The NFL is about to lose another great player to retirement. On Sunday, Aug. 26, wide receiver Eric Decker revealed his plans to retire from the game, only weeks after signing a one-year contract with the New England Patriots. He’s played pro for eight seasons, scoring 53 touchdowns.
Decker announced his retirement in a touching statement posted to his Instagram account on Sunday afternoon. Football had been a “childhood dream,” the former wide receiver wrote, and “a passion inside of me since I was a little boy.”
“But I know now it is time to hang my helmet up and start a new chapter in my life,” Decker continued.
Read the rest of his statement below:
Decker has had a stellar football career over the last decade, but he’s so much more than a professional athlete. Here are five things you probably didn’t know about the NFL player.
He’s A Reality TV Star
When Decker wasn’t scoring touchdowns on the field, he was filming his reality TV show, “Eric & Jessie: Game On,” with his wife, country singer Jessie James Decker. The hit E! series ended its second season back in 2014, but the network revived “Eric & Jessie” for a third installment that premiered last September.
He’s A Father Of Three
The Deckers are parents to three children: daughter Vivianne “Vivi” Rose, 4, and sons Eric “Bubby” Thomas Jr. and five-month-old Forrest Bradley. “We are so in love,” Jessie James Decker wrote in a sweet Instagram post just days after giving birth to Forrest on March 31.
He Also Rescues Animals
In addition to their respective music and sports careers, the Deckers are also philanthropists. The couple founded the New York-based Eric and Jessie Decker Foundation to help improve the lives of military service members, veterans and rescue animals. The foundation’s main initiative, Deckers Dogs, rescues and trains dogs to become service animals for soldiers returning home with physical disabilities and mental health issues.
He Has Worked As A Model
Tall, dark and handsome, it’s no surprise that Decker has worked as a model. In 2014, the veteran wide receiver became a celebrity brand ambassador for men’s fashion house Five Four Club (now known as the Menlo Club), a monthly membership program that curates outfit packages.
Football Isn’t The Only Sport He Plays
Before signing on to the Patriots, Decker played for the Denver Broncos, New York Jets and Tennessee Titans during his eight-season career. But football is not the only sport the 31-year-old athlete plays. He’s an avid golfer and loves fishing, and played baseball and basketball while attending Rocori High School in his hometown of Cold Spring, Minnesota.
Decker may be leaving his football career behind, but it’s clear the former NFL player has a bright future ahead of him.