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Chris Long announces retirement after 11 seasons

Defensive end Chris Long is calling it a career.

The two-time Super Bowl champion announced via Twitter on Saturday that he is retiring from the NFL.

"Cheers," he wrote. "Been a hell of a journey. Eleven years and I can honestly say I put my soul into every minute of it. Highs and lows. I've seen them both and I appreciate the perspective. Gratitude and love to those who lifted me up."

The 33-year-old Long ends on a high note after receiving the 2018 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award this past February. His previous two Februarys included world championships. Long won back-to-back Super Bowls with the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles, with whom he played his final two seasons.

Long finishes with 70 career sacks and 15 forced fumbles over 11 seasons while playing in 162 of 176 possible games -- he started in 103 of them. His teams went 7-1 in the postseason.

He spent his first eight years in the league with the St. Louis Rams, who took him second overall in the 2008 NFL Draft out of Virginia. In 2011, he registered a career-high 13 sacks and earned NFL Alumni Lineman of the Year honors.

"When you look at everything Chris Long accomplished as a player and person, it's easy to see how fortunate we've been to have him on our team," the Eagles said in a statement. "Chris was everything that we thought he was and even more -- not only as a great player for our football team, but also in the community. There aren't many players who can say they won back-to-back Super Bowls and the NFL's Walter Payton Man of the Year award. He accomplished both with class and grace.

"There's no question that his work ethic combined with his unique talent made him into one of the greatest of this era's professional athletes. We're very thankful Chris chose to play for the Philadelphia Eagles, and congratulate him on a fantastic career. He will always be part of the Eagles family."

Long, of course, makes up one-third of a distinguished NFL family, as the son of Hall of Fame defensive end Howie Long and brother of Chicago Bears offensive lineman Kyle Long. He's made just as big a name for himself with his off-the-field efforts. Retirement from football might only be the beginning.

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