As expected, San Francisco 49ers center Weston Richburg is set to retire before the 2021 season.
According to Niners insider David Lombardi, head coach Kyle Shanahan confirmed the original reports during a press conference on Tuesday. Richburg will reportedly wait until June 2 in order to help save the team cap space heading into next season.
Shanahan confirms that 49ers center Weston Richburg will retire, as previously reported. He is waiting until June 2 to save SF 2021 cap space
— David Lombardi (@LombardiHimself) May 25, 2021
Earlier this offseason, the 49ers reconstructed Richburg’s contract to save $6.875 million in cap space. But, even when this move was made, the overwhelming thought was that the seven-year veteran would retire prior to the 2021 season.
Richburg missed the entirety of the 2020 season with shoulder, knee and hip injuries. After the former second-round draft pick underwent hip surgery back in February, NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport reported there was no timetable for his return and that he’d likely played his last game in San Francisco.
Richburg began his career with the New York Giants back in 2014. After starting all but one game through his first three NFL seasons, the young center suffered a season-ending concussion after playing just four games in 2017.
He then signed a five-year, $47.5 million contract with the 49ers where he returned to his role as a consistent starter — notching 28 starts through the 2018 and 2019 seasons. Unfortunately, the injury bug caught back up to him just before the Niners’ Super Bowl run when he tore his patellar tendon in Week 14 of 2019.
Richburg will be replaced by a more-than-solid center option in Alex Mack. San Francisco signed the six-time Pro Bowler to a three-year deal in mid March — just a few weeks after the news of Richburg’s unlikely return broke.