5 Future Hall of Famers Who Should Retire After the 2012 NFL Season
As the 2012 NFL season approaches, there are a handful of future Hall of Famers who should be thinking that this will be their last.
With NFL training camps beginning soon, these players will find it harder to get out of bed in the morning, survive two-a-days and get off the trainer's table in the evening.
These men have all had illustrious careers and shouldn't feel like they have anything more to prove on a football field.
The NFL now has a new bevy of talent that can carry the torch.
Thanks to these guys, the NFL is as popular as it's ever been. While the game won't be the same without them, the NFL will forever be better because of their presence.
The Extra Point: Jason Hanson Is an All-Time Great
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The Detroit Lions have always been able to rely on kicker Jason Hanson.
Over the past 20 years, Hanson has split the uprights in the Motor City.
Despite playing for some dismal Lions teams over the years, Hanson is one of the best kickers of all time.
He's netted 50 field goals from 50-plus yards—which is the most in the history of the game. He's in the top five in games played (311), field goals made (463) and points (2,016).
Now 42 years old, 2012 should be Hanson's last in the league. It's just a shame the Lions couldn't have become the solid franchise they are today before he grew too old.
Hanson bailed out the Lions for years. If and when their offense could get into range, they could always depend on him putting three on the board.
It's kind of hard to believe that Hanson has made 627 extra points in his career—diehard Lions fans know how bad the team was for much of his time in Detroit.
When it's all said and done, No. 4 will hang from the rafters of Ford Field. Fans will remember him as the best modern-day Lion of all time not named Barry Sanders.
Hanson should start writing his induction speech now.
Ed Reed Has Already Let It Be Known That Retirement Is on His Mind
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Baltimore Ravens fans don't want to believe it, but Ed Reed's days in the NFL are nearing an end.
Reed has already hinted about retirement this offseason and only has one year left on his current contract.
Although he'll turn only 34 years old during the 2012 NFL season, retirement seems to be captivating Reed's mind.
No one can blame him. With the recent evidence regarding players' long-term health issues and a Hall of Fame career under his belt, Reed has little else to play for.
Sure, a ring would be nice, but the Ravens were inches away from the Super Bowl in 2011, and going that deep in the playoffs in back-to-back seasons is easier said than done.
Reed is the active leader with 57 career interceptions, he has six career pick-sixes and is a five-time All-Pro.
NFL fans will be speaking of the imminent threat that Reed always posed to opposing offenses. Quarterbacks thought twice when throwing the ball his way, and no receiver wanted to travel through his territory.
Aspiring NFL safeties will forever want to be him, and Canton's history will be richer with Reed residing there for eternity.
Steve Hutchinson Won't Complete His 3-Year Deal with the Titans
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Steve Hutchinson may have just signed a three-year deal with the Tennessee Titans, but that doesn't mean he'll finish his contract before retiring.
The massive offensive lineman is now 34 years old and getting out of the game before injuries take their toll will begin to creep into Hutchinson's mind soon.
It's no secret that he was signed by the Titans to try and lure his good friend, Peyton Manning, to the Titans this offseason. Hutchinson doesn't have to be loyal to the Titans; after all, this franchise will be his third in his Hall of Fame career.
Titans fans should be happy with whatever they can get out of him.
The Titans are pleased with the impact that Hutchinson has made on the team to this point in the offseason. Look for his skills, leadership and mentality to rub off on the squad.
Because of the improvements that Hutchinson will bring to the rushing attack, the Titans will be a dark-horse contender for the Super Bowl this season.
There's no doubt that he'll be the difference for the Titans in 2012, but don't cross your fingers beyond that point.
The five-time first-team All-Pro went to the University of Michigan and is smart enough to know when to leave the game.
There's no doubt that he'll have a spot in Canton one day.
Ronde Barber Will Be a Coach on the Field This Season for the Buccaneers
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The Tampa Bay Buccaneers made a classy move this offseason when they signed future Hall of Fame cornerback Ronde Barber to a one-year, $3 million deal.
Barber will be in his 16th NFL season, all with the Bucs, and this will undoubtedly be his last.
He's moving to safety this season, showing his selflessness and willingness to do whatever is needed for his team.
Something remarkable about Barber is that he's started every game since the 2000 season—that's 192 straight games without injury, suspension or holdout.
He has 43 interceptions, 27 sacks, 14 forced fumbles, 12 fumble recoveries and a Super Bowl ring. He's a three-time first-team All-Pro and he may even get his own statue in front of Raymond James Stadium someday.
One place he'll definitely have a plaque is the Hall of Fame. Every NFL fan should get a glimpse of him this season before he's gone.
Randy Moss Is Ready to Wow in 2012, but Beyond That Is Still in Question
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Randy Moss is one of the most publicized players in NFL history.
Simply put—he's the best player on the field when he wants to be. After taking the 2011 season off, he has returned to play for the San Francisco 49ers in 2012.
There's every indication that Moss wants to be the best again this season, and that should cause Niners fans to be restless at night with anticipation.
Moss' 153 career touchdowns as a wide receiver is tied for second best in league history behind Jerry Rice. One more trip to the end zone and Moss can shed talks of he and Terrell Owens being on the same level.
With the Niners already being a true Super Bowl contender, Moss should play out of his mind this season. He already has nine seasons of 10-plus touchdown receptions and would like to make this year season No. 10.
As for the future, that's always in question when it comes to the enigmatic Moss. A stellar 2012 season followed by a final retirement would serve him best.
Regardless of his future, when Moss is truly finished with his career, he'll have a nice yellow jacket.
Tony Gonzalez Has Changed the Game Forever with His Offensive Abilities
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The NFL has recently become a league where the tight end position has become the focal point, and Tony Gonzalez paved the way for this trend.
Gonzalez is the best the league may ever see; the NFL wouldn't be what it is today without him.
Sure, tight ends like Rob Gronkowski and Jimmy Graham may be all the rage these days, but they couldn't have done it without Gonzalez being so potent on offense.
Gonzalez has 1,149 career receptions, good for second best all time for any player. Given that he's only surpassed 100-plus catches one time in his career, his consistency over his career has been priceless.
With five touchdown catches in 2012, he'll eclipse the 100-touchdown plateau. His 95 career touchdowns currently rank No. 9 on the all-time list.
Gonzalez has revolutionized the tight end position. The latest trend for NFL teams is to find a tight end on a basketball court—Gonzalez played hoops for the California Golden Bears in college.
Now 36 years old, his days of being a stud are nearing an end. It would be best for Gonzalez to retire before his skills deteriorate. Despite catching 80 passes for the Atlanta Falcons in 2011, 2012 should be his last.
His legacy will go down as changing the game for the better, forever. He's an all-around great player and humanitarian. He should have his own wing in Canton when his day comes.