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Veteran WR Cole Beasley retires after 11 NFL seasons

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Wide receiver Cole Beasley has decided to retire from the NFL after 11 seasons, his agent said Wednesday.

“He’s able to be along with his family after playing 11 seasons and it is time to be a full-time dad and husband,” agent Joel Turner told ESPN.

“His wife and children are still back home in Texas. They got here out for the primary game, went through the evacuation last week which the Tampa Bay organization hasn’t received near the credit they deserve for the best way they handled that ordeal [Hurricane Ian] — nothing but firstclass by the Glazer family, [general manager] Jason [Licht] and [head coach] Todd [Bowles] . He doesn’t wish to be separated from them anymore. He loves his wife and children and desires to be with them.”

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Beasley, 33, signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ practice squad on Sept. 20, and was called as much as the energetic roster 4 days later. He saw motion in two games — against the Green Bay Packers and Kansas City Chiefs — with 4 catches for 17 receiving yards. Beasley said upon signing with the Bucs that he didn’t know if he’d ever get one other opportunity to play again.

“For a young man that got here out of SMU that not one all-star game invited to play in, who prepared for his pro day figuring out by himself on campus and who 31 other teams within the NFL passed on as an undrafted free agent with only the Dallas Cowboys offering him a contract — he has had an incredible profession!” Turner said. “We couldn’t be prouder of him in every facet and appreciate each organization that he played for and allowed him to live the American dream. Cole all the time gave it his all!”

The Buffalo Bills had granted Beasley permission to hunt a trade in early March but ultimately released him.

Beasley finished with a career-best 82 receptions in each the 2020 and ’21 seasons with the Bills, who he signed with as a free agent in 2019. Nonetheless, he was fined multiple times for violating the NFL’s COVID-19 protocols last season and was an outspoken critic of the league’s COVID-19 policies, which have been relaxed this season. Beasley, who’s unvaccinated against COVID-19, missed a game last season after testing positive for the virus.

He said last 12 months that he did not have an issue with people being vaccinated or unvaccinated, but the flexibility to decide on is vital to him.

Beasley began his profession with the Cowboys, who he signed with as an undrafted free agent in 2012, and developed into one among the NFL’s higher slot receivers due to his ability to search out soft spots in zone coverages while also possessing elite quickness that made him difficult to match up in man-to-man coverage.

He finishes his profession with 554 receptions for five,726 yards and 34 touchdowns. He was never chosen to a Pro Bowl but was named a Second Team All-Pro by The Associated Press in 2020 when he set profession highs in receptions and yards (967).

ESPN’s Jenna Laine contributed to this report.

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