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Jason Worilds opts to retire instead of pursue free agency

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Worilds is walking away from the NFL at 27.

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Expected to be one of the top linebackers on the free agent market, former Pittsburgh Steeler Jason Worilds will instead walk away from the NFL and retire at the age of 27. Worilds, who became a free agent on Tuesday, said he decided to pursue other interests, according to a statement tweeted by his agent.

"I appreciate all of the interest from the organizations that have reached out to us the past few days. With that being said, after much thought & consideration I have chosen to step away from football as I have opted to pursue other interests. I am especially grateful of the opportunity to play before some of the greatest fans in football today. Despite any concern and speculation that may ensue, I appreciate those that are respectful of my decision."

Worilds spent five seasons with the Steelers after being drafted by Pittsburgh in the second round of the 2010 NFL Draft. His breakout season came in 2013 when he recorded a career-high 8.0 sacks. The Steelers used the transition tag on him in free agency and he returned to Pittsburgh and finished with 7.5 sacks last season. He became an unrestricted free agent on Tuesday and was expected to draw serious interest from multiple teams.

Worilds became the third player to unexpectedly retire on Tuesday. Patrick Willis announced his retirement in the morning while, like Worilds, 26-year-old Jake Locker opted to retire instead of pursue free agency.

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