Lichtensteiger, who played in 93 career games with 75 starts and was with the Redskins from 2008-2016, announced his retirement Friday.
“After much thought and consideration, I have decided to retire from the National Football League," he said in a statement released by the team. "I am grateful beyond words to the Washington Redskins organization. I would like to thank the ownership as a whole and specifically Dan Snyder and his family for the opportunity to play the bulk of my career here in Washington."
After consecutive injury-plagued seasons, it was hardly a lock Lichtensteiger, 31, would return.
The Redskins shifted Spencer Long to center in 2016, taking over after a calf injury landed Lichtensteiger on injured reserve, though he returned to the active roster later in the season.
The former fourth-round pick by the Broncos in 2008 served as a starter at guard and more recently center during his time in Washington. Signed as a free agent in 2010, Lichtensteiger was the third-longest-tenured member of the Redskins, trailing only defensive lineman Kedric Golston and safety DeAngelo Hall. After his stint at guard, he started 24 regular season games at center across the 2014-16 seasons. His streak of 53 consecutive starts ended with a neck injury in Week 5 of the 2015 season.
“We want to congratulate Kory on a very successful career,” Redskins Head Coach Jay Gruden said. “Kory has been a class act both on and off the field and worked tirelessly on becoming the best player he could possibly be. Kory defied the odds of being undersized because of his competitive spirit, accountability and attention to detail. It also helps to be tough as hell. We want to thank Kory for his relentless effort and leadership and wish him all the best in his future endeavors.”
His absence may hurt the locker room, but won't have a major impact on the unit's play. Never the biggest of linemen, Lichtensteiger was due to cost the Redskins $3.8 million toward the salary cap in 2017.
Here's the rest of Lichtensteiger statement:
“I have had many great coaches and teammates and I owe a great deal to many people for helping me make a career in this league. For any newcomer or unestablished player to hang around, he has to have people who believe in him. I will forever be grateful to Mike Shanahan and Jay Gruden for giving me that trust.
“I want to say thank you to the wonderful fans of the Washington Redskins. My chapter is ending, but there are great things happening in the organization! There is a lot to be excited for and I am ready to join the already great fan base in cheering for this team!
“I want to thank the entirety of my family for all their unwavering support and love. Surely, none of this would have been possible without them. Thank you to my agent, who has been with me through good times and bad.
“Finally, I would like to thank Bruce Allen and Scot McCloughan. When I came to them after the season and shared my thoughts, they were extremely gracious and agreed to let me to ‘retire a Redskin.’ This is a great business, but it is indeed a business. And for that reason, I am thankful to be treated as family in the final hour of my playing career. Hail to the Redskins!”