The hits just keep on coming today for the Las Vegas Raiders. Earlier, the team placed tight end Darren Waller and wide receiver Hunter Renfrow on injured reserve and now, linebacker Blake Martinez is announcing his retirement from the NFL.
Martinez posted on Instagram that he’ll be hanging ‘em up with the following caption:
I’m announcing my retirement from the game of football! 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!
The linebacker signed with the Silver and Black at the beginning of October, reuniting with defensive coordinator Patrick Graham as they worked together for two years with the New York Giants. Martinez made his debut with the Raiders in Week 5 against the Kansas City Chiefs and only played in four games with the club, logging two starts.
He racked up 20 total tackles for Las Vegas after playing sparingly in his first three games with the team, combining for just 42 defensive snaps in those contests. Ironically, he got the most playing time and had his most productive game of the season last week with 11 total tackles and 63 reps, or 91 percent of the team’s total defensive snaps.
Part of the reason for Martinez’s uptick in playing time against the Jaguars was fellow linebacker Divine Deablo suffered a forearm injury early in the game. That injury was significant enough for the Raiders to place Deablo on IR on Monday, leaving the Raiders thin at linebacker even before Martinez’s retirement.
That should pave way for rookie undrafted free agent Luke Masterson to get some more playing time over the next month or so. Masterson has primarily played on special teams this season but did record two total tackles on 11 defensive snaps last week. Darien Butler, another undrafted rookie linebacker, could also see some more action, and veteran backer Curtis Bolton will likely receive a promotion from the practice squad in the coming days.
Losing four starters in as many days isn’t exactly ideal for Las Vegas’ coaching staff, but they’ll have to figure things out quickly as Jeff Saturday and Indianapolis Colts are coming to town and looking to prove a lot of doubters wrong.
UPDATE 1:33 p.m.:
The Raiders announced Bolton will be added to the active roster and linebacker Reggie Ragland will take his place on the practice squad. Ragland played for Graham in New York last season and has 279 total tackles, 16 TFL and 3.5 sacks in his five-year career that has also included stops with the Buffalo Bills, Kansas City Chiefs and Detriot Lions.