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Report: Former Seahawk Stephen Schilling retiring at 26

Bellevue native Stephen Schilling started three games in 2014, his only season with the Seahawks. (AP)

Stephen Schilling, a Bellevue native who spent last season with the Seahawks, is retiring from the NFL at 26.

Schilling said Thursday in an interview with Bob Condotta of The Seattle Times that the the Seahawks had talked to him about returning next season and competing for the starting center job – which is vacant after Seattle traded Max Unger – but that he is calling it a career after four seasons. According to Condotta, Schilling said he enjoyed his only season with the Seahawks and that it is “really difficult” to walk away.

Schilling attended Bellevue High School and spent his first three seasons with the Chargers, who drafted him in the sixth round in 2011. He signed with Seattle last offseason and made three starts at center before suffering a season-ending knee injury. According to Condotta, Schilling said he isn’t retiring due to health issues – which was the case with two other NFL players who have retired this offseason, 49ers linebackers Patrick Willis and Chris Borland – and that there is no one reason he’s walking away.

The Seahawks had hoped to re-sign Schilling – an unrestricted free agent – and add him to their list of options to replace Unger, who was sent to New Orleans in the Jimmy Graham trade. Patrick Lewis and Lemuel Jeanpierre also started games at center for Seattle last season, though Jeanpierre is an unrestricted free agent. Aside from Lewis, Jared Wheeler is the only other center on Seattle’s roster and has not appeared in a regular-season game.

Seattle has also shown interest in some available veterans, reportedly bringing in Stefen Wisniewski for a visit during the first week of free agency and meeting with Chris Myers earlier this week.