Malcolm Jenkins is walking away from football.
The former Eagles safety and two-time Super Bowl champion announced his retirement Wednesday, ending a 13-year career in which he spent six seasons with the Eagles and seven with the New Orleans Saints.
Jenkins, 34, was drafted by the Saints in the first round of the 2009 NFL draft and spent five seasons there before signing with the Eagles. The best years of his career came after signing with the team. From 2014 to 2019, the Piscataway, N.J., native was regarded as one of the best safeties in the league, became an instrumental leader, and went to three Pro Bowls.
“After 13 seasons, my time on the football field has come to an end,” Jenkins wrote in a social media post. “I’m just a boy from Piscataway, who through this game, became a champion in the sport and a champion for the people. My time on the field may be over, but I’ll never stop fighting for the people.”
Former Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz capitalized on Jenkins’ versatility, often changing up his responsibilities depending on the opponent. He played deep safety, in the box, slot corner, and was even a pass rusher at times. He had a pass breakup and four tackles in Super Bowl LII, including one vicious hit on Patriots wide receiver Brandin Cooks in the second quarter of the Eagles’ 41-33 win.
Jenkins retires with 1,044 career tackles, 21 interceptions, 20 forced fumbles, and seven defensive touchdowns. He was also remarkably durable; he never missed a start with the Eagles and played 100% of the team’s defensive snaps every year but 2017, when he sat for a few plays in a meaningless Week 17 game.
Jenkins was one of the best leaders in Eagles history during his time with the team and was an outspoken supporter of social justice reform. He did plenty of work in the community and co-founded the Players Coalition, a group of NFL players who advocated for racial and social equality across the country.
In a statement released by the team, Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie thanked Jenkins for his time spent with the organization.
“In so many ways, Malcolm Jenkins defined everything we want a Philadelphia Eagle to be,” he said. “He was talented, intelligent, versatile, and reliable. He was physically and mentally tough. He led with his words, with his actions, and with the professionalism he brought every single day to our building.
“He never took a single snap off — not in a game and not in a practice. Few players have ever had a personality and a style of play that meshed more perfectly with the City of Philadelphia. He contributed to so many memorable moments during his six years in Philadelphia, including our first Super Bowl Championship.”
Jenkins spent the last two years of his career back with the Saints after the Eagles released him when the two sides couldn’t agree on a contract extension following the 2019 season. Jenkins said then that he hoped to be remembered among Eagles greats once he retired even though he didn’t finish his career here.
Jenkins still considers Philadelphia home and expressed his admiration for the city in a letter he penned two years ago after he was released.
“Unfortunately, for whatever reason, I wasn’t able to ensure that my name would end up on the back of an Eagles jersey this year,” Jenkins wrote in an essay published by The Players’ Tribune. “But hopefully the legacy that I leave behind will last in the most important way: Over time. And maybe then, maybe one day in the future when I’ve hung up my cleats, I can be in the company of the Eagles greats. It would be a dream come true.”