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After nine NFL seasons, Steven Nelson has decided to call it a career. The veteran cornerback, who served as a team captain for the Houston Texans last season, made the surprising decision to retire over the weekend. 

The 31-year-old told KPRC-TV in Houston that he's stepping away from the game because he wants to spend more time with his family. 

"Retirement, after thinking it over and having some talks with my family, I think it's time for me to take a step back and spend more time with my family," Nelson said. "We're expecting a newborn this coming month, and I wanted to devote all of my time and energy to that and various business ventures off the field. I'm extremely proud of what I was able to do in the game of football."

Although Nelson never made it to a Pro Bowl, he still managed to put together an impressive career that started in 2015 after the Kansas City Chiefs selected him in the third round of the NFL Draft. After coming off the bench as a rookie, Nelson earned a starting spot during his second season in Kansas City and he would end up starting at least 15 games in seven of his final eight seasons. 

After four years with the Chiefs, Nelson moved on to Pittsburgh, where he spent two seasons with the Steelers (2019-20). In 2020, Nelson finished third in interceptions for a Steelers team that shot out to an 11-0 start. 

Following his time in Pittsburgh, Nelson headed to Philadelphia for the 2021 season before signing with the Texans in 2022. The cornerback thrived during his time in Houston, especially the 2023 season, when he finished second on the team with four interceptions. 

Nelson made 16 starts last season for Houston and he likely could have very easily found a landing spot for 2024 if he had decided that he wanted to keep playing. According to KPRC, Nelson had drawn serious interest or received a contract offer from multiple teams, including the Raiders, Giants, Rams, Commanders and Dolphins

Although Nelson decided to take a pass on those offers, he did leave the door slightly open for a possible return in the future. 

"I always will keep my body in shape and will always be ready if the right opportunity comes or I feel like the timing is right and my heart is into, I'll do it," Nelson said. "As of now, I think it's best for me to take a step back and just enjoy my family."

If this is it for Nelson, his career will certainly be ending on a high note. Nelson recorded an 82-yard pick six against the Browns that essentially iced the win for Houston during the team's 45-14 wild-card victory. 

Nelson's touchdown turned a tight 24-14 game into a 31-14 lead for Houston, and at that point, the rout was on. Nelson made the playoffs during seven of his nine NFL seasons and he even played in one AFC Championship game, which came in 2018 when the Chiefs lost to the Patriots, 37-31, in overtime.