There's a danger in deciding that once-successful veterans are done for good.
Remember when Kurt Warner played for the Giants in 2004 and was dreadful, fumbling nine times in 10 games? Remember how everyone assumed he was done?
Remember how he then led the Cardinals to the Super Bowl in 2008?
So yes, there is a danger in deciding that a veteran player is toast. That said, I feel confident that the following players should seriously consider hanging it up, because their prospects on the free-agent market will be non-existent.
Thanks for the memories, guys.
From 2008 until this year, Bob Sanders has appeared in 10 NFL games.
For those keeping track at home, that's 2.5 games per year.
It's time to hang them up, Bob—you can't stay healthy, and an NFL team would be crazy to offer you anything more than the league minimum, if they even do that.
It's been a tragic career for Mr. Sanders. When he was healthy, he was one of the best and most compelling defensive players in the game.
But since 2004, Sanders has only appeared in more than six games twice—14 games in 2005, 15 games in 2007.
With Jamaal Charles returning from injury and Jackie Battle and Dexter McCluster already on the depth chart, it seems unlikely the Chiefs would be interested in bringing Thomas Jones back.
And after a season in which he only rushed for 478 yards and a career-low 3.1 yards per carry, it seems unlikely that other teams around the NFL will jump at the chance to sign the 33-year-old.
Thomas Jones had an excellent career, rushing for 10,591 yards and 68 touchdowns. But I believe that career is over.
I think the following, from Tim MacMahon of ESPN pretty much sums things up:
Linebacker Keith Brooking hasn’t made a decision about retirement, but he’s realistic enough to know that the choice could be made for him.
“This doesn’t feel like my last game,” Brooking said after the Cowboys’ season ended. “But I’ll be 37 next year. I’m sure people will be just knocking down my door to sign me.”
Brooking, a five-time Pro Bowler with the Atlanta Falcons, punctuated that thought with a frustrated, self-effacing laugh.
I watched Brooking absolutely get torched by the Eagles over the middle when the teams first met this season.
Brooking looked old and slow, because he in fact is old and slow.
LaDainian Tomlinson is mulling retirement, though he would like to come back to New York for a third season.
But with Shonn Greene and Joe McKnight already in New York, the Jets may decide to stick with their youth and take a flyer on bringing back the veteran.
And Tomlinson may not get the sort of offer that will make returning to the league worth his while.
It will be sad to see the best running back of his generation and the man with the fifth-most rushing yards (13,684 yards) and second-most rushing touchdowns (145) in NFL history retire.
But all good things must come to an end.
I think this post from Rotoworld sums up what we all think of Ronde Barber these days:
Bucs CB Ronde Barber fractured the ulnar bone in his forearm in Week 17 and will undergo surgery this week.
The injury won't threaten Barber's status for 2012 OTAs or training camp, occurring just as he made his 199th straight start. Barber is a retirement candidate this offseason after a miserable year in terms of both tackling and coverage. An impending free agent, he's not expected back with the Buccaneers if Raheem Morris is fired, which likely will happen on Black Monday.
As you know, Morris was fired, so Barber is probably toast in Tampa Bay. And if the rest of the NFL was watching this year, probably around the league as well.
Hit me up on the Twitter—all the cool kids are doing it.