Titans LG Hutchinson retires after 12 NFL seasonsAP , Associated Press
Mar. 12, 2013 6:21 PM ET
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Titans left guard Steve Hutchinson has decided to retire after 12 NFL seasons, the last cut short by a knee injury that limited him to 12 games.
Hutchinson announced his decision Tuesday morning on Twitter and the Titans confirmed it.
"Retiring today after a great run in the NFL," Hutchinson wrote. "Want to thank the (at)Seahawks, (at)Vikings, (at)TennesseeTitans and their fans for the opportunity."
A seven-time Pro Bowler and five-time All Pro, Hutchinson started all 169 games he played, He spent his first five seasons in Seattle, six with Minnesota and his final season in Tennessee. He signed a three-year deal with Tennessee in March 2012 and was due to earn $4.75 million this season along with a $500,000 roster bonus due later this week. His retirement will save Tennessee $3.75 million against the salary cap.
"Hutch obviously had a great career in this league," Titans coach Mike Munchak said. "Over the past decade, he was the best guard in the league in my opinion. I've always enjoyed watching him on tape, how he dominated guys. It was great getting a chance to work with him this year and to know him a player and a person. I wish him and his family the best in retirement."
The Titans wasted little time trying to fill the void.
A person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press that the Titans have agreed to terms with Buffalo guard Andy Levitre to help replace Hutchinson. The person also said the Titans have agreed on a deal with San Francisco tight end Delanie Walker. The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because both deals are pending the players passing physicals.
The Tennessean first reported that Levitre had agreed to a six-year, $46.8 million deal.
The 35-year-old Hutchinson was placed on injured reserve Dec. 5 after hurting his right knee in a 24-10 loss to Houston.
"I appreciate all the love. It's all of you fans that make this the greatest sport in the world."
The Titans also waived safety Jordan Babineaux and guard Mitch Petrus once NFL free agency opened Tuesday afternoon. The Titans had signed Babineaux to a two-year contract in March 2012 after landing him just after the NFL lockout for the 2011 season. He started 12 of his 16 games, but he was due to earn $1.6 million this year and the Titans signed veteran safety George Wilson last month.
General manager Ruston Webster thanked all three players in a statement for their time with the Titans.
"Hutch has been a great player and I am happy for him that he can walk away from the game under his own terms," Webster said. "I have been with Babs for several years in both Seattle and Tennessee and I have always respected how he played the game."