SANTA CLARA (CBS SF) — Veteran San Francisco 49ers Center Weston Richburg, who was sidelined last season by hip and knee injuries, announced Wednesday he has decided to retire from the NFL.

The announcement also helps the team with its salary cap woes. Since the announcement came after June 1, the 49ers will reportedly save $1.075 million in cap space for the 2021 season while also saving $3.5 million in dead cap space.

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Richburg was signed by the 49ers as a free agent on March 14, 2018. He went on to start in all 28 games in which he appeared at center for San Francisco. But his run with San Francisco has been plagued by injuries.

“Injuries are an unfortunate part of this game and I’ve reached a point where my body won’t allow me to continue playing and competing at a high level,” he said.

General Manager John Lynch said Weston not only had an impact on the field, but also as a leader in the lockerroom.

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“Weston was someone who made not only our offense, but our entire team better,” Lynch said. “He led by example through his detailed approach and the toughness in which he played the game. He was a tremendous player for our organization and will be missed both on the field and in the locker room.”

Weston said he felt blessed to have had a chance to play in the NFL.

“I consider myself extremely blessed to have played in this league and am so grateful for the experiences over the last seven years,” said Richburg. “I was able to play some good football all over the country and was fortunate enough to finish my career with the greatest franchise in sports. From top to bottom, the 49ers organization is comprised of some of the best men, women and athletes I’ve ever been around. To be just a small part of an NFC Championship and Super Bowl run is something I will never forget.”

Richburg, a 29-year-old native of Bushland, Texas, was originally drafted by the New York Giants in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft. Throughout his seven years in the NFL with the Giants and 49ers, he appeared in 79 regular season games with 78 starts.

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He attended Colorado State where he started a school-record 50 games throughout his collegiate career. As a senior in 2013, he started all 14 games at center and earned First-Team All-Mountain West honors.