Why Are You Still Here? Athletes We Can't Believe Are Still Playing

Nick Dimengo@@itsnickdimengoFeatured ColumnistOctober 18, 2012

Why Are You Still Here? Athletes We Can't Believe Are Still Playing

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    Future Hall of Famer Alex Rodriguez is all over the news for various reasons this week, but it's clear that his benching in the ALCS is a direct result of his declining numbers.

    While it could just be a postseason slump, people everywhere think a major factor is his age and deteriorating body.

    But because A-Rod can't be A-Goner until at least the end of the season, it got us thinking about some of the other athletes that can't swallow their pride and just retire already.

    Some of these dudes can't be blamed for sticking around the game too long—no one would turn down millions if a team were willing to throw it their way—but regardless of how or why they're still in their leagues, they have to know all they're doing is taking up a roster spot. We're just glad Evander Holyfield finally decided to hang it up.

    Can't the rest of these guys just follow his lead?

25. David Duval

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    At one point in his career, Duval was actually the No. 1 ranked player in the world—and he even won a major (2001 British Open)—but after failing to win a tournament in the 11 years since, can't he just hang them up?

    It's sad to say, but for whatever reason, dude just lost the stroke.

24. Mark Brunell

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    This is a little bit of cheating since Brunell's currently a free agent—and probably won't be signed to any team this season—but he makes the cut for still holding out hope.

    Dude's 42, and he came into the league before the Browns became the Ravens and before the Jags or Panthers even existed. If a team comes calling, please Mark, stay unemployed.

23. Ryan Giggs

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    Giggs is one of the most respected footballers around—as evidenced by his selection on the Great Britain Olympic team this past summer—but at almost 39 years old, might we recommend not lacing them up again?

    He's been with club powerhouse Manchester United since 1990, becoming a regular the following season.

    We were becoming regular at that time too, as in a regular student, just starting kindergarten.

22. Sidney Rice

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    It's not that Rice doesn't have NFL skills, it's that ever since he had the hip surgery following his 2009 Pro Bowl campaign with the Vikings and then signed a massive deal with the Seahawks that guaranteed him $18 million, he hasn't really lived up to it.

    We don't really want him to just go away—he's only 26-years-old—it's that we just want him to take some time off to see if he can ever rediscover those skills he showed before the injury.

21. Jamie Moyer

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    Much like Brunell, this is kind of a cheap add to our list, but the facts are facts: Moyer is 49 years old, and up until his release in May from the Rockies, he was still a major leaguer, even getting scooped up twice (Orioles, Blue Jays) before finally taking the rest of the year off.

    It's great to have all those records and all, but when you're old enough to be your pitching counterpart's dad, things are a little weird.

20. Martin Brodeur

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    When all's said and done, Marty Brodeur will go down as one of the best goaltenders in NHL history, but knowing he's pushing 40-years-old and just signed a new two-year deal a couple of months ago, we doubt he's packing up the pads anytime soon.

    He did lead the Devils to the Stanley Cup Finals for his fifth career trip this past season (ultimately losing), but at least we know dude's still got it!

19. Omar Vizquel

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    This was a tough one for us, because growing up an Indians fan, we remember seeing Omar man shortstop for our Tribe. But until he recently announced his retirement, Vizquel was the oldest position player in the Major's.

    He still found a way to contribute the past couple years—and is only 100+ hits away from 3,000 for his career—but we're glad he finally put the gold glove away. Let's just hope he doesn't reconsider.

18. Grant Hill

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    It seems like centuries ago that Hill, who started his career with the Pistons in 1994, was one of the league's best young players. Now one of the NBA's eldest statesmen, Hill is in that predicament where he knows he can still contribute but just can't seem to find the right team.

    Now signed with the Clippers, we hope this good guy gets a chance at winning his title with the upstart "Lob City" crew, because we really don't want him holding on just to win a title a la Bill Walton with the Celts.

17. Morgan Shepherd

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    We don't know much about this guy other than that he's a 71-year-old NASCAR driver who is still racing on the Nationwide tour. 

    Besides the fact that it's pretty incredible, we really just think he should be retired, taking care of grandkids and playing golf, you know, doing 71-year-old types of things.

16. Matt Leinart

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    We've been known to tell a drunken lie that Leinart is our cousin while at bars, so when we say it pains us to add him here, words can't even describe the feeling. Problem is, Matty hasn't done much since being drafted in '06.

    After a series of injuries, off-the-field escapades, and missed opportunities, here's to hoping being reunited with his former mentor Carson Palmer in Oakland can give him some better luck.

15. Juwan Howard

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    In the ultimate "title-chaser" move, Howard followed the Big Three to Miami back in 2010, giving him the best chance at a ring in his career—which he got. So when the Heat receive their rings in a couple weeks, we'll honestly be asking ourselves why Howard is up on the stage.

    In our eyes, he's old enough to be coaching most of his teammates to titles, not contributing on the floor. Matter of fact, he's only a couple years younger than his head coach, Erik Spoelstra, so that's all we have to say about how we feel about him still being in the league.

14. Jaromir Jagr

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    We remember skating around, emulating Jagr and Mario Lemieux in our basement growing up, but now that Super Mario's been done for five years, we wished Jagr would've done the same.

