When Is It Time to Hang Up the Cleats?

Jay KaneContributor IFebruary 15, 2009

It is not easy to hang up the cleats or retire from any sport.  To leave something you truly love is not simple not matter what it is.

Some fans grow impatient or unhappy with athletes like Brett Favre when they are trying to decide whether or not to hang up there cleats.  These fans are not athletes or never have been.  Because if they were, they would understand just how hard it is to hang them up.

Either you have a competitive spirit or you don't!  Brett Favre will probably turn to the golf course for his competition now.  So many of us turn to golf when our bodies don't let us run up and down the court on Tuesday night, or that Thursday night softball game.

For true athletes we never really hang up the cleats.  We just exchange them for different pair of shoes.  We continue to play and compete at whatever we can, at least until the grim reaper comes for us.

Brett Favre has finally hung up his football cleats, but for Brett it will probably mean it's time for hunting shoes most of the time.  Some might say he should of never played for the Jets, but I think Brett would of regretted it more if he didn't play in 2008.

The greatest wide receiver ever to play football, Jerry Rice.  What team did he play for?  San Francisco 49ers right!  Well if you remember before Jerry hung up his cleats he played for the Raiders and Seahawks.

Favre is a Packer and Rice is a 49er and they always will be.  Muhammad Ali said it best at the end of the 2007 season when everyone thought it would be Favre's last season, "Welcome to the legends club".

The other side of the coin would be Barry Sanders.  Barry left the game of football when no one expected it, and in the prime of his career.  Barry was one of the games most exciting and entertaining running backs ever to play the game. 

And lets not forget about Mike Eruzione also.  Mike was a big part of one of the best sports moments in history and could of continued his career, but decided to end his hockey career on a very high note.

We all choose our moment to hang them up and for different reasons.  But hanging up the cleats is not an easy thing to do, so we all find the right moment for ourselves.  But the competitive spirit never leaves, we just find a different way to satisfy the spirit of competitiveness.