It's been a rough day for the Raiders. Not only were they forced to put two key players on injured reserved, but the team is also losing Blake Martinez, who abruptly decided to retire on Thursday.
The 28-year-old linebacker revealed his shocking decision on Instagram.
"I'm announcing my retirement from the game of football," Martinez wrote. "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!"
To put it bluntly, this is a total shock. Martinez was one of the team's top defensive players during the Raiders' 27-20 loss to the Jaguars in Week 9. The linebacker, who played more than 90% of the Raiders' defensive snaps in the game, led the team with 11 tackles.
The Raiders originally signed Martinez to their practice squad on Oct. 4 and after just three days, they promoted him to the active roster. Since then, Martinez has played in all four games the Raiders have played.
Martinez was expected to see even more playing time going forward -- and likely would have been the starter -- after linebacker Divine Deablo was placed on IR Monday due to an injury he suffered against the Jaguars. The retirement (and Deablo's injury) leaves a gaping hole at linebacker for the Raiders and it comes on the same day where they lost two key players on the offensive side of the ball after Darren Waller and Hunter Renfrow were both placed on IR.
As for Martinez, his retirement comes after six and a half seasons in the NFL. His career started in Green Bay after the Packers made him a fourth-round pick in 2016. After four seasons with the Packers, Martinez landed in New York, where he spent two years with the Giants. During his first six seasons in the NFL, he started in 76 of the 80 games he played in.
Martinez missed most of the 2021 season after tearing his ACL and although he was planning on sticking with the Giants in 2022, the team surprisingly cut him in August.
In his retirement announcement, Martinez mentioned that he was going to focus on his future passions and one of those could be selling Pokemon cards (Seriously). Martinez once sold a card for $675,000 and apparently, he's been making a pretty nice living while selling the cards.
Raiders LB Blake Martinez just said he owns 40,000 cards and his business has made $2 million. https://t.co/jK1X6WlYlv— Vic Tafur (@VicTafur) November 3, 2022