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Veteran NFL Star Pass-Rusher Announces Retirement

One of the NFL's best pass-rushers of the 21st century is hanging up the cleats.

Seven-time Pro Bowler defensive end Dwight Freeney has made lives a little bit easier for offensive linemen, as the 38-year-old announced his retirement Thursday:

His team of 11 years, the Indianapolis Colts, announced the news:

Freeney and former Colts teammate Robert Mathis formed one of the most dominant pass-rushing tandems ever, leading Indianapolis to a Super Bowl 43 championship. The Colts also reached Super Bowl 44, where they lost to the New Orleans Saints.

Freeney led the NFL in sacks during the 2004 season with 16. He finishes with 125.5 career sacks, tied with Terrell Davis of the Baltimore Ravens for 17th-most in NFL history. Freeney also had seven seasons of double-digit sacks.

After spending 11 years with the Colts, Freeney moved on to the San Diego Chargers, where he spent two years and helped them reach consecutive seasons. He then had stints with the Arizona Cardinals, Atlanta Falcons, Seattle Seahawks and Detroit Lions. Freeney and the Falcons reached Super Bowl 51, where they lost to the New England Patriots.

A seven-time Pro Bowler, Freeney is most definitely a lock for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He was one of the most feared pass-rushers of the 2000s and early 2010s, and was virtually unblockable.

Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Among other accomplishments, Freeney was a three-time First-Team All-Pro selection, 2003 Second-Team All-Pro selection and was named to the NFL 2000s All-Decade Team. He also had 47 career fumble recoveries and 17 passes defended, along with one defensive touchdown.

Freeney will also be remembered for his remarkable durability, having played at least 14 games in 13 seasons. From 2002 to 2006, he only missed one game. That is how you make yourself a shoe-in for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

It'd be no surprise if Freeney opted to head into a coaching role in the future. After all, how many NFL pass-rushers can say they learned and dominated the game the way Freeney did?

NEXT: NFL PLAYERS THAT NEED TO RETIRE

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Veteran NFL Star Pass-Rusher Announces Retirement