Hamilton spent entire 12-year career with Giants
Hamilton had been considering leaving the game since at least December, confronted with a coaching change and a pending cocaine charge.
"It took me a while. I've been going back and forth with it for a couple of weeks," Hamilton, 32, said in a statement released Friday by the Giants. "I've talked about it with my family, and it's time for me to move on.
"I planned on coming back and getting to the Super Bowl," Hamilton said, but the Giants missed the playoffs with a 4-12 record. "I wanted it to be a storybook ending. But sometimes in life things don't always work out the way you planned."
After missing the final 10 games of the 2002 season with an Achilles' tendon injury, Hamilton started all 15 games he played the past season.
He finished tied for sixth on the team with 68 tackles, including 51 solo. Hamilton had 1.5 sacks, all against Buffalo on Nov. 30. Hamilton had a season-high 12 tackles that afternoon, including seven solo.
His 173 games for the Giants tied for sixth with Harry Carson on the franchise's all-time list. He recorded 526 tackles, including 376 solo. Hamilton had 63 career sacks, placing fourth in the Giants book.
Hamilton was the Giants' fourth-round pick out of Pittsburgh in 1992.
In November, Hamilton was indicted on a cocaine possession charge stemming from a motor vehicle stop in May. If convicted, he faces a prison term of three to five years. He has pleaded not guilty.
Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press