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After 9 Seasons, Daunte Is Done

Quarterback Daunte Culpepper retired from the National Football League after nine seasons, unable to find a job as a starter or backup.

Culpepper, 31, announced his decision in a letter, titled “Farewell NFL,” that was e-mailed today to the league’s Web site.

The three-time Pro Bowl pick, who played for Oakland last season, was unsigned entering the NFL’s regular season, which begins tonight as the New York Giants host Washington.

Culpepper wrote that after last season, he entered free agency with a “new sense of excitement about continuing to rebuild my career.”

“Unfortunately, what I found out was that the league did not share any of the optimism about me as an unrestricted free agent that I expected,” he said. “In fact, there was an overwhelming sense that there was no room for me among this year’s group of quarterbacks.”

Culpepper started six games last season for the Raiders after being cut by Miami. He played just four games for the Dolphins in 2006 because of injuries, after being acquired in an offseason trade with the Minnesota Vikings following surgery to repair three torn ligaments in his right knee.

Culpepper played seven seasons in Minnesota after being selected with the 11th pick of the 1999 NFL draft.

In his second season and first as a starter, he led the NFL in touchdown passes, and in 2004 led the league in passing yards per game.

He retires with 22,422 yards passing and 142 touchdowns, posting a 41-49 record as a starter. He also rushed for 2,536 yards and 33 touchdowns.

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