Former University of Maine defensive end Mike DeVito has announced his retirement from the NFL after nine seasons.

DeVito, 31, was undrafted out of college but signed as a free agent with the New York Jets in 2007. He spent six seasons with the Jets before moving on to the Kansas City Chiefs for his final three seasons.

He missed all but one game in the 2014 season after tearing his Achilles tendon in the season opener, but returned last year to help the Chiefs get back into the playoffs. DeVito had 19 tackles and a career-high three sacks for Kansas City.

His last game as a pro came in Gillette Stadium – not too far from where he grew up on Cape Cod – when the Patriots defeated the Chiefs 27-20 in the AFC Divisional round of the playoffs.

For his career, DeVito had 250 tackles and 5.5 sacks. He also forced six fumbles.

DeVito, who now lives in Hampden, announced his retirement in a heartfelt letter that was published in Monday’s Bangor Daily News.

In the letter, he thanked the organizations and fans in New York and Kansas City and all the people in football who touched his life. He wrote of the many lessons football taught him: “The last lesson is the reason why I have made the decision to move on from football. It is this: there are more important things in life than football. As hard as it is to say good-bye to the game that has made me the man I am, I cannot wait for the second half of this journey through life, loving (his wife) Jessie more and more every day and watching my son Rocco start a journey of his own.”