A vital figure of the Atlanta Falcons’ 2016 Super Bowl run is calling it quits.
Wide receiver Taylor Gabriel said this end of the week on Instagram that he is retiring from the NFL.
The small wideout entered the league as an undrafted free agent in 2014 out of Abilene Christian. He proceeded to play two seasons each with the Cleveland Browns, Falcons and Chicago Bears, in a specific order. He was cut by Chicago ahead of the 2020 season and passed on the year because of COVID-19 concerns.
Gabriel, presently 30, broke out in his first season in quite a while, hauling in 36 receptions for 621 yards and a score from the Brian Hoyer-and Johnny Manziel-drove Browns in 2014. The 5-foot-7 stud was Cleveland’s third leading receiver out of the gate, behind Andrew Hawkins and Miles Austin.
Only in front of the 2016 season, in any case, Gabriel was waived by Cleveland. Inside a day of his release, the Falcons got him. Their offense, then coordinated by Kyle Shanahan, who instructed Gabriel in 2014, required a burner and got one.
Flanked by Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu, Gabriel flashed with 579 yards on 35 catches, a career-high 16.5 yards per reception, adding a career-best seven total TDs also. Five of his receiving scores were from in any event 25 yards out, and two were more than 60-yard TDs. Gabriel’s field-stretching ability helped the Falcons become the No. 1 scoring offense in the league and quarterback Matt Ryan secure league MVP honors.
During Atlanta’s Super Bowl run, Gabriel logged nine catches for 171 yards, including three for 76 in the Falcons’ devastating misfortune to the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LI.
Gabriel parlayed his super season in Atlanta into a one-year arrangement to return. In 2018, the wideout marked a four-year, $26 million agreement with the Chicago Bears.
The receiver racked up career-highs in receptions (67) and yards (688) in his first season in Chicago. Gabriel’s best profession game came the next year when he got three first-half TDs from Mitchell Trubisky in a success over Washington. He missed almost 50% of the 2019 season with a concussion.
Taking all things together, Gabriel leaves the game with 228 receptions for 2,860 receiving yards and 15 total TDs in 83 games played.