Cardinals tight end John Carlson retires at age 30

It has been an offseason of early retirements, and Arizona Cardinals tight end John Carlson is next in line.

"After much thought and consideration, my wife Danielle and I know that this is best decision for us," Carlson said in a statement released by the team. "I was blessed to play seven seasons in the NFL for three tremendous organizations - the Cardinals, Vikings and Seahawks. I will always treasure the experiences and relationships made during that time but I'm also very excited about the next phase of my life and what's ahead."

Carlson was on the back end of a two-year, $4.65 million contract he signed in 2014.

A second-round pick out of Notre Dame in 2008, Carlson had his best years as a rookie and sophomore with the Seahawks, catching 106 passes for 1,201 yards and 12 touchdowns.

A strong start earned him a five-year, $25 million contract with his hometown Vikings before getting cut and signed by the Cardinals.

Over his career, he had 210 catches for 2,256 yards and 15 touchdowns.

This is the second year in a row the Cardinals have had a tight end retire before the season started. Jake Ballard, the former Giants standout, walked away during training camp back in 2013.

Carlson did not provide a reason for his early exit, though it's safe to say it came as a surprise. He was working out with the team on Monday.

The team is not without help. Troy Niklas, a fellow Notre Dame product, was the team's second-round pick last year and figures to be a heavy factor in the Arizona's plans. Darren Fells, brother of Giants tight end Daniel Fells, will also step up after appearing in 10 games last year.

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