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NFL linebacker retires from league after selling rare Pokémon card for almost $700K

NFL player Martinez retires now selling rare Pokémon cards

Want to take the chance of getting a serious injury in the NFL or retire and focus on selling Pokémon cards for your income? Seems like a silly question, but that is what an NFL linebacker was recently contemplating, and he decided that selling rare Pokémon cards sounded more fun to him, so he retired from the NFL mid-season.

Earlier this week, Las Vegas Raiders linebacker Blake Martinez announced he was retiring after seven years in the league, according to Yahoo! News. While he is still very young and retiring early, the reason for his retirement shocked many people. Martinez stated he was making enough money selling Pokémon cards, so he did not need the income he gets from playing anymore.

We aren’t sure of Martinez’s salary in the NFL, but he recently sold a very rare card for almost $700,000, so can you blame him?

Martinez was first drafted by the Green Bay Packers in 2016 and played four years with them. In 2020, he joined the New York Giants but suffered a torn ACL in 2021 and was released shortly after. He joined the Raiders this season and has been doing pretty well, as he recorded 11 tackles in his last game.

While he was working a career in the NFL, it seems like his true passion was selling these Pokémon cards. According to Yahoo! News, Martinez sold an extremely rare and valuable Pokémon Illustrator card just two weeks before announcing his retirement. The card was graded a 9.5 “Gem Mint” quality rating just last month, officials said. It was one of the best examples of this coveted card, and Martinez nicknamed it “The Swirllustrator” because of two small swirl marks in the artwork on the card. The card sold for $672,000 via Goldin auctions, Yahoo! News stated.


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A post shared by Blake Martinez (@blakes.breaks)

While this was a big sale, it was not Martinez’s first time buying and selling Pokémon cards. He is a big fan of the cards and has been collecting them for years, but that love for collecting cards was reignited back in 2020. He’s using his Instagram platform to open old and new card packs and frequently shows off his finds online. He found the “Swirllustrator” during one of these pack openings.

In his Instagram post announcing his retirement, Martinez said, “I have chosen to step away from this career at this time to focus on my family and future passions.” That passion is taking the money he made in the NFL and using it to buy and sell rare Pokémon cards. It’s a lot easier than getting beat up every week in the NFL, so more power to him!

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