Tarrant told RichmondFC.com.au on Thursday he retires with "nothing left in the tank."
"I know if I do not announce it today, I will keep trying to play, and I am worried about where that will land me come season's end," Tarrant said in a statement.
"Having missed the draft as a 17-year-old, I knew from then on that if I was going to make it, I was going to have to work as hard as I could.
"And I finish up today knowing that I have done that."
While Tarrant's first three AFL seasons were plagued by injury, his hard work eventually saw him become one of the league's most consistent defenders, possessing an innate ability to trouble opposition key forwards.
Since crossing over to Punt Road from Arden Street at the end of the 2021 season, Tarrant continued to effectively shut down dangerous key forwards, playing a pivotal role in Richmond's 2022 finals campaign.
After 194 games, including 20 in the Yellow and Black, Robbie Tarrant has called time on his 16-year AFL career.
Thank you, Taz 💛
— Richmond FC 🐯 (@Richmond_FC) July 13, 2023
Richmond General Manager Football Talent Blair Hartley commended Tarrant's contribution to Richmond.
"We brought Robbie to our football club because we admired how he went about things on and off the field and knew that he would make us a better team," Hartley said in Thursday's club statement.
"Across his two years with us, he displayed all his great traits, setting an example and providing leadership for younger players.
"While this year did not work out for Robbie due to his injury troubles, he certainly put his best foot forward and gave himself every chance due to diligence and work ethic.
"Robbie can be proud of his time with Richmond and in the AFL. Across 16 years, he has been a brilliant player, and we wish him and his family all the best. They are always welcome at Richmond."
Tarrant's retirement is effective immediately.