“I’ve decided I’m hanging up the cleats” he said. “I’m looking forward to the next chapter of my life.”
The 31-year-old spent a decade in Houston after the Texans selected him in the first round of the 2012 Draft. During most of that span, he was an integral part of the team’s defense, pairing with J.J. Watt as their most consistent and effective pass rushers. The year which sticks out the most statistically is 2015; in that campaign, he posted 12 sacks, 14 tackles for loss and a forced fumble.
Mercilus’ time in Houston coincided with the team’s most successful years. He was a member of five division-winning squads (out of six in franchise history, which remain the only ones to qualify for the postseason). While the team never made it past the Divisional round of the playoffs, the Illinois alum played a consistent role throughout his tenure in the Lone Star State. Overall, he totalled 57 sacks in 134 games with Houston, along with another seven in eight postseason contests.
He saw his playing time reduced in 2021, however. As the team transitioned to the likes of Jonathan Greenard and Jacob Martin, Mercilus was released. That led to his mid-season signing by the Packers, who were looking for pass rush help in the absence of Za’Darius Smith. A biceps tear limited his time in green and gold to just four games, however.
Ultimately, Mercilus will be remembered as one of the top players in Texans’ history; his retirement announcement indicated that he will now focus more time on family and his foundation.