Former Broncos wide receiver Eric Decker and tight end Julius Thomas each announced his retirement from the NFL on Friday and Sunday, respectively.
The two were prolific receiving threats for Denver with Peyton Manning under center, recording a combined 34 percent of Manning’s 140 touchdown passes during his time as a Bronco. Decker and Thomas were also major parts of the Broncos offense’s record-setting 2013 campaign en route to Super Bowl XLVIII. Decker caught 87 passes for 1,288 yards and 11 touchdowns while Thomas tallied 65 receptions for 788 yards and 12 touchdowns, as the offense set a multitude of NFL records with its passing proficiencies.
Decker, who joined the Broncos after he was selected in the third round of the 2010 NFL Draft, spent his first four seasons with the Broncos, leading the team in touchdown receptions in 2011 and 2012. He set a franchise record with four touchdown receptions in a single game in 2013 and was named AFC Offensive Player of the Week for his performance. Decker is also tied with Thomas for the second-most receiving touchdowns in a two-year stretch (24), behind only Demaryius Thomas (25 in 2013-14). Following the Super Bowl season, Decker joined the Jets in 2014 as a free agent and spent three seasons with them before finishing his playing career with the Titans in 2017.
Decker announced his retirement in an Instagram post Sunday, saying, “It has been my childhood dream and my passion to play the game of football. I was very fortunate and blessed to have had the opportunity to have those dreams fulfilled and to have played with such extremely talented and hard-working teammates, coaches and staff.”
Julius Thomas, a fourth-round pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, became a two-time Pro Bowler for the Broncos before departing in free agency in 2015. In Thomas’ two years as a Pro Bowler from 2013-14, no tight end totaled more touchdowns than his 24. In 2014, he earned AFC Offensive Player of the Week honors in the season opener after recording seven receptions for 104 yards and three touchdowns. After his time with the Broncos from 2011-14, Thomas spent two seasons with the Jaguars before his final NFL season with the Miami Dolphins.
In an article on The Players’ Tribune, Thomas announced his retirement from the NFL and his intention to return to school to earn a doctorate in psychology to study therapy and brain disease.