Hines Ward Retires and 10 Other Guys Who Should

Bobby DaleContributor IIMarch 20, 2012

Hines Ward Retires and 10 Other Guys Who Should

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    Today, Steeler Nation proudly looked on as one of its greats, Hines Ward, tearfully announced that he was hanging 'em up. Steelers fans that cried along with Hines Ward, were doing so not out of sadness due to missing the things he brought to the field, but out of respect and love for what he used to do on it.

    For fans, it is hard to watch former stars plod along as a shell of their former selves. For players, it is even harder to believe that the day has finally come when they can no longer effectively play the game they love.

    Hines Ward walked off into the sunset as he walked away from the podium after his press conference. His decision to do this, instead of play out the string as a sideshow for some other NFL franchise, spoke to his loyalty to the Steeler organization and his own sense of self respect.

    Ward, however, like many players before him, didn't want to hang 'em up. He was forced to look at his options after being released by the Steelers. Instead of taking a deal somewhere else, he decided to leave his legacy in Pittsburgh.

    Many other veterans are in this position as well this offseason. They should follow Hines Ward's example and retire.

Donovan McNabb

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    Age: 35         

    Super Bowl Victories: 0

    McNabb dazzled fans and frustrated defenses for over a decade as the stating quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles. Watching him play recently, however, has left much to be desired.

    Two teams have judged that McNabb has nothing left. It has to be tough for him to have been so close to greatness and then being usurped just as the Eagles finally got enough key weapons around him, but it is what it is.

    Watching David Garrard, who at this stage is a very similar player to McNabb, get signed by the Dolphins means there is one less team looking for the veteran's services. It might be time to make broadcasting a permanent career move.

Terrell Owens

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    Age: 38         

    Super Bowl Victories: 0

    Owens' career kicked off at the tail end of the San Francisco 49ers glory days. To make matters worse, he helped detonate what was left of that dynasty and then went on to be a lightning rod for controversy for several NFL franchises.

    While Owens has been on good behavior for his past two franchises, many teams are deeming him not worth the risk. Who knows what would have happened if he didn't get injured last offseason?

    Right now, playing for the Allen Wranglers is not the type of thing a Hall of Fame-quality wideout should be doing. Now is the time for T.O. to spend more time professionally with Deion Sanders.

LaDainian Tomlinson

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    Age: 32         

    Super Bowl Victories: 0

    L.T. might possibly be the greatest running back since Barry Sanders. He also aptly picked up right where Barry Sanders left off, exciting fans and setting records.

    L.T. was the most exciting runner San Diego has ever seen, and that includes Reggie Bush's high school days.

    With that being said, Tomlinson should be done. His pursuit of a championship is noble and merited; however, his contributions to a competitive team are limited at this point, especially in relation to his legacy.

London Fletcher

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    Age: 36         

    Super Bowl Victories: 1

    Fletcher won early and has been getting paid as of late. He may go down as the most underrated linebacker of this generation.

    Based on pure numbers, he has been almost as productive of a player as Ray Lewis has been for the Ravens. The difference for the undersized Fletcher however is that he has proven himself with three different franchises over the past 14 seasons.

    Fletcher sadly will leave this game just as quietly as he has dominated it, if he chooses to retire this offseason.

Charlie Batch

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    Age: 37         

    Super Bowl Victories: 2

    Charlie Batch has crafted quite a career for himself with the Pittsburgh Steelers, after flaming out as a starter with the Detroit Lions.

    While he never became an NFL star, he was just what Pittsburgh needed as a glue guy on the team. He was able to step in admirably for Big Ben on several occasions throughout the years.

    Now, however, it is time for the Pittsburgh original to go.

Jake Delhomme

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    Age: 37         

    Super Bowl Victories: 0

    Jake Delhomme has somehow found some interest with two franchises since flaming out with the Panthers. His sighting with the Texans at the end of last season showed two things: Jake Delhomme needs to retire and he will be missed in the NFL.

    It is sad he never did get to win a Super Bowl, but he will not be the only player that had a respectable career without a championship.

Michael Bennett

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    Age: 33         

    Super Bowl Victories: 0

    Michael Bennett (yes, that Michael Bennett) has managed to sneak around behind the scenes in the NFL for over a decade.

    When you are 5'9'' and can run a 4.2 40-yard dash, that might be a little easier. But the stealth track star can't possibly move that fast these days.

    It is surely time for him to retire.

Kevin Faulk

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    Age: 35         

    Super Bowl Victories: 3

    Kevin Faulk is the kind of player that never became a star, but is a star in New England Patriots fans' hearts.

    Kevin Faulk will be remembered as a tough, scrappy and clutch player in Patriot lore. But his time is now up.

T.J. Houshmandzadeh

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    Age: 34         

    Super Bowl Victories: 0

    Houshmandzadeh is just finishing up a season being on his third team in three years.

    What's next? He went to Seattle on a big-money deal and flopped, went to Baltimore to chase a championship and missed it and now he's leaving the Raiders.

    The market for slow 33-plus receivers is very small. Just ask Terrell Owens.

Ronde Barber

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    Age: 36         

    Super Bowl Victories: 1

    Not being able to run in Tampa's Cover 2 defense is not a problem for the fading Barber. In fact, Tampa wants him back. But after 15 seasons for a team that has risen, rebuilt and appears to be rising again, Barber may be ready to jump off the pirate ship.

    That move wouldn't be too bad on his part.