-- JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Jaguars left tackle Branden Albert retired on Monday morning without playing a snap for the team that acquired him in a March trade.
"This is such a special league and it's been an honor and a privilege to play this sport professionally for the past nine years," Albert said in a statement released by the team. "I wish Coach [Doug] Marrone and my Jacksonville teammates the best of luck on their journey this season. During my short stint in Jacksonville, I quickly realized that they are working incredibly hard to turn the corner and I truly believe that they will find success in the coming years."
The Jaguars sent their 2018 seventh-round pick to Miami in March for Albert. As a result of Albert's decision, the Dolphins will return that draft pick to the Jaguars.
Albert's decision caught several Jaguars by surprise.
"We were just talking about the season and everything like that so to come in here this morning and hear that, it was a big surprise," tight end Marcedes Lewis said. "He was in here yesterday doing extra. We were just talking. I guess when you get a certain age you just know. When it's done you just know and I think that this morning he woke up and was like, 'I'm good. Walk away.'"
The two-time Pro Bowl lineman skipped the Jaguars' offseason conditioning program and organized team activities because he wanted a new contract, but Jaguars general manager David Caldwell said the team was not reworking Albert's deal.
Albert, 32, did participate in the team's mandatory three-day minicamp in mid-June.
He had two years remaining on the five-year contract he signed with Miami in 2014. He was due a base salary of $8.875 million in 2017 and $9.575 million in 2018, though none of that money was guaranteed.
"I'm not going to speak for him. I'm just going to say what was said to me, 'I'm going to retire.' And then my mind goes on to the next thing, like, 'OK, we've got to get ready for practice," coach Doug Marrone said. "It's not something that happened last night, where we had a lot of time to think about. I really haven't put a lot of thought into it. My thought was into practice and the rotation, the position, things of that nature."
Even though they had acquired Albert in March, the Jaguars used the 34th overall draft pick to select Alabama left tackle Cam Robinson. Marrone said last week that Albert and Robinson would compete for the starting job at left tackle. Albert worked with the first-team offense on Thursday, and Robinson took reps there on Friday and Saturday.
"I was just as surprised as everyone else. I had no idea, so I wish him the best and whatever. Great guy, learned a lot from him in just the little time he was here," Robinson said.
The starting job now belongs to the 6-foot-6, 320-pound Robinson, who started 42 games in three seasons with the Crimson Tide. He started immediately as a freshman in 2014 and won the national championship in 2015.
Albert hasn't played a full season since 2011 when he was with Kansas City, which selected him 15th overall in 2008. Albert has missed 20 games over the past five seasons, including four last season.
"I look forward to returning to Miami, the place that I now call 'home,' and running my businesses, while giving back to the community," Albert said. "While this chapter of my life is coming to an end, my story is still going and I hope you'll follow along."