Eric Decker

Last updated

Eric Decker
Eric Decker 2016 (1).jpg
Decker with the New York Jets in 2016
No. 87, 81
Position: Wide receiver
Personal information
Born: (1987-03-15) March 15, 1987 (age 32)
Cold Spring, Minnesota
Height:6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)
Weight:214 lb (97 kg)
Career information
High school: Rocori
(Cold Spring, Minnesota)
College: Minnesota
NFL Draft: 2010  / Round: 3 / Pick: 87
Career history
 * Offseason and/or practice squad member only
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Receptions:439
Receiving yards:5,816
Return yards:796
Total touchdowns:54
Player stats at NFL.com

Eric Thomas Decker (born March 15, 1987) is a former American football wide receiver who played in the National Football League (NFL) for 8 seasons. He played college football and college baseball at the University of Minnesota, and was drafted by the Denver Broncos in the third round of the 2010 NFL Draft. After four seasons with the Broncos, he played for the New York Jets for three years and then the Tennessee Titans for one year.

A wide receiver, also referred to as wideouts or simply receivers, is an offensive position in American and Canadian football, and is a key player. They get their name because they are split out "wide", farthest away from the rest of the team. Wide receivers are among the fastest players on the field. The wide receiver functions as the pass-catching specialist.

National Football League Professional American football league

The National Football League (NFL) is a professional American football league consisting of 32 teams, divided equally between the National Football Conference (NFC) and the American Football Conference (AFC). The NFL is one of the four major professional sports leagues in North America and the highest professional level of American football in the world. The NFL's 17-week regular season runs from early September to late December, with each team playing 16 games and having one bye week. Following the conclusion of the regular season, six teams from each conference advance to the playoffs, a single-elimination tournament culminating in the Super Bowl, which is usually held on the first Sunday in February and is played between the champions of the NFC and AFC.

College football Collegiate rules version of American/Canadian football, played by colleges and universities

College football is gridiron football consisting of American football played by teams of student athletes fielded by American universities, colleges, and military academies, or Canadian football played by teams of student athletes fielded by Canadian universities. It was through college football play that American football rules first gained popularity in the United States.

Contents

Early years

Decker attended Rocori High School in Cold Spring, Minnesota. [1] He was present in school when the Rocori High School shooting took place, hiding in a cupboard with other students until they were rescued by police officers. [2] [3] At school he was a three-sport athlete in football, basketball, and baseball. In each sport he was awarded all-conference, all-area and all-section honors. Additionally, he was named football team MVP two years in a row. During his prep football career he had 2,156 receiving yards and 28 touchdowns. [4]

ROCORI High School is a high school that serves three Minnesota towns, whose names form the acronym "ROCORI": Rockville, Cold Spring, and Richmond. The school is located in Cold Spring, Minnesota about twenty miles southwest of St. Cloud. The school received its greatest media attention for a school shooting that left two students dead. It is also noted for having the first winter drumline/indoor percussion ensemble in history.

Cold Spring, Minnesota City in Minnesota, United States

Cold Spring is a city in Stearns County, Minnesota, United States, located at the gateway of the Sauk River Chain of Lakes, an interconnected system of 14 bay-like lakes fed and connected by the Sauk River. Cold Spring is part of the St. Cloud Metropolitan Statistical Area, and the population was 4,025 at the 2010 census.

Rocori High School shooting

The Rocori High School shooting was a school shooting that occurred at Rocori High School on September 24, 2003 in Cold Spring, Minnesota, United States. The shooter was identified as Rocori High freshman John Jason McLaughlin, who shot and killed 15-year-old freshman Seth Bartell and 17-year-old senior Aaron Rollins. Prior to the shooting, McLaughlin was described as a "quiet and withdrawn" student with severe acne.

