The NFL got a new wave of exciting young tight ends in the 2023 NFL Draft, while one of the league's most established players at the position in Kyle Rudolph has decided to hang up his cleats.
In this week's Football Morning in America column from NBC Sports' Peter King, Rudolph shared with the longtime sports writer that he had made the decision to hang up his cleats this spring. However, Rudolph won't be stepping away from football entirely, as he will be working as a Big Ten analyst for Peacock while co-hosting a weekly FOX Sports Radio show.
Rudolph was taken in the second round of the 2011 NFL Draft by the Minnesota Vikings, where he spent the first 10 seasons of his NFL career. The veteran tight end earned Pro Bowl honors in 2012 and 2017 during his time with the franchise before brief stints with the New York Giants in 2021 and Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2022. Rudolph played in 165 games during his 12-year career, catching 482 passes for 4,773 yards and 50 touchdowns.
Prior to his NFL career, Rudolph looked like a potential college football superstar for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, starting all 13 games as a true freshman back in 2008. However, injuries forced him to miss multiple games as a sophomore and junior before foregoing his senior season to enter the NFL draft. He finished his college career with 90 catches for 1,032 yards and eight touchdowns.
Rudolph's pro career was clearly winding down once his time with the Vikings came to an end, and by his final season with Tampa Bay he caught just three passes. Still, the 33-year-old leaves the NFL after one of the most prolific careers from a tight end over the last couple of decades, and can walk away from the field with his head held high.
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