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Seahawks Jermaine Kearse
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Former Seahawks WR Jermaine Kearse retires from the NFL

Jermaine Kearse caught the game-winning TD in back-to-back NFC Championship games. (AP)

Jermaine Kearse, the homegrown wide receiver who made some of the biggest catches in Seahawks history, is calling it a career after eight NFL seasons.

Kearse announced his retirement Tuesday morning in a heartfelt message on his Instagram account.

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“After 8 years playing in the NFL, I’m leaving the game feeling extremely grateful and content with what I was able to accomplish out there on the field not only for myself, but my family as well,” the post reads. “Going through some extreme highs and some extreme lows has taught me a lot about myself and by the grace of God he was able to pull me through the rough times and in the end all those experiences were all worth it.”

A homegrown product of Lakewood, Wash., who starred at both Lakes High School and for the Washington Huskies, Kearse gave a specific shout out to Seattle in the post.

“Seattle, as a hometown kid it was a complete honor to represent you guys out there on the field. Thank you so much for your endless support throughout my football career. It was an honor to put on that Hawks uniform and I’m so grateful I was able to help bring our first Super Bowl home! Something We will never forget.”

Kearse, 30, joined the Seahawks as an undrafted free agent, working his way up from the practice squad to become a key member of the offense. He spent the first five years of his pro career with the Seahawks from 2012 to 2016, with 2015 being his most productive regular season for Seattle, catching 49 of 68 targets for 685 yards and five touchdowns. He’ll be best remembered for huge plays in the playoffs, however.

In January 2014, he caught the go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter of the Seahawks’ 23-17 NFC Championship win over San Francisco on a 35-yard pass from Russell Wilson (watch here).

The next year, his lone catch in the NFC Championship against the Packers was another 35-yard, game-winning TD, this time the final play of the game in overtime that sent Seattle to a second straight Super Bowl.

He also had a touchdown in Seattle’s Super Bowl win over Denver in February 2015 and added a spectacular reception in the team’s Super Bowl loss to New England in February 2016 that was named the No. 6 greatest catch of all-time by NFL Films.

Kearse played the 2017 and 2018 seasons with the New York Jets after being traded by Seattle in a deal that brought defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson to the Seahawks. His first year in New York was his best statistical season as a pro – he made 65 catches for 810 yards and five TDs.

Though Kearse signed with the Detroit Lions in 2019, he suffered a broken leg in a preseason game and has not played since.

At UW, Kearse ranks second all-time in Huskies history in touchdown receptions (29) and receiving yards (2,871). He also is the sole holder of Washington’s single-game TD receptions record with four in a 2010 game against Oregon State.

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