Ryan Lilja's NFL career will end where it began, right in Kansas City. Lilja told the Kansas City media on Monday that he has decided to retire, ending his eight-year career.
Lilja had been on the injury report almost every week down the stretch of the season. It's no surprise that he was hurting.
This has to be the toughest season of Lilja's career. Not only were the Chiefs horrible, but the starting center, Rodney Hudson, went down earlier in the season, forcing Lilja to play center for the first time in his NFL career. And, you know what, he actually did a pretty good job, earning strong grades.
Lilja's NFL career started in Kansas City back in 2004 as an undrafted free agent. He's from Kansas City and went to K-State, so he was a local boy.
He left Kansas City and went to the Indianapolis Colts, where he was a guard for one of the best stretch of offense in NFL history behind Peyton Manning.
In 2010, Lilja was a surprise cut by the Colts and he returned to Kansas City, where he played the last three seasons.
Lilja is 31 years old.
I always liked him. He was a professional, and spoke to the media after games. He was honest, too, telling you straight up when he screwed something up (like the snap at the goal line against Baltimore).
The Chiefs will now need a new starting guard.
So long, Ryan Lilja.