Blake Bortles quietly entered official retirement this offseason and is announcing it for the first time.
“I have not touched a football since January,” the former Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback said on a podcast. “I have officially retired.”
Bortles, the No. 3 overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, was with the Jaguars for five seasons and became a favorite pop culture name when “The Good Place” began referencing him. In 2019, he joined the Los Angeles Rams as Jared Goff’s backup and attempted two passes.
He spent time on the practice squads of Denver, Los Angeles, Green Bay and New Orleans without cracking a season roster. The former Central Florida quarterback dressed for the Saints in Week 16 last year as an emergency backup, but didn’t play.
“I didn’t tell anybody I retired,” Bortles, 30, said on Tuesday via NFL.com. “A couple of months ago, probably, just didn’t tell anyone. So, I guess you guys are kind of the first to hear it publicly, maybe?”
His start in the league was a rough one and the Jaguars went 3-10. He led the league in sacks (55) and yards lost (345). The following season he again led in sacks (51) as well as interceptions (18). Writers for “The Good Place” used it as a punchline used by the character Jason Mendoza, the every-Florida-man who would wear Bortles’ No. 5 jersey and sometimes go by the alias “Jake Jortles.”
But that 2015 season was the start to a three-year stretch of franchise success. He set single-season marks in passing yards (4,428 in 2015), touchdowns (35, ’15) and completions (368, ’16). The Jaguars went 10-6 in 2017 and reached the AFC Championship game, where they lost to the New England Patriots.
The success was short lived and Bortles was benched late the following season for Cody Kessler. He had gone 3-9 with 13 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. The Jaguars released him after the season.
He retires at No. 2 on the franchise’s all-time passing records of yards, completions and touchdowns behind Mark Brunell. In 75 games (24-49), he had 17,646 yards on 1,561 completions with 103 touchdowns and 75 interceptions. Brunell threw for 25,698 yards on 2,184 completions with 144 touchdowns and 86 interceptions. The Jaguars joined the NFL in 1995.