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Brad Meester to retire after season

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Fourteen years is enough for Jacksonville Jaguars center Brad Meester.

The longest-tenured Jaguar announced Wednesday he will retire after this season, ending a career that began in 2000 and has spanned every coach in team history.

"It's something I seriously thought about for a long time," Meester said. "It's been a tough decision for me because this is something that I love doing. I've done this for a long time and I truly love doing this, but the more and more I thought about it, the more I know that it's time and I'm looking forward to that next chapter in my life and being able to spend some time with my family."

Meester said he didn't reach a decision until late Sunday, after the Jaguars' 27-20 loss to the Buffalo Bills. He informed coach Gus Bradley and general manager David Caldwell of his decision on Monday.

"I think sometimes if you do something for that long, it's hard to say no to it," Meester said. "I kept thinking maybe I should come back. Maybe I should try and do another one. I had talked to a bunch of people, and the option was there for me to come back and try to do this one more time if I wanted to. But the more and more I kept thinking about it, the more my family played into it."

The 36-year-old Meester owns franchise records for games played and started (207) as well as the two longest steaks of consecutive starts (92 and 88). After being selected in the second round of the 2000 draft out of Northern Iowa, Meester started at left guard in his first three seasons before moving to center to begin the 2003 season.

He said he never would have believed he'd last 14 seasons, play for four head coaches and set team records.

"First I was hoping to get past that first year, to be honest with you," Meester said. "Then it was like, I really want to get past this first contract. And then before you know it, I was telling my wife, I would love to have a great career and play 10 years.

"Ten years is an awesome career, it really is. And then we got to nine and we had that discussion then, [and] then I was like I think I kind of want to go for, maybe, 12. Twelve would be unbelievable. It kind of just kept adding up. I don't know what happened there."

Meester has missed only 15 games in his career because of injury, none since 2008.

Dependability and intelligence are hallmarks of his career, said defensive tackle Sen'Derrick Marks, who played against Meester during his four seasons with the Tennessee Titans.

"He's not a guy that's a mauler that just knocks you off the ball," Marks said. "He's just a crafty guy, gets in your way, knows exactly what it takes to get you off balance, and knows exactly what it takes to get the running back by. Just a smart guy."

Meester also has a great locker room presence, something Marks did not know until he joined the Jaguars this season. Marks said Meester is respected by everyone, not just the offensive linemen, but he couldn't resist joking with the guy he called an elder statesman.

"You can tell he's 42. You can tell he's got nine kids," Marks said. "You can tell he's been in the league for 23 years. That's Meester. He comes in dressed in baggy pants, just looking like an old guy, but that's him.

"Everybody enjoys him. He gets along with everybody, causes no trouble; just all-around team player. He just does his thing."

Meester, who has six daughters ranging in age from 7 months to 11 years, said he plans to return to Iowa (he has a home outside Iowa City and a hunting property in southern Iowa) and work on motorcycles.

He already has his first customer -- teammate Maurice Jones-Drew, although Jones-Drew says he's never going to ride it.

"Well, it's his first one, so you know it won't be his best one," Meester joked.