HOUSTON -- Whitney Mercilus became one of the NFL's most consistent outside linebackers during his 10 seasons with Houston Texans. He now is ready to call it a career.
Mercilus announced via his Instagram that he would be retiring from the NFL. Mercilus, 31, spent all but three months of his career as a member of the Texans' defensive line, and now plans to create videos as a grill master for his family.
"I've decided to hang up the cleats," Mercilus said in a video thanking the fans. "I'm looking forward to the next chapter of my life. Also, I thought what really means a lot to me is spending more quality time with family. I decided that being the CEO of my business was calling me, and even more so I could be a voice for children with disabilities as part of my foundation."
Mercilus was drafted 26th overall by the Texans in the 2012 NFL Draft. Opposite J.J. Watt, and later Jadeveon Clowney, Houston has its three-headed pass rush that helped the franchise win five AFC South division titles during his tenure.
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Mercilus' best season came in 2015 when he recorded 12 sacks, 16 quarterback hits and 15 tackles for losses. Prior to the start of the season, he agreed to terms on a new four-year deal worth $26 million, $10.68 million of which was guaranteed.
Toward the end of his time in Houston, Mercilus became injury prone. He suffered a season-ending pectoral injury in 2017, limiting him to just five games. The following season, he only started nine games.
Mercilus was released in October following the Texans' transition from a 3-4 to a 4-3 defense under new coordinator Lovie Smith. He signed a one-year deal with the Green Bay Packers but suffered a torn bicep in Week 10 against the Seattle Seahawks. He would return for the Packers' Divisional Round loss to the San Francisco 49ers.
Mercilus recorded 362 total tackles, 58 sacks, 13 forced fumbles, and three interceptions for his career.