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Former Jets LB David Harris retiring after 11 seasons

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The Hitman is hanging them up.

Former New York Jets linebacker David Harris announced Friday through his representatives that he is retiring from football after playing 11 seasons in the NFL.

"After 11 years of having played the greatest team sport at its highest level," Harris wrote in a statement released by Sportstars, "it's now time for me to announce my retirement from the NFL."

Drafted out of Michigan in the second round of the 2007 draft by then-Jets coach Eric Mangini, Harris immediately became a consistent presence on Gang Green's defense. For over a decade in East Rutherford, Harris was the lynchpin for an at-times historic defense, patrolling the middle of the field and commanding respect from his teammates. From 2009 through 2016, Harris missed only one game due to injury and started at middle linebacker in the other 127 contests.

A run-stuffing machine, Harris was always among the team leaders in tackles and earned the nickname "Hitman" for his hard-slugging reputation in the middle of the field.

Harris was among the veterans (Nick Mangold, Brandon Marshall, Eric Decker) offloaded by Jets brass in the 2017 offseason. Following his unceremonious departure from the team, Harris signed with the rival New England Patriots in pursuit of an elusive Super Bowl title. After playing 10 games and starting six for New England, the linebacker was inactive for Super Bowl LII, as the Pats came eight points short of glory.

Despite his longevity and sustained success, Harris was never voted to a Pro Bowl and was named a Second-Team All-Pro just once, during New York's historic 2009 season, its first under Rex Ryan.

The 34-year-old Harris finishes his career with 153 starts, 1,109 tackles, six interceptions and 36.5 sacks in 164 games.

Oft overlooked and underappreciated by the national football press, Harris will be remembered by tri-state fanatics as one of the great defensive leaders in Jets history. Harris should be rewarded with a spot in the Jets Ring of Honor soon enough.

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