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'A bittersweet goodbye' | Longtime Houston Texans' linebacker Whitney Mercilus retiring

Mercilus made the announcement on Instagram Wednesday.

HOUSTON — Outside linebacker Whitney Mercilus says he’s retiring, ending a 10-year career in which he made 58 sacks.

Mercilus, 31, announced his decision Wednesday via Instagram. The 2012 first-round draft pick from Illinois spent nearly his entire career with the Houston Texans before playing four regular-season games and one playoff contest with the Green Bay Packers last season.

“This decision was not an easy one, but I am excited and ready to walk into this new season of life,” Mercilus said in his Instagram post. “God has given me the opportunity to play this sport professionally for 10 years, and He has given me this path to continue to walk within His purposes. I am grateful that I can walk away from football with absolutely zero regrets, a boatload of memories, lessons, lifelong friends, and a heart filled with gratitude.”

Mercilus addressed the Texans in his post, saying, “To the McNair Family and the Houston Texans, thank you for selecting me in 2012 to be a part of your organization. I was able to make Houston my home with my family and I wouldn’t have wanted to be anywhere else. It was an honor to play for the Texans for nearly a decade! I appreciated all of our ups and downs as a franchise, and am grateful for all the experiences we’ve had together!”

Mercilus also had messages for the Texans, Packers and former teammates. You can read Mercilus' full Instagram post announcing his retirement below. 

Mercilus had all but one of his 58 career sacks with the Texans. He had a career-high 12 sacks in 2015. He had 7 ½ sacks in 2016 and earned second-team honors in the All-Pro balloting that season.

He played six games with the Texans last season before they released him. Mercilus signed with the Packers shortly afterward and played four games before going on injured reserve with a biceps injury.

Mercilus missed the rest of the regular season but returned to play in the Packers’ NFC divisional playoff loss to the San Francisco 49ers.

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