Wide receiver Jermaine Kearse announced his retirement from the NFL on Tuesday, writing on Instagram that he was “leaving the game feeling extremely grateful and content with what I was able to accomplish.”
Kearse, who grew up in Washington and scored a touchdown in the Seattle Seahawks‘ Super Bowl XLVIII victory over the Denver Broncos, wrote that it was a “complete honor” to play for the team and that he was “grateful I was able to help bring our first Super Bowl home!”
Kearse had a hand in some of the most significant plays in Seahawks history. In addition to his touchdown catch in Super Bowl XLVIII, he caught the go-ahead and game-winning touchdowns in consecutive NFC Championship Games. His 35-yard score against the San Francisco 49ers preceded Richard Sherman’s famous tip of Colin Kaepernick’s pass in the end zone. The next year, Kearse sent the Seahawks back to the Super Bowl with another 35-yard touchdown catch in overtime to cap an improbable comeback over the Green Bay Packers.
The 30-year-old Kearse, who signed with the Lions last season as a veteran who knew offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell’s offense, broke his left leg and injured his left ankle in Detroit’s preseason opener against New England in 2019. The Lions then placed him on injured reserve, ending his season.
The 6-foot-1 Kearse spent the first five seasons of his career with Seattle before being traded to the Jets on Sept. 1, 2017 as part of a deal for Sheldon Richardson. He had signed with Detroit last season to try to resurrect his career after a down year with New York in 2018, where he had 37 catches for 371 yards and a touchdown.
Kearse was a productive receiver in Seattle, playing 69 games (starting 51), while catching 153 passes for 2,109 yards and 11 touchdowns.
In his career, he had 255 catches for 3,290 yards and 17 touchdowns. He also had 31 catches for 493 yards and six touchdowns in the postseason. Kearse’s six postseason touchdown catches are tied with Doug Baldwin for the most in Seahawks history.
ESPN’s Brady Henderson and Michael Rothstein contributed to this report.