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Retiring Steelers NT Hoke broke into NFL during 2001 season

PITTSBURGH -- Steelers nose tackle Chris Hoke is retiring from the NFL.

Hoke, 35, spent 11 seasons with the Steelers after originally signing with the team as an undrafted rookie free agent out of Brigham Young in 2001.

Hoke was a valuable backup during his career. The Steelers went 17-1 in games he started, including a 2-0 mark in 2011.

Hoke sustained a neck injury following a 17-13 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars in October. The injury required surgery, and the Steelers placed Hoke on season-ending injured reserve in December.

Popular in the locker room and the community, Hoke's traditional "hokey pokey" served as the official opening of training camp. He spent the latter part of his career mentoring youngsters such as Steve McClendon and Ziggy Hood.

Hoke played in 114 games during his career, finishing with 81 tackles and 2 sacks.

Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press

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