Minnesota native and former Gophers football star Eric Decker announced his retirement from the NFL on Sunday after an eight-year career.
Decker, 31, had been in training camp with the New England Patriots after signing a one-year contract on Aug. 2. He had only two catches for 12 yards in the preseason.
The Cold Spring native and Rocori High School graduate caught 439 passes for 5,816 yards and 53 touchdowns in his career with the Broncos (2010-13), Jets (2014-16) and Titans (2017). He reached the Super Bowl with Denver in the 2013 season.
“It has been my childhood dream and my passion to play the game of football,” Decker wrote in an Instagram post. “I was very fortunate and blessed to have had the opportunity to have those dreams fulfilled and to have played with such extremely talented and hard-working teammates, coaches and staff. This has been a passion inside of me since I was a little boy but I know now it is time to hang up my helmet and start a new chapter in my life.”
From 2012 to 2015, Decker averaged 82 receptions, 1,085 receiving yards and 10 TD catches per season.
He established career highs in 2013 in Denver when he caught 87 passes for 1,288 yards with Peyton Manning as his quarterback. That same season he was on the receiving end of 11 of Manning’s NFL-record 55 touchdown passes.
Decker played for the Gophers from 2006-2009 and is the school’s all-time leader in receptions and receiving yards.
He was drafted by the Broncos in the third round of the 2010 draft.