Salford Red Devils can confirm that skipper Lee Mossop has been forced to retire with immediate effect following medical orders.
Prop Mossop joined Salford in 2017 from Wigan Warriors and became captain in 2018. Throughout his career, Mossop has had 11 reconstruction operations on his shoulders to try and prolong his career as much as possible.
Although we are sad to see our skipper go, we have, and will, fully support Moose in the next stages of his life as he prepares for a career outside of rugby league.
Walking into the The Salford Stadium off the back of the 2016 campaign that almost saw Salford relegated to the Betfred Championship, Mossop played a pivotal role in changing the fortunes at the club with the recent success of the last two years.
In 79 appearances for the Red Devils, the prop scored 7 tries – a few of those in big games.
Moose captained Salford to our first ever Grand Final in 2019, scoring a massive try against his former club Wigan at the DW Stadium in the Semi-Final.
The following season, the 32-year-old led Salford out at Wembley for their first Betfred Challenge Cup Final appearance in 51 years.
Speaking on his retirement and his time at the club, Mossop said: “It’s with great sadness that today I have to announce my retirement from rugby league. It’s been no secret that I have struggled with shoulder issues the majority of my career but after seeing the surgeon last week, he has told me there are no more surgeries he can offer to help prolong my career anymore and instead, it will be one final operation to give me a better quality of life with my wife and young children.
“I’d like to thank firstly my family and friends who have supported me through my career, the clubs and supporters I have represented and the players who I have shared a field with.
I joined this club in 2017, planning on only being here one year as I thought I’d be forced to retire then but with a lot of hard work from the coaches and physio staff here, I’ve managed to represent this club for almost 5 seasons and been lucky enough to make some unbelievable memories for a club that I now love!
“I was lucky enough to lead this team out in a Grand Final with my little girls, which will always be one of my main highlights of my career. The fans have been fantastic to play in front of and the most passionate I have met.
“On behalf of me and my family, I thank Salford Red Devils and everyone associated with it for 5 incredible years. We will always owe a debt of gratitude to you.”
Salford Red Devils head coach Richard Marshall said: “What a fantastic career Lee leaves behind. Any good leader or captain’s purpose is to leave the shirt, club and environment in a better place. Well Moose ticks all those boxes. Since my first week at the club he has been a pleasure to work with. His passion for the team is unwavering. He leads by example both on and off the field.
This has not been an easy decision and more so when it’s taken out of your hands. He told me a few weeks ago that this was likely to end his career but said he would wear the shirt for as long as possible. Unfortunately, the time came when he couldn’t carry on. The consultant was adamant he had to finish due to chronic shoulder problems that have plagued him for several years. Being the true professional he is, he tore up preseason and started well. However, the game is unforgiving and it was simply too much to keep backing up.
“Lee leaves behind a great career and memories of trophy wins, overseas success and international honours. He should be proud of all he has achieved and more so the person he is today which has been shaped by all his experiences. We wish himself Chloe, Eden , Nancy and Flynn all the success in the future and a wonderful restful retirement.”
Director of rugby and operations Ian Blease added: “This is really sad news for Lee and the club, but I would like to put on record how Lee has been the ultimate skipper and supreme professional for the club since his arrival in 2017. I spoke to Lee retiring early in the week and I was truly gutted for him. It was a very emotional dressing room after the game on Friday against Wigan when he told the rest of team that he was hanging his boots up for good immediately. To see professional rugby league players sharing that emotion with Lee will be something that we all remember forever .
“As a natural leader, Lee has epitomised our club’s desire and ambition to compete at the highest level, not forgetting Lee leading us to our first Grand Final appearance and our first Challenge Cup appearance for over 50 years. Lee knows he is making the right decision for himself and his family now so he can have a quality of life after rugby. I totally respect his decision and it will be a hard task to replace a leader like Moose.”