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WR Decker announces retirement

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New England Patriots wide receiver Eric Decker warms up before a preseason NFL football game against the Philadelphia Eagles, Thursday, Aug. 16, 2018, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

After struggling to catch the ball and seemingly having problems picking up the offense, veteran Patriots wide receiver Eric Decker announced via social media on Sunday that he's decided to put an end to his football career after eight seasons in the NFL.

"I now know it is time to hang up my helmet and start a new chapter in my life," Decker said, in part, in a statement posted on his Instagram account.

A post shared by Eric Decker (@ericdecker) on

Decker signed with the Patriots on Aug. 3, joining New England after training camp had already begun. He immediately got to work on the practice field and trying to learn the Patriots offense, but things were seemingly a struggle throughout the last three-plus weeks in Foxborough. He dealt with drops – both on the practice field and in preseason game action.

Decker spent last season with the Titans, where he caught 54 passes for 563 yards and a touchdown. He began his career as a third-round pick with the Broncos, going on to become a star in Denver with consecutive seasons with 80-plus catches, 1,000-plus and 24 combined touchdowns in 2012-13.

He also topped 80 catches, 1,000 yards and had 12 touchdowns in 2015 for the Jets, his second of three seasons in New York.

But arriving in New England it was clear that Decker wasn't the athlete he once was, showing an inability to beat coverage consistently as well as an alarming inconsistency catching the ball.

Decker becomes the fourth veteran receiver to depart the Patriots depth chart this summer, joining Malcolm Mitchell, Jordan Matthews and Kenny Britt, all of whom were released after battling injuries.

New England's depth at receiver is paper thin heading toward the regular season. Julian Edelman is not only returning from a torn ACL that sidelined him all of last season, but the slot target will be gone for the first four games of the year to an NFL suspension.

Beyond Edelman the receiver depth chart includes Chris Hogan, Phillip Dorsett, Cordarrelle Patterson, Matthews Slater, Riley McCarron, Braxton Berrios, Paul Turner and Devin Lucien.

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