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Former Colts quarterback Matt Hasselbeck announces retirement, new role at ESPN

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HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 08: Matt Hasselbeck #8 of the Indianapolis Colts passes agains the Houston Texans in the third quarter on October 8, 2015 at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (March 9, 2016) – Matt Hasselbeck announced his retirement Wednesday, but he’s not finished with the NFL.

After 18 seasons, the last three as a backup quarterback with the Indianapolis Colts, Hasselbeck is trading his helmet for an analyst’s role with ESPN. He will be a part of “Sunday NFL Countdown” and “Monday Night Countdown.”

“As a kid, playing in the NFL was always my dream and it turned out to be way more fun that I could’ve ever imagined,” Hasselbeck said in an ESPN release. “Throughout 18 incredible seasons, I had the chance to forge many relationships with teammates, coaches and staff that I will cherish forever.

“With the support of my family, we’ve made the decision to embark on the next chapter.”

Hasselbeck adds additional Colts flavor to ESPN’s football stage, joining long-time executive Bill Polian and former center Jeff Saturday.

“The exceptional opportunity presented to me by ESPN accelerated my decision to retire from playing football,” Hasselbeck said. “I’m excited for the chance to give everything I have to this new endeavor and share the knowledge I have with our viewers.”

“Matthew has been on our radar for many years and we expect him to have an immediate impact as he transitions from the playing field to a marquee analyst role on our signature NFL shows,” said Seth Markman, ESPN’s senior coordinating producer of NFL studio shows.

After playing sparingly in 2013-14 as Andrew Luck’s backup, Hasselbeck was forced to carry a heavier load last season. He started eight games while Luck dealt with a variety of injuries, and kept the Colts in the AFC South race by posting a 5-3 record despite battling injuries of his own: a sprained right shoulder, ribs, jaw, etc.

Hasselbeck retires as one of the most productive quarterbacks in NFL history. He ranks No. 22 with 36,638 yards, tied for No. 31 with 212 touchdowns, No. 18 with 3,222 completions and No. 19 with 5,330 attempts.

Hasselbeck was 85-75 as a starter, and directed the Seattle Seahawks to Super Bowl XL after the 2005 season.

You can follow Mike Chappell on Twitter at @mchappell51