One of Mac Jones’ oldest friends with the Patriots decided to hang up his cleats.

James Ferentz announced his NFL retirement Monday afternoon. The veteran center was entering his fifth season in New England when the franchise selected Jones 15th overall in 2021, and Ferentz was along for the ride across the quarterback’s first three pro campaigns in Foxboro, Mass.

Shortly after the 34-year-old took to Instagram to deliver his retirement announcement, Jones entered the post’s comments section to pass along some kind words to Ferentz.

“Appreciate you bro!!!” Jones wrote. “I remember you were the first dude I ever met in the locker room and one of the best!!! Good luck in your next chapter!”

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Jones wasn’t the only current or former Patriot to salute Ferentz on Instagram. As of Tuesday morning, Bailey Zappe, Deatrich Wise, Mike Onwenu, Atonio Mafi, Devin McCourty, Jason McCourty, Jarrett Stidham and Rex Burkhead were among the ex-teammates who passed along well wishes to Ferentz.

As for the “next chapter” Jones mentioned, coaching seems like a natural next step for the Iowa product. Ferentz’s father, Kirk, has been the Hawkeyes head coach since 1999 and the 10-year veteran reportedly was a de facto player-coach for the Patriots last season.

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