And while it wasn’t news anyone around the Jaguars wanted to hear, it was news many knew was coming, and Meester said it made sense to announce it now.
Meester, a 14-year veteran center and the longest-tenured player in Jaguars history, on Wednesday said he will retire from the NFL after the Jaguars’ final regular-season game next Sunday in Indianapolis.
“I’m going to make this my last two games and retire at the end of the season,” Meester said Wednesday as the Jaguars (4-10) prepared to play the Titans (5-9) at EverBank Field Sunday at 1 p.m.
Sunday’s game against Tennessee will be his final home game.
“I think there will be a bunch of emotions,” he said. “It’s going to be tough leaving this game because I’ve done it for so long. I know I’m going to miss the memories and the things that happen in the locker room, but it’s going to be exciting, too.”
Meester said he will have family at Sunday’s game as well as at the team’s final regular-season game at Indianapolis.
“It will be exciting to have them there,” Meester said.
Meester said he has been considering the decision for a while, and has thought for a while he likely would retire. But he said he stayed up late thinking about it following the team’s loss to Buffalo Sunday.
“It’s always hard to leave something you’ve done for a long time,” he said. “This is something I love doing. I love playing with this team. I love this group of guys. Sometimes, when you do soemthign that long it’s hard to say know to it.”
Meester who signed a one-year deal to play this season, said coaches and management asked he return for a 15th season.
“The option was there,” he said. “They’d given me that option.”
Meester, played collegiately at Northern Iowa, said he and his family will move back to Iowa following his retirement. He said spending time with his six daughters also factored into the timing of his decision.
“My oldest will be 12 – before you know it, she’ll be out of the house,” Meester said, adding with a laugh, “I know I have five more coming, but she’s going to be gone before you know it. Family means a lot and it means a lot to be able to spend some time with them.”
The Jaguars moved to a zone-gap blocking scheme this season, and have improved dramatically as run-blocking line in recent weeks. They have run for more than 100 yards in each of their last four games after not doing so in the first 10 games, and coaches and teammates in recent weeks have credited Meester’s leadership in assisting that transition.
Meester, originally a second-round selection by the Jaguars in the 2000 NFL Draft, is the only player to have played for all five Jaguars permanent/interim head coaches – Tom Coughlin, Jack Del Rio, Mel Tucker, Mike Mularkey and Gus Bradley.
Meester has played in a franchise-record 207 games, 36 more than wide receiver Jimmy Smith. His 207 starts are 57 more than Smith’s 150. Meester also has the two longest consecutive starts streaks in franchise history – 92 from 2000-2005 and his current streak of 88.
For more on Meester’s retirement, check back later Wednesday on jaguars.com.