College career

Decker attended the University of Minnesota. [5]

As a freshman, Decker finished with 378 receiving yards and three touchdowns. [6]

As a sophomore, Decker finished with 909 receiving yards and nine touchdowns. [7]

Decker finished his junior season in 2008 with 84 catches for 1,074 yards and seven touchdowns. [8] He either sat out or played with leg injuries in several games. [9] [10]

In early spring 2009, Decker met with Thomas Goudy, a wide-out coach in St. Louis, Missouri. Goudy helped Decker with his ball-holding technique. Decker spent three weeks in his training camp before starting the summer conditioning camp. Decker began the season with the consistent play that had been a hallmark of his Gophers' career. Through three games, Decker was sixth in the nation in receiving yards, averaging 124.8 per game. Sports Illustrated columnist Stewart Mandel declared Decker the third-best wide receiver in college football, behind Oklahoma State's Dez Bryant and Georgia's A. J. Green. [11] On October 27, 2009, it was announced that Decker would miss the rest of the season after suffering a sprained foot against Ohio State. [12] Decker was also teammates with Minnesota Vikings cornerback Marcus Sherels. [13]

<i>Sports Illustrated</i> American sports magazine

Sports Illustrated (SI) is an American sports magazine owned by Authentic Brands Group and published by Maven. First published in August 1954, it has over 3 million subscribers and is read by 23 million people each week, including over 18 million men.

Stewart Lance Mandel is an American sports writer for The All-American and The Athletic who focuses on college football and college basketball. Mandel was raised in Cincinnati, Ohio, attending Sycamore High School, and is a graduate of Northwestern University (1998) with a degree in Journalism.

Dez Bryant American football wide receiver

Desmond Demond Bryant is an American football wide receiver who is currently a free agent. He played college football at Oklahoma State, where he earned All-American honors in 2008. He was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft and has earned three Pro Bowl berths and was a First-team All-Pro player in 2014.

As a senior, Decker finished with 758 receiving yards and five touchdowns. [14]

Decker played outfield for the Minnesota baseball team. He was selected in the 39th round of the 2008 Major League Baseball Draft by the Milwaukee Brewers and the 27th round of the 2009 Major League Baseball Draft by the Minnesota Twins. [15]

Statistics

YearTeamGamesReceivingRushing
RecYardsAvgTDAttYardsAvgTD
2006 Minnesota 132623814.53155.00
2007 Minnesota 126790913.693227.30
2008 Minnesota 12841,07412.8711877.91
2009 Minnesota 85075815.2500-0
Career452273,11913.724131147.61

Professional career

Decker’s senior season was cut short due to surgery he underwent to repair torn ligaments in his left foot. As a result, he was unable to participate in both the NFL combine and Minnesota’s pro day workout. He scored a 43 on the Wonderlic test at the combine, the top score for the group of prospects who took the test in Indianapolis. [16]

Pre-draft measurables
HtWtArm lengthHand size 40-yard dash 10-yd split20-yd split 20-ss 3-cone Vert jump Broad BP Wonderlic
6 ft 3 18 in
(1.91 m)
217 lb
(98 kg)
31.00 in
(0.79 m)
9.13 in
(0.23 m)
4.54 s15 reps43
All values from combine [17] [18]

Denver Broncos

2010 season: Rookie year

Decker in 2010 Eric Decker 2010.JPG
Decker in 2010

Decker was drafted by the Denver Broncos in the third round (87th overall) of the 2010 NFL Draft. [19] He signed a four-year contract through 2013 worth $2,522,000. Due to foot surgery, Decker sat out during Broncos rookie mini-camp and OTA's. Broncos head coach Josh McDaniels said he hoped he'd be ready by the season's opener, “At this point we're going to err on the side of being real careful and not put them in a situation where (it’s) the last day of minicamp on June 13th and all of a sudden we have a foot injury," [20] said McDaniels. "Hopefully, everybody will be ready by August.”

On July 27, 2010, the Broncos signed Decker to a 4-year contract. [21] In the preseason, Decker led all NFL rookies in receptions, but due to the Broncos' depth at receiver, Decker didn't see much action in the offense until late in the regular season. He did contribute on special teams, however, recording seven special teams tackles while returning 17 kickoffs for 429 yards giving him 25.2 yards per return average.

