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Minnesota native Eric Decker looking forward to homecoming

New York Jets wide receiver Eric Decker prior

New York Jets wide receiver Eric Decker prior to the Denver Broncos at New York Jets at MetLife Stadium on Sunday Oct. 12, 2014. Credit: Lee S. Weissman

The Minnesota boy is back home.

Eric Decker grew up as the pride of Cold Spring, Minnesota, a rural town 77 miles northwest of Minneapolis with no more than three stoplights and about 4,000 people. And the Jets receiver expects to have a large cheering section at TCF Bank Stadium on the campus of the University of Minnesota, his alma mater, when the Jets play the Vikings on Sunday.

"Friends, family, everybody's coming to the game," he told Vikings writers on a conference call this past week. "It's always fun to go somewhere where you know a lot of people and haven't been for a while. So it will be an exciting time for me."

He played most of his college career at the Metrodome before the Golden Gophers moved to the then-new outdoor stadium his senior season. And now Decker will try to lead the Jets (2-10) past his hometown Vikings (5-7).

"A win in general would be huge right now, but being back home in front of a home crowd would be very exciting," he said.

Before he was drafted in the third round by the Denver Broncos in 2009, he was a star at Minnesota. And by the time Decker's career was over, he was the program's leader in career receptions (227) and receiving yards (3,119).

"I'll always be a proud Golden Gopher," he said. " . . . Minnesota will always have a piece of my heart."

Plenty of local football fans will be eager to watch the smalltown kid who turned into an NFL star.

But they're on their own when it comes to tickets.

"I made them go to StubHub," Decker said. "I bought zero. StubHub it up."

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