Wide receiver Cole Beasley has decided to retire from the NFL after 11 seasons, his agent said Wednesday.
“He is ready to be with his family after playing 11 seasons and it’s time to be a full-time dad and husband,” agent Joel Turner told ESPN.
“His wife and kids are still back home in Texas. They came out for the first game, went through the evacuation last week which the Tampa Bay organization hasn’t received near the credit they deserve for the way they handled [Hurricane Ian] — nothing but first class by the Glazer family, [general manager] Jason [Licht] and [coach] Todd [Bowles]. He doesn’t want to be separated from them anymore. He loves his wife and kids and wants to be with them.”
Beasley, 33, signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ practice squad on Sept. 20, and was called up to the active roster four days later. He saw action in two games — against the Green Bay Packers and Kansas City Chiefs — with four catches for 17 receiving yards. Beasley said upon signing with the Bucs that he didn’t know if he’d ever get another opportunity to play again.
“For a young man that came out of SMU that not one all-star game invited to play in, who prepared for his pro day working out by himself on campus and who 31 other teams in the NFL passed on as an undrafted free agent with only the Dallas Cowboys offering him a contract — he has had an incredible career,” Turner said. “We could not be prouder of him in every facet and appreciate each organization that he played for and allowed him to live the American dream. Cole always gave it his all.”
The Buffalo Bills had granted Beasley permission to seek a trade in early March but ultimately released him.
Beasley finished with a career-best 82 receptions in both the 2020 and ’21 seasons with the Bills, whom he signed with as a free agent in 2019. However, he was fined multiple times for violating the NFL’s COVID-19 protocols last season and was a critic of the league’s COVID-19 policies, which have been relaxed this season. Beasley, who is unvaccinated against COVID-19, missed a game last season after testing positive for the virus.
He said last year that he didn’t have a problem with people being vaccinated or unvaccinated, but the ability to choose was important to him.
Beasley began his career with the Cowboys, who he signed with as an undrafted free agent in 2012. He developed into one of the NFL’s better slot receivers because of his ability to find soft spots in zone coverages while also possessing quickness that made him difficult to contain in man-to-man coverage.
He finishes with 554 receptions for 5,726 yards and 34 touchdowns. He was never selected to a Pro Bowl but was named a second team All-Pro by The Associated Press in 2020 when he set career highs in receptions and yards (967).
ESPN’s Jenna Laine contributed to this report.