When the time comes to retire, don’t expect Casey Wiegmann to make his announcement a big production. Knowing Wiegmann, a formal acknowledgment may not take place at all.
For now, the 38-year old center isn’t ready to say that Friday will be his final NFL practice or Sunday his last NFL game.
“It’s to be determined,” Wiegmann said of his retirement. “We still have a football game to play and we’re still trying to beat the Broncos. I’ll come in on Monday and say bye to everybody for this year. We’ll see after that.”
Wiegmann inked a one-year deal with the Chiefs in August and is set to become an unrestricted free agent this offseason. He’ll turn 39 before the 2012 season begins.
There was speculation earlier this year that Wiegmann would retire when he laid low throughout the spring and summer months, but the veteran signed on for his 16th season shortly after the NFL lockout lifted.
Seeking media attention for personal announcements has never been part of Wiegmann’s style.
“Kelly Gregg and I were just talking about looking on the news and seeing that Jason Taylor announced his retirement,” Wiegmann said. “I don’t think that I have to do that. That just brings more attention to yourself and that’s not me at all.”
With the lack of an offseason, the Chiefs were unable to develop adequate depth at center and re-signing Wiegmann became a necessity. Once again, Wiegmann came as advertised.
Wiegmann sets the line of scrimmage as the quarterback of the offensive line and never misses a snap. His active streak of 11,102 straight snaps at center dates back to September of 2001 and is one of the most impressive streaks in all of sports.
He’s fought through both finger and calf injuries this season, but has continued to stay in the lineup each week. Wiegmann will start his 175th consecutive game Sunday afternoon in Denver.
“There have been times (I thought the streak would end), definitely, but I’m here to play football,” Wiegmann said. “Even though there is pain in there, there is an understanding that you can’t be out.”
“It’s just marvelous and unbelievable that he’s stayed healthy through all of those snaps playing the position he plays because sometimes you have those big nose tackles on your nose and they beat you up,” head coach Romeo Crennel added. “They’re looking to beat you up basically and for him to be able to hang in there and get done what he has to do for that many snaps, that’s pretty good.”
Next year, second-round draft pick
Though he’s seen most of his action at guard this season, the Chiefs drafted Hudson as the heir apparent at center to Wiegmann. For that reason, Hudson’s locker was strategically placed next to Wiegmann’s throughout the season.
“I’ve learned a lot of stuff from a lot of great football players,” Wiegmann said. “I’ve been taught a lot of things through my years, even family values and everything else. You kind of take that with you wherever you go and you take that to heart and hopefully I can pass some of that on to the younger players and help them succeed.”
A native of blue-collar Parkersburg, Iowa - an agricultural town of about 1,900 people in northeastern Iowa - Wiegmann would be just as likely fade anonymously into an Iowa cornfield than hold a press conference announcing his retirement prior to a season officially ending.
“I’ve already got my own plan,” Wiegmann said. “I called my best friend last night and we have our own business. I’ll probably be (in Iowa) next weekend doing stuff to help out around our land. There is work to be done.”
Whatever Wiegmann decides to do, he’s almost assured to be successful in his next step.