Toward the end of the season, the Broncos did start to mix Decker into the offense more, after fellow rookie Demaryius Thomas (a first round draft pick) went down with an injury. [22] Decker finished his rookie season with 6 catches for 106 yards and a touchdown. [23] [24]

2011 season

Decker's role in Denver's offense expanded in 2011. During a Week 1 Monday Night Football matchup at home against the Oakland Raiders, Decker returned a fourth quarter punt for a 90-yard touchdown, but the Broncos lost 23-20. [25]

In Week 2, making his first NFL start, Decker caught 5 passes for 113 yards and 2 touchdowns, the second on a 52-yard catch in the 4th quarter as Denver recorded their first win of the 2011 season, 24-22 over the Cincinnati Bengals. [26] On September 25, in Denver's Week 3 17-14 loss to the Tennessee Titans, Decker had a career-high seven catches for 48 yards. [27] Over the next 4 weeks, Decker continued his steady play by hauling in 18 passes for 192 yards and 4 touchdowns.

On November 13, in a Week 10 divisional road game at Arrowhead Stadium against the division-rival Kansas City Chiefs, starting quarterback Tim Tebow attempted a pair of deep passes for Decker, the first almost being hauled in off a deflection and the other being knocked down by the defender, but in the 4th quarter, with Denver hanging on to a slim 10-7 lead, Tebow hit Decker on a go route deep for a 56-yard touchdown catch, Decker's only catch of the game and only Tebow's 2nd completion, as the Broncos won 17-10 to move into a second-place tie in the AFC West with the San Diego Chargers and Chiefs. [28] In the first round of the playoffs against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Decker was taken out of the game due to injury.

Decker finished the 2011 season with 44 receptions for 612 yards and eight touchdowns. [29]

2012 season

Heading into the 2012 regular season, Decker seemed primed to have a productive year with veteran quarterback Peyton Manning running Denver's offense. On May 12, Broncos' offensive coordinator Mike McCoy noted that Decker and fellow receiver Demaryius Thomas were "like two little kids in a candy shop right now," when asked about the receivers eagerness to work with Manning. [30] In April, Decker attended a Colorado Rockies' baseball game with Manning [31] and began workouts with him prior to training camp.

Decker had a breakout season in 2012. In Week 3 against the Houston Texans, he had eight receptions for 136 yards. [32] From Week 4 to Week 9, he recorded seven receiving touchdowns over a span of five games. In Week 15 against the Baltimore Ravens, he finished with eight receptions for 133 yards and a touchdown. [33] In Weeks 16–17, he recorded back-to-back games with two receiving touchdowns. Decker finished the 2012 season with 85 catches for 1,064 yards and 13 touchdowns. He finished ranked 20th in the league in terms of yards for wide receivers and the 13 touchdowns was the second most among wide receivers in 2012. [34] [35]

2013 season

In the 2013 season, Decker contributed to Peyton Manning's historical passing season. [36] In Week 3, against the Oakland Raiders, Decker finished with eight receptions for 133 yards and a touchdown. [37] In Week 7, against the Indianapolis Colts, he finished with eight receptions for 150 yards and a touchdown. [38] In Week 13, Decker had a career day against the Kansas City Chiefs with eight catches for 174 yards and team record tying four touchdowns, earning him the AFC Offensive Player of the Week award. [39] He followed up that performance with eight receptions for 117 yards and a touchdown against the Tennessee Titans. [40] In Week 16, against the Houston Texans, he finished with 10 receptions for 131 yards and two touchdowns. [41] Overall, Decker finished the 2013 season with 87 receptions for 1,288 yards, both career highs, and 11 touchdowns. [42] The Broncos reached Super Bowl XLVIII, but lost 43–8 to the Seattle Seahawks. Decker was held to one reception for six yards in the Super Bowl due to tight coverage by the Seahawks' defensive backs. [43]

New York Jets

2014 season

On March 12, 2014, Decker signed a five-year $36.25 million contract with the New York Jets. [44] During that season, he scored five receiving touchdowns. [45] In Week 17, Decker was targeted 11 times in the season-finale 37-24 victory against the Miami Dolphins and came up with a tying career-high 10 receptions for a career-high 221 yards and a touchdown. [46]

