Saints lose a veteran offensive lineman to retirement ahead of the NFL Draft

A day before the start of the 2024 NFL Draft, the New Orleans Saints are saying goodbye to one of their veteran linemen who announced his retirement.
New Orleans Saints v Los Angeles Rams
New Orleans Saints v Los Angeles Rams / Ric Tapia/GettyImages

Offensive line is the top priority for the New Orleans Saints entering the 2024 NFL Draft, and on Wednesday, a day before the start of the draft, that need got even more severe for the Saints. Veteran offensive lineman James Hurst took to Instagram to announce that he’s retiring.

Hurst, who’s 32 years old, coming off his 10th season, declared his plans in a lengthy caption. He explained that he was thankful to be able to play this game, and credited his faith as a reason he was able to excel as a player and as a person. He went on to thank his wife, saying that his career would’ve ended much sooner without her support. He ended his thanks to her by saying that he’s excited for their next chapter as new parents.

Saints lineman James Hurst retires

Hurst also went on to thank his family, coaches, and teammates. He ended his statement by thanking the sport of football for all it’s done for him, from teaching him life lessons, to introducing him to close friends, and providing him with incredible experiences.

It's the end of a good career for a player that went undrafted back in 2014. Despite not being drafted, James Hurst played six seasons with the Baltimore Ravens and four with the New Orleans Saints. In his career, he played in 150 games, starting 95. That includes the 15 games he started for the Saints last season.

New Orleans now must figure out how it’ll move on without Hurst. The only returning starting offensive linemen on the roster now are Erik McCoy, Cesar Ruiz, and Ryan Ramczyk, who’s dealing with a knee issue that could keep him sidelined. The Saints were already expected to take a tackle in the first round of the draft and that now seems like a certainty.