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Guard Matt Slauson retires after 10 seasons in NFL

Matt Slauson is calling it a career.

The longtime interior lineman announced his retirement via Instagram on Wednesday:

Slauson might have had a few more seasons of reliable play left in him had he not suffered a frightening back injury early in the 2018 season. The guard played through Indianapolis' Week 5 loss to New England with two fractured vertebrae, an injury he sustained early in the second half of the game. Playing with such an injury included a high risk of paralysis.

"I felt like if I could stand," he recalled to the Indianapolis Star's Zak Keefer, "I could play."

Slauson was placed on injured reserve after that game and missed the rest of the season. It's safe to say that injury affected how Slauson, who will be a free agent in March, viewed his career and his life after football.

"I had no idea how close I was to changing my family's life," he told Keefer.

A Nebraska product, Slauson entered the NFL as a sixth-round pick of the Jets in 2009. He became the team's starting left guard in 2010, replacing veteran Alan Faneca, and filled the role until he departed New York for Chicago in 2013.

There, Slauson earned his time as a Bear, playing on a one-year deal in 2013 before landing a four-year contract in 2014. He played just two seasons of that deal, though, as Bears GM Ryan Pace cut the veteran in 2016. The veteran had no problem finding work, landing with the Chargers in their final season in San Diego in 2016 and sticking with them through the 2017 season.

Slauson made his way to Indianapolis in 2018 as a seasoned lineman with the potential to help rookies Quenton Nelson and Braden Smith acclimate to the NFL game quicker than most. His wisdom was also useful to starting center Ryan Kelly and inserted starter Mark Glowinski as Slauson morphed into a player-coach after his injury (per the team site's Andrew Walker) helping the Colts become one of the NFL's best offensive lines in just one season.

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