia Eagles in 2014 and by 2017 was a two-time Super Bowl champion. His time with the Eagles is legendary.

He amassed 515 total tackles with 32 for loss in a Philadelphia uniform. He also compiled 58 defended passes, 12 forced fumbles, and six fumble recoveries, 11 interceptions, with four returned for TDs, and 5.5 sacks.

Jenkins reportedly didn’t miss a single game in his six-year Philadelphia career, taking nearly 100 percent of the defensive snaps.

Philadelphia also was where his leadership was displayed on the biggest plaform.

Advocate-Activist

In 2017, Jenkins co-founded the Player’s Coalition with Anquan Boldin “as an independent 501(c)(3) (charity) and 501(c)(4) (advocacy) organization, working with over 1400 professional athletes, coaches and owners across leagues to improve social justice and racial equality in our country,” according to their website.

Jenkins also served on the NFLPA Executive Committee board and is the 2017 winner of the NFLPA’s Byron “Whizzer” White Award for his outstanding charitable efforts off the field.

He also was named a visiting fellow at Harvard’s Weatherhead Initiative on Global History, becoming the first Black professional athlete to be honored with the fellowship.

I Did It My Way

“To be able to walk away from the game under my own power, and I know that’s a huge blessing, and I don’t take that for granted,” Jenkins continued on “The Pivot.” “To be able to choose to walk away from the game, not a lot of guys have the opportunity; usually, you get a road map, an apple, and they send you off, or you can’t perform or you stuck playing because you need the money.”

However, what is uncertain is which team Jenkins will retire with, the Saints or Eagles.

“I don’t know who I’ll retire as; I think if you ask me that question at different parts of my career, the answer will be different. I cut my teeth in New Orleans. Won a Super Bowl my rookie year, got an All-Pro selection, and just really learned the ins and outs of the game while I was in New Orleans, even the stuff off the field.

“A lot of the foundations and charities and activism stuff started in New Orleans, and then, obviously, when I got to Philly, it’s a bigger market, they let me play the position that I was supposed to play, my career takes off, I make the Pro Bowls, we win another Super Bowl and that’s really where I rise.

“It would be easy to say Philly, but when I needed it most, and I go out there and better myself to get paid, and I have to leave Philly to do such, New Orleans is right there to welcome me back home. Honestly, the last two seasons with the Saints, those were the two best defenses that I’ve been on in my career, had the most fun in my career, which I didn’t expect. It’s a good problem to have at the end of the day.”

Rhett Butler is a Boxing Writer Association of America Journalist, Play-By-Play Commentator, Combat Sports Insider, and Former Mixed Martial Arts and Boxing Promoter. The New York City native honed his skills at various news outlets including but not limited to: TIME Magazine, Money Magazine, CNN's Wolf Blitzer Reports, and more. Rhett hosts the PRITTY Left Hook podcast, a polarizing combat sports insider's take featuring the world's biggest names.