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As the NFL readies to welcome 32 new players into the league Thursday night, one former Green Bay Packers tight end is bowing out.

Tom Crabtree, who spent a bulk of his career with the Packers, announced his retirement on Twitter Thursday morning. The 6-foot-4, 245-pound tight end caught 22 passes for 323 yards and five touchdowns in 53 regular-season games spanning four seasons.

Crabtree, 29, first arrived in Green Bay on the Packers' practice squad in 2009. He made the 53-man roster the next season and quickly became a fan favorite. A special-teams mainstay, Crabtree enjoyed his most productive offensive season in 2012 when he caught eight passes for 203 yards and three touchdowns.

The former Miami (Ohio) standout had two of his most memorable plays that season – a 72-yard touchdown pass from Aaron Rodgers against Arizona and a 27-yard touchdown off a shovel pass from punter Tim Masthay on a fake field goal against Chicago.

The Packers opted against tendering Crabtree a restricted free-agent contract after the 2012 season in hopes of signing him at a lower cost. However, he left for a two-year contract, $1.6 million contract with Tampa Bay.

Crabtree battled ankle and biceps injuries during his one season with the Buccaneers, catching four passes for 21 yards and a touchdown in seven games (five starts). After being released last May, Crabtree had two brief stints with New Orleans last season, but didn't play in a game.

Known for his exploits on social media, Crabtree also hosted Gannett Wisconsin Media's Clubhouse LIVE! show during the 2012 NFL season.

Shortly after retiring, Crabtree already was having some fun on Twitter.

-- whodkiew@pressgazettemedia.com and follow him on Twitter @WesHod.

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