Matt Forte spent the past few weeks weighing his difficult decision — to continue a terrific playing career or walk away from the game he loves.
The 32-year-old Forte announced his retirement from playing Wednesday after 10 NFL seasons in a humble and heartfelt statement on Twitter and Instagram.
"It's time for the workhorse to finally rest in his stable," Forte wrote.
Forte, one of the NFL's most versatile running backs, had one year remaining on his contract with the Jets, but knee issues during his two seasons in New York, as well as his age, made him a likely salary cap casualty this offseason.
Instead, Forte went out on his own terms.
"For the past 10 years, I've been blessed to play professionally a game that I've loved since I was 6 years old," Forte wrote. "But after much prayer and reflection, I've decided to retire from the NFL."
The move saves the Jets $3 million on their salary cap — the same amount if they had released him.
Forte's 9,796 yards rushing rank him 33rd on the NFL's career list. He also had 554 receptions, including setting the league's single-season record for running backs with 102 catches in 2014.
The two-time Pro Bowl selection's 14,468 yards from scrimmage over the past 10 years are the most of any NFL player during that span.
Forte spent his first eight seasons with Chicago after being drafted in the second round out of Tulane in 2008. With the Bears, he established himself as one of the best all-around running backs in the league as an electrifying presence who could make plays running or catching the ball out of the backfield.
Forte ran for more than 1,000 yards in five of his eight seasons with Chicago, and caught at least 50 passes six times.
He became a free agent after the 2015 season, and the Jets signed him to a three-year, $12 million contract.
Forte led New York with 813 yards rushing, but it was a career-low for the running back who ended the season on injured reserve. He had arthroscopic surgery on the knee at the end of the 2016 season to repair a torn meniscus.
Forte was ready for the season opener, but swelling in the knee worsened last November and Forte said he was "basically playing on one leg" since. He ended up on injured reserve to end the season for the second straight year.
He had a career-low 381 yards rushing on just 103 carries last season and ran for two touchdowns, and also had 37 catches for 293 yards — the second-lowest totals of his career — and one TD.
Jets release DE Wilkerson after seven seasons
The Jets decided it was time for Mo to go.
Defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson was released by New York on Wednesday, ending the one-time Pro Bowl selection's stint with the team that drafted him in the first round in 2011.
The long-anticipated move clears $11 million in space under the salary cap, although there will still be a $9 million charge in dead money that will count against the cap. Wilkerson was due to make $16.75 million next season — which would have become fully guaranteed if he remained on New York's roster by the third day of the league's new year in March.
It became increasingly clearer late in the season that the 28-year-old Wilkerson's time with the Jets was coming to an end. He was benched at New Orleans on Dec. 17 for being late to a team meeting. Wilkerson then sat out the final two games for what Todd Bowles called a "coach's decision."
The $16.75 million was also fully guaranteed against a serious injury, so the Jets would have been on the hook if Wilkerson got hurt during a game or practice and the injury sidelined him all of next season.
Buckeyes' Bates-Diop, Holtmann are AP's Big Ten top honorees
Ohio State's Keita Bates-Diop is The Associated Press Player of the Year in the Big Ten Conference and the Buckeyes' Chris Holtmann is its Coach of the Year.
Bates-Diop and Purdue's Carsen Edwards were unanimous picks to the AP All-Big Ten team also announced Wednesday, the first day of the conference tournament in New York. Michigan State freshman Jaren Jackson Jr. was picked as Newcomer of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year in voting by 12 journalists who cover the league.
Joining Bates-Diop and Edwards on the All-Conference first team are Michigan State's Miles Bridges, Wisconsin's Ethan Happ and Penn State's Tony Carr. Happ is a repeat first-team pick. Bridges was on the second team last year.
The second team is made up of Purdue's Vincent Edwards and Isaac Haas, Michigan's Moritz Wagner, Nebraska's James Palmer Jr., and Michigan State's Cassius Winston.
Colts hire former MU safety Overstreet II as coach
The Indianapolis Colts announced 11 additions to new head coach Frank Reich's coaching staff Wednesday and a former Missouri player was among them.
David Overstreet II played safety at Faurot Field from 2002-2006 and will become the Colts' defensive quality control coach. He will coach under former MU defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus, who was hired this offseason to the same position in Indianapolis.