After 16 seasons, Sam Koch is calling it an NFL career. The longtime Ravens punter, an All-Pro special-teamer and Super Bowl champion who played more games than anyone in franchise history, announced Thursday that he is retiring at age 39. One of the most consistent punters of his time, Koch will join the Ravens' staff as a special teams consultant starting in 2022.
"Being able to wear that helmet, wear that jersey, I wanted to come in and represent the name on the back of that jersey ... not only for myself but, more importantly, my family," Koch said in an announcement video. "Being able to share the field with such iconic players is something that I'm gonna cherish forever. ... I thank you, Ravens Flock, for being there to help support me over these 16 years -- through my ups, through my downs."
A number of past and present Ravens also appeared in Koch's announcement video to pay tribute to the punter, including quarterbacks Lamar Jackson and Joe Flacco, offensive lineman Marshal Yanda, defensive end Haloti Ngata, kickers Justin Tucker and Matt Stover, long snapper Morgan Cox and general managers Eric DeCosta and Ozzie Newsome.
Koch, who missed just one game over the course of his 16-year career, retires as the Ravens' all-time leader in games played (256). A Pro Bowler and All-Pro in 2015, three years after helping the team win the Super Bowl, he never averaged fewer than 43 yards per punt during a season, first arriving as a sixth-round pick out of Nebraska in 2006.
"Sam has revolutionized the game of football," Ravens special teams coach Randy Brown said in a team statement. "He introduced the idea that punters could have different types of punts, as well as have punts designed to place the ball inside the 10-yard line and to keep the ball away from returners ... As a whole, every punter in the NFL owes Sam Koch a debt of gratitude for being the pioneer of change on how punting is executed in this league."
Koch is set to be replaced on the field in 2022 by rookie Jordan Stout, a fourth-round pick out of Penn State.