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Steve Gregory announces retirement from NFL

Veteran safety Steve Gregory announced his retirement from the NFL on Saturday.

The 31-year-old signed with the Kansas City Chiefs this summer as added depth alongside Eric Berry, Husain Abdullah and third-round pick Phillip Gaines.

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Gregory started 23 games for the New England Patriots the past two years. He played well in his 11 starts for a banged-up Pats defense last season, climbing all the way up into the No. 27 safety in Pro Football Focus' rankings.

After eight NFL seasons Gregory cited the birth of his daughter this offseason as giving him a new perspective on life. He said he plans to pursue a future in coaching.

The gritty defender started his career as an undrafted free agent and ends it with 357 tackles, seven interceptions, 25 passes defensed, three sacks and two touchdowns in 111 games with the Patriots and San Diego Chargers. (Gregory's most famous play as a Patriot will be forever remembered, as he was the man who scooped up Mark Sanchez's infamous butt-fumble and returned it to the house.)

With Gregory's retirement, the Chiefs are expected to be on the lookout for additional veteran help at the safety position.

Below is Gregory's statement in full, via his agent David Canter:

"It is with tremendous respect, appreciation, and admiration for the game of football that I've decided to announce my retirement effective immediately. After entering the game as an undrafted free agent, I was fortunate enough to play twice as long as the average player. This past offseason, my wife Rosanne and I were blessed to welcome a daughter, Aviana, and spending time with here has changed my life's perspective. It is my hope to continue in football as a coach and I look forward to what the future holds. I'm tremendously happy with my decision and being able to walk away from this great game both healthy and on my own terms. I would be remiss in announcing my retirement without thanking my great family, coaches, teammates, scouts, trainers, agent and all of the fans that have supported me along the way.

Thank you,
Steve Gregory"

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