Veteran defensive tackle Sedrick Ellis has decided to hang up his cleats.

He informed the Chicago Bears that he plans to retire, the team announced.

It's a surprising development given that he just signed a one-year, $1 million contract last month.

Half of the deal is guaranteed, and the Bears are regarded as likely to try to recover a $285,000 signing bonus.

Ellis, 28, is a former first-round draft pick who started every game for the New Orleans Saints last season.

The former USC star was an All-American and Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year drafted seventh overall in the 2008 NFL draft.

Now, he's done with football and the Bears are scrambling to acquire depth.

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Aaron Wilson covers the Ravens for The Baltimore Sun