Veteran WR Cole Beasley to retire from NFL after brief stint with Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Veteran wide receiver Cole Beasley's return to the NFL in 2022 was brief.

After signing with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Sept. 20 to give the team much-needed depth at the position, Beasley has opted to retire.

"He is ready to be with his family after playing in 11 seasons and it’s time to be a full time dad and husband," Beasley's agents Joel and Justin Turner told NFL Network.

He appeared in two games for the Buccaneers, catching four passes on five targets for 17 yards. His longest reception was for five yards and he recorded one first down.

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Cole Beasley prior to the game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Raymond James Stadium.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Cole Beasley prior to the game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Raymond James Stadium.

Beasley, 33, had been out of the league at the start of the 2022 season but remained interested in latching on with a team. Then, as Tampa Bay was dealing injuries at receiver to Chris Godwin and Julio Jones, and the one-game suspension of star Mike Evans, the Buccaneers decided to sign Beasley, who had been primarily a slot receiver throughout his career.

He had spent the previous three seasons with the Buffalo Bills and had set career highs in targets in consecutive seasons (106, 107, 112). In March, the day after the Bills signed edge rusher Von Miller, Buffalo decided to cut Beasley, who had requested a trade from the team.

"I appreciate the fans who supported me," Beasley said in a statement posted to his Twitter account which has since been deleted. "The most fun I’ve ever had playing football in Buffalo. My family and I will never forget the memories. Love all of my teammates there. I won’t regret leaving though. Things changed within the organization. It was time for me to move on."

Throughout the 2021 season and offseason, while he was still a member of the Bills, Beasley was outspoken about the NFL's regulations and mandates for COVID-19 vaccines.

"I’m not anti- or pro-vax. I’m pro choice," Beasley said July 28 in a press conference. "With that being said, the issue at hand is information being withheld from players in order for a player to be swayed in a direction he may not be comfortable with. When dealing with a player’s health and safety, there should be complete transparency regarding information that is vital in the decision-making process."

Previously, Beasley had played seven seasons with the Dallas Cowboys. He finishes his career with 554 receptions for 5,726 yards with 34 touchdowns.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Cole Beasley, veteran WR, retires from NFL after stint with Buccaneers