For the vast majority of football players, the NFL stands for "not for long."
But there are a select few blessed with the talent and good health to continue their careers deep into their 30s.
Many of these players are well known; Peyton Manning, Tom Brady and others have long been in the national spotlight. But there are a number of unheralded players who have played far from the spotlight.
Here are seven journeymen who have quietly continued their careers well into their 30s.
37-year-old London Fletcher is an ageless wonder.
Signed by the Rams as an undrafted free agent out of John Carroll University in 1998, Fletcher has become the iron man of the NFL.
Fletcher bounced around the league and didn't make a Pro Bowl until the age of 34 in 2009, but he has always managed to hang on to a starting job.
Not since the 2000 season, while he was still in St. Louis, has Fletcher been left out of the starting lineup. And never in his 15-year career has he missed a game.
Takeo Spikes is the ultimate journeyman, having bounced around between five different franchises over the course of his 15 years in the NFL.
His career began as a first-round pick of the Bengals out of Auburn in 1998, and Spikes spent the first five years of his career in Cincinnati.
Perhaps his best years came in Buffalo, where he was selected to the Pro Bowl in 2003 and 2004. But since leaving the Bills in 2006, Spikes has taken a tour of the NFL.
After brief stints in Philadelphia, San Francisco and most recently San Diego, Spikes is once again looking for a home.
Spikes is 36 years old, but according to NFL.com, he plans to return for the 2013 season.
As a first-round pick of the Packers in 1998, Holliday's career may be considered somewhat disappointing.
After recording eight sacks as a rookie, Holliday never again matched that total and has never been selected to a Pro Bowl. But his longevity is certainly impressive.
Holliday spent five years in Green Bay, but he has bounced around between five different franchises over the course of the past 10 seasons.
He spent the past two years in Arizona, where he appeared in all 32 games, but he is currently a free agent looking for a place to spend his 16th season in the league.
Andre Carter, a first-round pick of the 49ers in 2001, has put together a bizarre career with a number of peaks and valleys.
As the seventh-overall selection in the draft out of California, Carter had high expectations. And after a 12.5-sack performance in 2002, he appeared destined for greatness.
But over his final three seasons in San Francisco, he recorded just 13 sacks in 38 games.
Carter then spent five years in Washington, where he recorded a handful of double-digit sack seasons, but never maintained the consistency from year to year.
In 2011, Carter signed with New England where he revived his career and was selected to his first Pro Bowl.
Carter spent the 2012 season as a reserve with the Raiders and is now a free agent hoping to continue his career with a fifth franchise.
As an undrafted free agent out of Richmond in 2000, Paris Lenon was hoping for just one season in the NFL, let alone 14.
Lenon was cut by the Panthers, Packers and Seahawks before finally being re-signed by the Packers in 2002 and making his NFL debut.
He didn't start his first game until 2004, but in 2005 he earned a starting job with the Packers and has never looked back.
Since leaving Green Bay following the 2005 season, Lenon has bounced around from Detroit to St. Louis to Arizona, including a brief stop in New England, where he was cut before the start of the 2009 season.
Lenon started every game during his three-year career in Arizona, but he's now a free agent hoping to continue his career elsewhere.
Will Witherspoon has never been selected to a Pro Bowl and never receives much national attention. But since being selected in the third round by the Carolina Panthers in 2002, Witherspoon has quietly started over 150 games.
After four years in Carolina, Witherspoon signed with the Rams, where he spent just over three seasons.
Midway through the 2009 season, Witherspoon was traded to Philadelphia where he started the final 10 games of the year for the Eagles. The midseason trade gave Witherspoon the distinction of being one of the few players to appear in 17 regular-season games in a single year.
Witherspoon spent the past three years in Tennessee, but he became an unrestricted free agent this offseason.
Brandon Stokley can thank Peyton Manning for his surprisingly long career.
After breaking into the league as a fourth-round pick of the Ravens in 1999, it was during his time with Manning in Indianapolis that Stokley's career took off.
Stokley posted career highs in yards and touchdowns in 2004, when he emerged as one of Manning's favorite targets.
After stints with the Broncos, Seahawks and Giants, Stokley returned to Denver, along with Manning, this past season.
The 36-year-old caught 45 passes from Manning in 2012, but has seemingly been replaced by Wes Welker and will look to continue his career elsewhere in 2013.