Atlanta Falcons

Former Falcons WR Roddy White officially announces retirement from NFL

(USA TODAY Sports)

Roddy White, the leading receiver in Atlanta Falcons history, officially announced his retirement from the NFL on Friday.

White, who was released by Atlanta before the 2016 season, thanked team owner Arthur Blank and the Falcons “for a great 11 years.”

He also expressed his thanks to Atlanta by adding “I love y’all so much” in Friday’s Twitter post.

“I had so many people asking me if I was coming back and if I wanted to play, so no, I’m officially done,” White told ESPN. “I’m totally committed to this second phase of my life.”

White, 35, said the “next chapter” includes spending time with his children and serving as a volunteer coach at Johns Creek High School in the Atlanta suburbs. White will coach wide receivers and tight ends at the school.

White said the only team he wanted to play for after being released by the Falcons was the New England Patriots. While there was contact between the two sides, the Patriots never extended a contract offer.

“I wanted to go down there and play for coach [Bill] Belichick,” White told ESPN. “I think it was 2012, we practiced against them for like a whole a week. I learned a lot just practicing against those guys — how they conducted their business every day and how they just got ready for practice. Just evaluating their coaching staff and how they handled plays and how Tom Brady went out there and went through things … you wanted to be a part of that and just be in the building. So many people want to get there with New England. Not just me, but people around the league because they’ve got something special going on there.”

White, 35, is the Falcons’ career leader in receptions, yards receiving and touchdown catches. He did not land with another team after being cut by Atlanta.

The Falcons drafted White from Alabama-Birmingham in the first round of the 2005 draft. He was a first team All-Pro in 2010, when he led the league with 115 catches. He was a four-time Pro Bowl selection.

White said he hopes to have his jersey retired by the Falcons someday.

“It would mean a lot to me, but it would mean more to my family to have my jersey retired as a Falcon for life,” White said. “I would greatly appreciate it, but if it doesn’t happen, I wouldn’t be mad or upset. I put in my time. I did exactly what I could do and what was asked of me. And you know what? I had fun. At the end of the day, that’s all you can ask for.”

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