Former Dallas Cowboys running back Darren McFadden, officially waived by the team on Sunday, has announced his retirement from football.
He announced the decision in a letter posted to his Twitter account Tuesday afternoon.
“I have been extremely privileged to play in the [NFL] a long time and now that time for me is done,” the letter reads. “...I make this decision not with sadness or without further opportunity, but with a couple of days to reflect on how I feel and where I am at this stage of life.
“I know that this is the right move for me.”
McFadden was active in just one game this season, earning one carry for -2 yards in the Cowboys’ loss to the Atlanta Falcons on Nov. 12.
His absence from the Cowboys’ rotation was puzzling, especially after Ezekiel Elliott’s legal battle came to an end and Elliott, the starter and workhorse back for Dallas, was officially set to sit out six games.
Head coach Jason Garrett acknowledged that the veteran running back was not forecast to see many opportunities, even with the Cowboys on a three-game skid.
"Darren's been a really good player for us and has been just a first-class guy on our football team," Garrett said, according to ESPN. "And just the way the running back rotation has been and is probably going to be as we go forward he wasn't going to get many opportunities. We feel good about what Alfred Morris has done for us and Rod Smith, and we had some good discussions these last couple of days and felt like it was in the best interest of our team and really in the best interest of Darren McFadden as well to release him and give him another opportunity to go somewhere else."
During the offseason, McFadden was the leading candidate to take the starting job if and when discipline was handed down to Elliott.
McFadden, 30, played just three games in 2016 after suffering an elbow injury before the season. The year before, his first with the Cowboys, he put up 1,089 yards as the team’s lead back.
The fourth overall pick in the 2008 NFL Draft, McFadden played his first seven seasons with the Raiders, putting up 4,247 yards and 25 touchdowns in 83 games with Oakland.
Read McFadden’s full retirement announcement below:
"Today, I am announcing that I am retiring from the NFL. I have been extremely privileged to play in the League a long time and now that time for me is done.
I want to thank so many people who have helped me along the way. First, and most importantly, are my family. My wife Tanya, who has been there with me through all of the ups and downs. Of course, my parents - Graylon, Cookie and Mini - without them I would not be the person I am today - they always supported me and pushed me to be the best I can be. Thank you Mom, Mom and Dad.
Second, I also would not have had the success I had without many great coaches and teammates along the way. To all of my offensive lines - thank you [for] paving the way for me with your blood and sweat. To all the rest of my offensive teammates - thank you for helping me succeed. I want to acknowledge a few coaches as well - all of my high school coaches and especially Coach John Mayes; all of my college coaches - especially Houston Nutt, Danny Nutt and Tim Horton; all of my NFL coaches - especially Tom Rathman, Kelly Skipper and Gary Brown.
I also want to thank the Raiders - especially Mr. D, and the Cowboys - especially the Jones family.
A very special thank you to Leecie Henson for keeping me straight in high school and helping me get to college.
Also, I want to thank my agent - Ian Greengross. Everything that happened to me - good or bad - he was always there for me and I think of him like family.
Finally, I just want to say that I make this decision not with sadness or without further opportunity, but with a couple of days to reflect on how I feel and where I am at this stage of life. I know that this is the right move for me. I look forward to what the future holds - spending some more time with my family, pursuing some outside interests and, of course, going to a few Arkansas football games! #WPS [Arkansas rallying cry “Woo Pig Sooie”]"
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