Longtime Houston Texans star Whitney Mercilus announced his retirement from football on Wednesday.
In the first of a nine-slide post on his Instagram, Mercilus wrote, “After 10 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.”
His sixth slide of the post was dedicated to his time in Houston.
“To the McNair Family and the Houston Texans, thank you for selecting me in 2012 to be a part of your organization,” Mercilus wrote. “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!”
Mercilus, who retires at the age of 31, went on thank his coaches and teammates, and wrote that he’s looking forward to “exploring new passions, businesses, and investing in myself” in his next phase in life.
Mercilus had spent the vast majority of his 10-year career with the Texans. The linebacker had been with Houston ever since he was the team’s first-round pick, 26th overall, in 2012. His 57 sacks rank second in team history only to J.J. Watt. Mercilus had three sacks and four tackles for loss in six games this past season with the Texans before getting released and finding a new home with the Green Bay Packers. In four games with the Packers, Mercilus had one sack and five tackles. He had a career-high 12 sacks in 2015 and was named 2nd team All-Pro in 2016.