“It has been my childhood dream and my passion to play the game of football,” reads Decker’s statement, in part. “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 this is time to hang my helmet up and start a new chapter in my life.”
Decker, 31, inked a one-year, $1.5MM deal with New England earlier this month, but he’d been facing an uphill battle to earn a spot on the Patriots’ 53-man roster. New England, which released fellow pass-catcher Kenny Britt earlier this week, is now down to Chris Hogan, Phillip Dorsett, Cordarrelle Patterson, among others, as it waits for Julian Edelman to return from a four-game suspension.
A third-round pick in 2010, Decker became a starting receiver for the Broncos in 2011, but his career took off the following season when Denver added Peyton Manning under center. Decker averaged 86 receptions, 1,176 yards, and 12 touchdowns per year with Manning, and subsequently inked a five-year, $36.25MM pact with the Jets.
Decker was excellent through two seasons in New York, but injuries limited him to three games in 2016 and led to his release. A one-year accord with the Titans followed, and Decker posted 54 catches, 563 yards, and one score in what will become his final NFL action.
Interestingly, Decker’s name had recently appeared in trade talks, tweets Tom Pelissero of NFL.com. Decker had reportedly been struggling with the Patriots, so it’s unclear what kind of market may have existed for the veteran receiver.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.