Schroder ends NYPD Blue shift

Rick Schroder is officially off the NYPD Blue force after two and a half seasons with ABC's cop drama, Reuters reports.

Rumors had been afoot for weeks that Schroder, absent from Blue's May 22 season finale, wouldn't be back for the show's ninth season. In a statement, Schroder said he wanted to spend more time with his family. Schroder, 31, and wife Andrea are expecting their fourth child this August. "The long hours required to shoot 'NYPD Blue' would prevent me from being where I really want to be at this time -- which is with my family," Schroder said.

The current season ended with his character MIA after his stripper girlfriend was found dead in his apartment. No word yet on how they'll write Schroder's character out of the show. His absence will be partly filled through new cast members, including Mark-Paul Gosselaar, this fall.