Taylor Gabriel Atlanta Falcons
Atlanta Falcons

Former Falcons WR Taylor Gabriel announces retirement

NFL wide receiver Taylor Gabriel hasn’t played in an NFL game since late December 2019. He announced recently that he won’t play again.

Gabriel posted a picture of himself laying on a raft in a pool on his Instagram account Friday. He didn’t mention the word retirement, but the caption to the photo read “Undrafted free agent tryout #7Years Thanks to all my fans and supporters love y’all.”

After going undrafted in the 2014 NFL Draft, Gabriel signed with the Cleveland Browns. During his rookie season, Kyle Shanahan was the offensive coordinator in Cleveland.

Gabriel spent two seasons with the Browns, but when Cleveland placed him on waivers prior to the 2016 season, the Falcons claimed him. It became a shrewd move, as he turned into a key figure for two Falcons teams that made playoff appearances.

Of course, it worked out for Gabriel as well. He received the opportunity to play in the Super Bowl for Atlanta while the Browns won one game in 2016.

Gabriel caught 35 passes for 579 yards and posted a career-high 6 touchdowns in his first season with the Falcons. His 16.5 yards per catch average that year was the second-best of his career. He also had a rushing touchdown. In the playoffs, Gabriel recorded nine receptions for 171 yards, which was good for 19.0 yards per catch.

Gabriel played for the Falcons in 2017 as well. He registered another 30-catch season, but his yards per reception average dropped to 11.5, and he only scored once. Gabriel then left in free agency, signing a four-year, $26 million contract with the Chicago Bears in March 2018.

He had the best statistical season of his career with the Bears in 2018 with 67 catches and 688 yards, but the big plays were gone. He averaged 10.8 yards per reception and scored 6 touchdowns in 25 games with Chicago. The Bears released Gabriel before the 2020 season, and he did not sign with another team.

Gabriel finished his career with 228 catches, 2,860 receiving yards and 15 touchdowns. His best postseason performance came in Super Bowl LI. Gabriel posted 76 receiving yards on just three catches versus the New England Patriots.