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Ex-Gopher Eric Decker announces retirement from the NFL

Decker signed with the Patriots on Aug. 2 but is calling it a career.

Former Golden Gophers star wide receiver Eric Decker is calling it a career in the NFL. 

Decker, who signed with the New England Patriots on Aug. 2, announced on Instagram that he's ready to retire at age 31. 

"This has been a passion inside of me since I was a little boy but I know it is time to hang up my helmet and start a new chapter in my life," said Decker, who grew up in Cold Spring and went to ROCORI High School in central Minnesota.

Decker played eight seasons in the NFL with the Broncos, Jets and Titans, racking up 439 catches for 5,816 yards and 53 touchdowns. His best seasons came in 2012-2013, the first two years of Peyton Manning's career with the Broncos. In those two seasons, Decker piled up 172 catches for more than 2,300 yards and 24 touchdowns. 

Decker starred for the Gophers from 2006-2009 and is still the school's all-time leader in receptions and receiving yards, and he ranks third all-time in touchdown catches. 

The fact that Decker couldn't catch on in New England could be a good sign for former Viking Cordarrelle Patterson, who is in the mix to be one of Tom Brady's go-to options. The only other receivers in New England are Julian Edelman (starts the season with a four-game suspension), Chris Hogan, Phillip Dorsett, Matthew Slater, Riley McCarron, Braxton Berrios, Devin Lucien and Paul Turner. 

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