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Leading up to his first Super Bowl appearance, Mike Person didn’t believe he was going to retire.

Then the San Francisco 49ers fell to the Kansas City Chiefs in the Super Bowl. Shortly after, the 49ers released Person, who was an all-American at Montana State.

Considering the physical toll he has taken and his desire to spend more time with his family, Person told that he is retiring after nine years in the NFL.

The 2011 seventh-round selection told the Chronicle in January he was “pretty close” to retiring in 2018. But he accepted an offer to play for the 49ers, the franchise that drafted him, mostly because Kyle Shanahan was the head coach. Shanahan was the Atlanta Falcons’ offensive coordinator when Person played there in 2015.

San Francisco was Person’s eighth stop in his career. Person had been cut by the 49ers in 2012, by the Seattle Seahawks in 2013, and by the Falcons in 2016, all seasons in which those teams made runs to the Super Bowl.

“People from Montana, they learn to adapt,” Person said in January. “They learn how to thrive through those challenges.”

Person started in 35 straight games and 42 total for the Bobcats. He was a first-team all-Big Sky pick in 2010 when MSU won a conference title.

The Glendive native became the ninth Montana-born player to play in a Super Bowl, committing just two penalties and allowing one sack in 2019.

Person spent his entire rookie season on the 49ers’ roster and was cut in 2012 having not yet appeared in a game. He was with the Indianapolis Colts for 10 days, then the Seahawks, Rams, Falcons, Chiefs, Colts again and then returned to the 49ers.

Person signed in 2018 to compete for a backup role but wound up winning the competition for the starting right guard spot over a group of players that included former first-round draft pick Joshua Garnett. Person started 33 games the past two years and 48 regular-season games with 76 total appearances in his career.

By avoiding injuries and staying healthy and available, he shot up San Francisco’s depth chart. The 49ers signed Person to a three-year, $8.25 million contract extension in March 2019. The team freed up $2.5 million in cap space by releasing him in March.

Shanahan valued Person because of his familiarity with the playbook and his fit in San Francisco’s zone run scheme. His ability to play guard or center provided versatility. The coach also lauded Person for keeping in good condition and remaining ready for his chances to play.

“Over the last two years, Mike proved to be a selfless player whose passion for the game was respected by everyone in our organization,” 49ers general manager John Lynch said in a press release when Person was cut. “His character and professionalism was a great influence in our locker room, while his fire and grit on the field added to the physical nature of our team. We thank Mike and wish him, his wife, Kelly, and their children nothing but the best in the future.”

With Person in the interior of the offensive line, the 49ers ended up as the No. 2-ranked rushing team in the NFL despite a steady change at running back. San Francisco totaled 612 rushing yards in three postseason games.

Person, 32, suffered a neck injury and missed the last two weeks of the 2019 regular season. But Shanahan wanted Person back in the starting lineup when he was ready.

“I always liked Mike a lot too, and then when he got here he was better now than I think he was even (in Atlanta). He’s very versatile,” Shanahan said. “He’s a very reliable guy, a guy you know is going to be there day in and day out, and we feel very fortunate that we kind of fell into him last year and he’s helped us a lot.”

Person badly wanted to win the Super Bowl. But through a career littered with tribulation, his teammates believed Person was a role model because of his perseverance.

“There’s always going to be better days ahead for you,” Person said in January, “if you just keep on pounding through what you’re going through right now.”

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Colton Pool can be reached at or 406-582-2690. Follow him on Twitter @CPoolReporter.