Roddy White, the Atlanta Falcons‘ all-time leading receiver, announced his retirement Friday.
“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.
The Falcons released White after the 2015 season, and he did not play in 2016. The 2005 first-round draft pick from UAB finished his 11-year NFL career with 10,863 receiving yards and 63 touchdowns on 808 receptions. The four-time Pro Bowler had six consecutive 1,000-yard seasons between 2007 and 2012.
White told ESPN the only team he wanted to play for after being released by the Falcons was the New England Patriots. There was contact between the two sides, but the Patriots never extended a contract offer.
“I wanted to go down there and play for coach [Bill] Belichick,” White said. “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 said he had an offer to sign with the Tennessee Titans before the 2016 season but decided not to pursue the opportunity. Titans offensive coordinator Terry Robiskie was White’s longtime position coach with the Falcons.
White appreciated his time with the Falcons despite his spat with former offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan at the end. He hopes to have his jersey retired by the team.
“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.”