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Martellus Bennett retiring from NFL after 10 seasons

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The Black Unicorn is riding off into a technicolor sunset.

Recently released by the New England Patriots, Martellus Bennett indicated in a tweet Friday evening that he is retiring from football to focus on his "life's work" as the founder of The Imagination Agency.

Bennett confirmed via e-mail to NFL Network's Tom Pelissero that his tweet is in fact a retirement announcement.

As recently as two days ago, Bennett had not yet decided whether he'd pursue another year in the pros or frolic into retirement.

"Right now I'm just living life and trying to figure out what I want to do next," the 31-year-old tight end said Wednesday on The Rich Eisen Show. "Is it to continue to play? Is it to explore other options? What is it that I want to do?

"So it's just like where am I in a mental capacity overall? I don't have to play. I play football because it's fun. I enjoy stiff-arming people, jumping over people and competing with my friends and things like that. I've been working out, preparing to play."

Bennett's career spanned 10 seasons and five franchises. Drafted out of Texas A&M by the Cowboys in the second round of the 2008 draft, the unconventional personality lasted four seasons in Big D before playing one season with the Giants and enduring three tumultuous years with the Bears.

Bennett's best statistical season came in 2016 when he teamed up with Tom Brady and fellow tight end Rob Gronkowski in New England, where he scored a career-high seven touchdowns and won his only Super Bowl title. Bennett cashed in on his Lombardi march by signing a three-year deal with the Packers in 2017, but was unceremoniously released by Green Bay midseason following a spat with the training staff over a supposed shoulder injury. Bennett quickly re-signed with New England, but played just two games before landing on season-ending injured reserve.

Perhaps best known as a colorful, sometimes difficult locker-room character and the right brain of the Brothers Bennett, Martellus leaves a fine football legacy as well. Bennett exits the NFL with 433 receptions, 4,573 yards and 30 touchdowns, ranking among the top 13 tight ends in each category over the span of his career.

Whether Bennett's retirement-by-cartoon lasts past training camp remains to be seen; the tight end replied to Eisen, "Hell yeah!" when asked if he'd consider returning after sitting out offseason workouts. But if Bennett is truly leaving the game, he is departing for much more radiant pastures, as his tweet illustrates perfectly.

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