    After a short stint "semi-retired" and playing overseas a couple years ago, Jagr continues to try and capture another Cup win, even signing a one-year deal with the Dallas Stars this offseason. 

    Based on his numbers the past couple years, he can still puck it up, but we really wished he didn't.

13. Randy Moss

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    Remember when Moss was the most feared receiver in the NFL? Hell, it was only a couple years ago that corners lost sleep over having to match up with him.

    But now he finds himself buried on San Francisco's depth chart, lacking any cohesion with the offense to make an impact. 

    We love you, Randy, but if things don't work out for you this year, start marking the year's off till you end up in Canton, okay?

12. Antawn Jamison

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    Jamison has always been a big-time scorer, but after missing out on his title opportunity when LeBron left Cleveland, he's still on the hunt for that elusive ring.

    What better way than to join forces with the Black Mamba, Superman and Hair Canada in Los Angeles?

    We've always thought highly of Jamison from back in his days at UNC, but in our opinion, he should grab a clipboard and be coaching this year because he's not seeing much time on the floor.

11. Matt Hasselbeck

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    By far one of the coolest athletes we've ever met, Hasselbeck showed last week why he should stop lacing the sneaks up every week, and use his charisma and personality on TV instead.

    Bro can't quite sling it like he used to, so we'd prefer him entertaining us pregame rather than yelling at him through our TV during the game.

10. Jim Thome

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    With over 600 bombs in his career, Thome is a future Hall of Famer who has nothing left to prove—well, except for that whole World Series thing.

    After being traded to the Orioles midway through this season, he saw a couple at-bats, bopped a couple dongs, and had a run at the postseason. But at 41, he should probably get comfy somewhere other than the dugout because surely he can't keep hanging on as he has the past couple years.

9. Hedo Turkoglu

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    At 33 years old, Turkoglu isn't necessarily in the same tier as some of the championship-chaser's we've previously mentioned—hell, he's on the rebuilding Magic—but for his diminishing skills, he makes the list.

    He proved last year that he still has some ball left in the tank, but it's a little obnoxious to think he's being paid $11 million to score ten points per game. 

    We'd almost prefer he were on a team like the Heat, Lakers or Thunder because that way we could kind of justify his role in the league.

8. Jerry Stackhouse

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    Like Grant Hill, Stackhouse is one of those guys that just seems to be hanging around for a shot at his title. After narrowly missing his chance with the Mavs and Heat (both team's won it all the year after he played there), he's the guy you always do a double-take on when looking at a team's roster.

    Now playing for the Brooklyn Nets, we hope he learned from his time as a playoff analyst for NBA TV and decides to make it his full-time job sooner rather than later.

    He did have one of the sickest dunks ever—too bad it was in 1995 during the Duke/UNC game.

7. Roger Clemens

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    You're no longer "The Rocket."

    You allegedly misled and lied to Congress about prior PED use.

    You're 50-years-old.

    Please just give up trying to play professional sports again.

6. Rashard Lewis

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    Lewis has always rubbed us the wrong way for some reason. Maybe it's because we never bought into the hype? Or that we never thought he was quite as reliable as some teams thought he was?

    We think it's because, like some other athletes, he got paid to be a star but never carried that burden.

    Regardless, he's got some serious money in the bank and is chasing a ring with the Heat, and we know this will come back to bite us as karma will make him a key contributor on their title defense this year.

    That's how it'll go. Yep.

5. Tracy McGrady

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    McGrady had some sick kicks back in the day, but after a period of injuries, he has found himself a journeymen who still seems like he wants to be "The Man" more than just a role player.

    We need to ask why so many teams still feel it necessary to hand out cash to this dude. He's only 33, but there's no way a GM thinks he can contribute for a team!

4. David Carr

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    Once dubbed the savior of a franchise when picked No. 1 by the expansion Texans in 2002, Carr found himself lying on his back more often than not, forcing that little clock in a quarterback's head to run faster than normal, all but deflating his career.

    Somehow, though, he landed on the New York Football Giants, backing up a two-time Super Bowl MVP quarterback, and even winning a ring last year. 

    For Carr, life must be pretty good. But really, how's he still in the league?

3. Darko Milicic

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    Can anyone still believe Darko was in the same draft class as Bron, Melo, D-Wade and Bosh, not to mention he was drafted higher than all those guys not named LeBron? Insane.

    The prospect that never became more somehow has found millions of bucks waiting for him on the table.

    We guess being tall with an average jumper has bigger benefits than anyone thought.

2. Kwame Brown

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    One of the biggest busts in NBA history, Brown is still in the league somehow.

    He jumps from city to city, and for whatever reason, he continues to collect monster paychecks from teams that know he won't be anything but someone to rely on for fouls and inconsistent play.

    We feel for the guy, but not as much as we would if he accepted the fact he shouldn't be hooping anymore.

1. Gordie Howe

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    We know he doesn't play anymore—or so we think—but Howe's the ultimate sports creeper. You know, the guy who just hangs around way too long for no apparent reason.

    By far one of the greatest hockey players to ever skate, Howe holds down our No. 1 spot because he once played a hockey game in the IHL at age 71. 

    Because his Red Wings jersey is what Cameron wore in Ferris Bueller's Day Off, and that movie's 25-years-old.

    Frankly, he's the guy that says he's retired from hockey, though we're not so sure he ever is.