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Former Giants linebacker Pierce retires, joins ESPN

The neck injury that limited the Giants' Antonio Pierce to nine games last season has ended his career. But as one door closed for the loquacious linebacker, another opened for him to begin a career as an NFL analyst for ESPN.

The sports network Thursday announced the addition of Pierce, 31, whom the Giants released in February. He will appear on ESPN's "NFL Live" Friday at 4 p.m. to discuss his retirement and his future. His ESPN job officially begins later this month. He'll appear on a variety of platforms, including "Live,'' "SportsCenter,'' "ESPNNews'' and 1050 ESPNNewYork. He'll also do weekly analysis for ESPNNewYork.com.

"I am definitely going to miss the fans, the locker room talks and the excitement of putting on an NFL uniform every Sunday,'' Pierce said in a statement. "I thank my family, friends, teammates, and fans for their support throughout my career.''

Pierce spent four seasons with Washington as an undrafted free agent before joining the Giants for five seasons. He led the Giants in tackles three times, was a three-year captain and made the Pro Bowl in 2006. His totals with the Giants included 537 tackles, seven sacks, six forced fumbles, seven fumble recoveries and four interceptions.

After Pierce was hurt last season, Justin Tuck called him an invaluable presence in the huddle because of his ability to recognize the offense and get the defense in the right position. Certainly, his leadership was missed.

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