NFL running back Damien Harris started 34 of the 44 games he appeared in between the New England Patriots and the Buffalo Bills over the course of five seasons.

On Monday, at the age of 27, Harris announced he was retiring from the NFL.

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“For the past 20 years, playing the game of football has been one of the greatest privileges in my life,” he said in a statement.

“Getting to represent the name on the back of my jersey on and off the field getting to compete at the highest level with and against the best competitors while winning championships, and being coached by the 2 greatest head coaches of all time in Nick Saban and Bill Belichick are all just a small part of what God has done in my life with the game of football.”

The Patriots selected Harris in the third round of the 2019 draft. He played two games in his rookie season with New England before he earned the opportunity to start in his second year.

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He finished his time with the Patriots with 2,094 rushing yards, 20 rushing touchdowns and 40 catches for 281 yards.

In 2023, he played six games for the Bills and had 94 rushing yards and one touchdown. His season ended early after he suffered a neck sprain against the New York Giants. He was taken off the field in an ambulance.

“The people I’ve met, the places I’ve been and will go on to go, the experiences and memories I’ve made, the impact I’ve been able to make to this point, these are the things that mean the most to me.

“Gratitude is defined as ‘the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.’ Today, I am grateful I have found the strength to walk away from the game I love so much.”

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