Saints lineman James Hurst retires after 10 NFL seasons

Cameron Jordan to Pat McAfee: I'm focused on winning a Super Bowl in New Orleans (1:15)

Saints DE Cameron Jordan joins Pat McAfee to discuss his football aspirations and his broadcasting plans once he retires. (1:15)

AVONDALE, La. -- New Orleans Saints offensive lineman James Hurst announced his retirement Wednesday, concluding a 10-year career in the NFL.

Hurst signed with the Baltimore Ravens as an undrafted rookie free agent in 2014 and played six seasons there as a left tackle and left guard. He signed with the Saints in free agency after the conclusion of the 2020 NFL draft and started 51 games over four seasons at both offensive tackle and guard.

"Every year playing this sport has been a blessing from God," Hurst posted to Instagram. "Football, and the people around it, have played a huge part in shaping me into the man I am today. Twenty-four of my thirty-two years of life have been spent training for and playing this game and retiring will be a huge, yet exciting, change in my life."

Hurst's retirement leaves the Saints with more offensive line questions on the eve of the 2024 NFL draft, which begins Thursday night (8 p.m. ET, ESPN).

Center Erik McCoy and right guard Cesar Ruiz are the only starters from the 2023 offensive line assumed to be in their same starting roles in 2024. Right tackle Ryan Ramczyk is battling knee issues, leaving his training camp status and potentially his season in doubt, left tackle Trevor Penning lost his starting role just five games into the season, and former left tackle/left guard Andrus Peat was not re-signed in free agency.

The Saints have the 14th overall pick in the draft, with a heavy need for an offensive tackle following the departures of Peat and Hurst.

"I think it's a good year for offensive players," Saints general manager Mickey Loomis said Tuesday of the draft. "That's probably the way I'd put it -- a little better offensively than defensively. ... I think everyone would say that the offensive line is a position of strength in this draft, and wide receivers. There's players at every position. It's just a matter of how we look at them vs. some of these other clubs."

Saints quarterback Derek Carr said Hurst will be missed.

"Once you get past 10 years, especially on the O-line and all that kind of stuff, those talks start happening in your head," Carr said Wednesday. "... Just his impact he made on our locker room, the friend he was to me, the teammate he was to me when we went through our struggles early on ... all that stuff matters, and he is one of those guys.

"As a teammate, as a leader, he is someone I looked up to."