Back in 2015, the Arizona Cardinals robbed a division rival of one of their best offensive lineman. Mike Iupati, a guard who had spent the first five seasons of his NFL career with the San Francisco 49ers, had been lured to the desert. The 6’5, 331 pounder would stay with the Cards for four campaigns, starting 39 games for the club during that time.
This past Monday, Iupati announced that his days as a professional football player are now coming to an end. The 33-year old has been with the Seattle Seahawks for the past two years, after leaving Arizona as a free agent back in 2019. Iupati will be retiring, interestingly enough, after spending his entire 11-season stint in the league as a member of the NFC West.
Iupati made his NFL debut back in 2010, after being selected in the first round by the 49ers. The American Samoa native starred at the University of Idaho for four campaigns, and was a Consensus All-American in 2009. San Francisco made Iupati the 17th-overall choice, and the youngster started all 16 matchups for the squad as a rookie.
The 49ers had the mauling Iupati when he was at his best. Invitations to the Pro Bowl awaited the offensive lineman at the end of the 2012, 2013 and 2014 seasons. Iupati kept that streak going in ’15, when he received the honor once again following his first year with the Cardinals.
No Pro Bowls materialized for Iupati in Seattle, but the blocker was a solid performer during his two-season stint in the Pacific Northwest nevertheless. The talented guard was named an alternate for the game in 2019, however, while starting for the Seahawks. Iupati missed 11 contests in 2020 due to back and neck injuries.
Threre’s no arguing with the fact that Iupati had a sensational football career. Perhaps a nomination into the Pro Football Hall of Fame lies ahead for the powerful blocker. Iupati’s time with the Cards was relatively short, but the organization was certainly lucky to have him.