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San Francisco 49ers Announce Rookie DE Has Retired

A closeup of a 49ers football helmet. Kyle Shanahan revealed his starter between Jimmy Garoppolo and Nick Mullens ahead of Week 3.

SANTA CLARA, CA - AUGUST 30: A San Francisco 49ers helmet on the sidelines during their preseason game against the Los Angeles Chargers at Levi's Stadium on August 30, 2018 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

A lot of NFL careers are likely to end when teams make their final 53-man roster cuts. But one player has decided to retire a little earlier than that.

According to Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle, the 49ers said that rookie defensive end James Lockhart has retired. San Francisco had only just claimed Lockhart on waivers from the Pittsburgh Steelers on Saturday.

Lockhart played defensive line in college, first at Texas A&M and later at Baylor. In his two years with Texas A&M, Lockhart appeared in just eight games and recorded 12 tackles, with one tackle for loss.

Lockhart found far greater success at Baylor after sitting out the 2017 season. As a junior he recorded 11 tackles, three tackles for loss and his first sack. He had a breakout season as a starter for the Bears in 2019, recording 31 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss and 6.0 sacks - all career-highs.

Despite a strong senior year at Baylor, Lockhart went undrafted and latched on with the Steelers. But after the team brought up linebacker Jayrone Elliott, Lockhart became expendable. He was waived on Friday.

Lockhart is only 23 years old though and 2020 has been a far crazier year than usual. As we've seen recently, there's always room for someone to come out of retirement and find a team if they've got the skill.

Hopefully Lockhart has plans for a post-football career though. Times are tough on everyone right now.