2015 season

Decker in 2015 DeckerJets.jpg
Decker in 2015

Decker put together a solid season in 2015. He started the season with a receiving touchdown in each of his first four games from Weeks 1–6. From Weeks 8-10, he had three straight games with a receiving touchdown. From Weeks 14–17, he had four straight games with a receiving touchdown. In his most productive season with the Jets, Decker caught 80 passes for 1,027 yards and 12 touchdowns. [47] [48]

2016 season

On September 16, Decker was fined $9,115 for a late hit he made on cornerback Josh Shaw on opening day against the Cincinnati Bengals. [49] On October 12, the Jets placed Decker on injured reserve due to a shoulder injury. [50] In a shortened 2016 season, he finished with nine receptions for 194 yards and two touchdowns. [51]

On June 6, 2017, the Jets informed Decker that he would be either traded or released by the end of that week, effectively cutting ties with him. [52] On June 12, 2017, Decker was officially released by the Jets. [53]

Tennessee Titans

On June 18, 2017, Decker signed a one-year contract worth $3.85 million with the Tennessee Titans. [54]

On September 10, in the season opener against the Oakland Raiders, Decker had three receptions for 10 yards in his Titans debut. The Titans lost by a score of 26-16. [55] During Week 2, Decker had 3 receptions for 32 yards, a kickoff return for 22 yards, and recovered an onside kick in a 37–16 road victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars. [56] On November 5, Decker caught his only touchdown of the regular season on an 11-yard pass from Marcus Mariota in a 23–20 victory over the Baltimore Ravens. [57] Decker finished the 2017 season with 54 receptions for 563 yards and a touchdown. [58]

In the postseason, Decker caught the game-winning touchdown from Mariota in the AFC Wild Card game against the Kansas City Chiefs to win 22-21. [59] In the Divisional Round against the New England Patriots, he finished with six receptions for 85 yards in the 35–14 defeat. [60]

New England Patriots

On August 2, 2018, Decker signed a one-year deal with the New England Patriots. [61] With the move, Decker reunited with Josh McDaniels, the Patriots offensive coordinator and former head coach of the Denver Broncos.

Retirement

On August 26, 2018, Decker announced his retirement from the NFL. [62]

NFL statistics

Regular season

YearTeamGamesReceivingRushingReturningFumbles
GPGSRecYdsAvgLngTDAttYdsAvgLngTDRetYdsAvgLngTDFUMLost
2010 DEN 140610617.7381000.0002255625.351011
2011 DEN 16134461213.956T8111.010818322.990T111
2012 DEN 1615851,06412.55513000.00022211.013000
2013 DEN 1616871,28814.86111000.000122.02021
2014 NYJ 15157496213.074T5000.00000000.000
2015 NYJ 1513801,02712.83512000.00011111.011011
2016 NYJ 33919421.6352000.000000.00000
2017 TEN 1685456310.4291000.00012222.022000
Total111834395,81613.274T53111.0103579622.790T154

[63]

Postseason

YearTeamGamesReceivingRushingReturningFumbles
GPGSRecYdsAvgLngTDAttYdsAvgLngTDRetYdsAvgLngTDFUMLost
2011 DEN 11000.000199.090000.00011
2012 DEN 1168414.0320000.000000.00000
2013 DEN 33811113.9210000.00047518.847000
2017 TEN 21810613.322T1000.000000.00000
Total762230113.7321199.09047518.847000

Career awards and highlights

Broncos franchise records

  • Most receiving touchdowns in a single game: 4 (January 12, 2013, at Kansas City)
  • Most kick return yards in a single game: 211 (December 12, 2010, at Arizona)

Personal life

On June 22, 2013, Decker married country singer Jessie James. [64] [65] They have three children; a daughter born in March 2014, [66] a son born in September 2015, [67] and a second son born in March 2018. [68]

Television

Decker and his wife starred in the E! reality show Eric & Jessie: Game On which ran from September 29, 2013 until 2017. [69] [70]

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