Vandal legend Iupati calls it a career after 11 NFL seasons

Seattle guard Mike Iupati blocks for Russell Wilson against the Arizona Cardinals during the 2019 season.

Mike Iupati of the Seattle Seahawks, a former University of Idaho All-American lineman and mainstay at guard in the NFC West division, has retired from football after an 11-year NFL career.

The Spokesman-Review first reported the news. Iupati indicated to the paper that his reasoning stemmed from the toll taken by injuries throughout his career.

“My body was telling me it was time to close the door,” he said.

But “Big Mike” added that his goal had been to hit 10 years in the NFL, and he passed that.

Iupati, a first-round draft pick of the San Francisco 49ers in 2010, stayed in the Bay Area until 2014, then inked with the Arizona Cardinals for a stint from 2015-18.

He started at left guard for the Seahawks the past two seasons, and was named a Pro Bowl alternate in 2019. But issues with his neck, knee and back this season kept him out of several games. He told the paper that a chronic neck condition was a convincing factor to retire.

Iupati, 33, earned All-Pro nods in 2015 and 2012, and played in four Pro Bowls. He never won a Super Bowl, but was a starting standout with the 49ers when they lost to Baltimore in the big game in 2013.

He was a two-time All-WAC guard at Idaho, and was tabbed a consensus All-American as a senior for the memorable 2009 season, which UI capped with a wild 43-42 Humanitarian Bowl win over Bowling Green.

Iupati joins NFL Hall of Famer Jerry Kramer, former Seahawk John Yarno and three-time Super Bowl champion Mark Schlereth on the list of legendary Idaho linemen.

According to ESPN, the American Samoa native earned about $50.75 million during his career.

Iupati and his wife, Ashley — whom he met in Moscow — have settled down with their four children in Star, Idaho, just outside Boise. He told the Spokesman that he would like to “help out with the high school” someday.

The Iupatis recently made a significant contribution to UI’s athletic department to be used to support the “Fueling Center,” a facility in the Kibbie Dome whose purpose is to provide nutrition to student-athletes.

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