Ex-Texans star Whitney Mercilus retires from NFL

Former Texans standout outside linebacker Whitney Mercilus has retired from the NFL.

Mercilus, 31, is a former Texans first-round draft pick from Illinois who was released last season and played for the Green Bay Packers.

He played for the Texans for a decade before joining the NFC North franchise last season.

Mercilus, one of the most active players in the community and the league in terms of philanthropy, retires with 58 career sacks, 13 forced fumbles and nine fumble recoveries and two interceptions.

Mercilus released the following statement upon his retirement.

"After ten seasons in the NFL, I have finally made the decision to hang up my cleats and announce my retirement. Looking back, I was just a kid from Akron, Ohio, who didn’t start playing the game until I was a freshman in high school. I had no idea at that moment how my life could change forever. 

There’s so much this game has taught me. From being a great teammate, to being a forever student of the sport. From understanding the importance of integrity, discipline, and a relentless pursuit of being the best athlete and person on and off the field. From adapting to new environments and getting comfortable being uncomfortable. To pushing my body and mind to its absolute limits, and understanding the importance of taking care of my mind, body, and spirit. The lessons I’ve learned in this game, I will take with me for the rest of my life. 

This decision was not an easy one, but I am excited and ready to walk into this new season of life. God has given me the opportunity to play this sport professionally for ten years, and He has given me this path to continue to walk within His purpose. 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. 

Words can’t express how grateful I am for those who were a part of this journey with me. There are too many people to thank as there have been so many who have been pivotal in my career the last 17 years. However, please know that if you have been a part of this football journey with me, I am speaking to you. So, thank you. 

I want to thank my family. Thank you for the sacrifices you’ve made, your unconditional love, support, patience, and guidance. I love you all! 

Green Bay Packers, thank you for accepting me with open arms and taking a chance on this vet!! Playing for this organization in the historic Lambeau Field will be something I will never forget. The spark I felt the moment I stepped foot onto Green Bay will be with me forever.

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 our ups and downs as a franchise, and am grateful for all the experiences we’ve had together! 

To all of my coaches and staff whom I’ve had the pleasure playing for over the last 10 seasons, thank you! We went to battle every game, and I thank you for your wisdom, lessons, and guidance throughout my career. 

To my support staff, athletic trainers, massage therapists, doctors, and chiropractors for helping me maintain my body in peak conditions and also for helping me in times of injury. You ALL are truly the MVPs!

To my teammates new and old, I’ve cherished every single one of my relationships with you. I’m going to miss game days, flights back from a big W, and just hanging out in the locker room! We’re family for life! Thank you for all the memories.

To my fans, thank you for supporting me these last ten years. I have been very grateful and blessed to have all of you cheer me and my teammates on every single game day! We play this game for you, and the support I’ve received from both the Texans and the Packers is something I’ll cherish! 

It’s a bittersweet goodbye, but I am very much looking forward to the next season of life. Exploring new passions, businesses, and investing in myself. I am grateful that I can willingly walk away from this sport that has given me so much, and I am looking forward to giving back along the way. I can’t wait for the next chapter of my life and what God has in store for me! God bless, and thank you! "

Merci Out ✌🏽"

Detroit Lions v Houston Texans

Photo: Getty Images

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