Sports Stars We Didn't Know Were Still Playing
Neil Young once said "It's better to burn out than to fade away."
He has a point, but what if that whole "fading away" process makes you millions of dollars? Would that convince you to stick around a bit longer?
Yes—yes it would. Being the best is great, but being the backup for the best still pays good legal tender.
With that said, the following is a selection of notable athletes who've drifted from the spotlight, but are still in the league and paying the bills as a pro.
These are athletes I (and perhaps you) didn't realize were still playing. They were lost in the shuffle, but like a dollar bill in the wash, they're a strange joy to rediscover.
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Dallas Clark—still in the NFL, still the most appropriately named guy you know.
A solid but quiet role player, Dallas Clark is the quintessential utility tight end. That being said, the national media didn't exactly put a BOLO out on the former Indianapolis Colts Pro Bowler when he moved from Tampa Bay to the Baltimore Ravens.
Clark is now in Baltimore, and viewers who watched the Ravens' season opener against the Denver Broncos last Thursday might remember seeing Clark working in steadily with the Baltimore offense. You also might've squinted and muttered "Is that Dallas (bleep)ing Clark?"
J. Meric/Getty Images
Oh Joba, where art thou? Delivering pizzas? Running a car dealership?
Oh, you're still with the Yankees, doing Joba things.
Joba Chamberlain became an instant celebrity around New York in 2007. His pitching effectively helped save the Yankees' season and elevated Chamberlain to folk hero status.
Since then, Chamberlain has been falling through trampolines and fizzling out. Yankees fans haven't forgotten him—although they try to—but the rest of baseball raises an eyebrow when they see Chamberlain step up to the rubber.
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Kellen Winslow is alive and playing football in the NFL? News to me.
I had assumed Winslow had packed up his knees and left the NFL to answer his life's calling as a soldier of fortune. As it turns out, the former Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end isn't fighting guerrilla warfare in Laos and has not changed his name to "Bongo."
That said, you can imagine my surprise when I saw Winslow catch seven passes for 79 yards and a touchdown this Sunday for the New York Jets, who signed Winslow this summer to a one-year, $840,000 deal. Will he make it back to elite status? We'll see. He's certainly making his way onto at least a few fantasy rosters this week.
Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Jason O. Watson-USA TODAY Sports
He was born in 1973. ESPN credits his birthplace as the USSR. In other words, Nikolai Khabibulin is a grey mare in the realm of professional sports.
The 40-year-old Russian goaltender has been in the NHL since 1994, and has played for five different franchises during his career. The best part is, teams still want him.
The Chicago Blackhawks signed the "'Bulin Wall" to a one-year contract this summer. Chalk up another $1.7 million for the Khab.
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Remember Derek Anderson? The momentary star quarterback for the Browns?
If you don't, you might recall him as the Cardinals quarterback who LOL'd on Monday Night Football and then screamed at the world.
Yup, he's still in the league. Anderson is currently backing up Cam Newton for the Carolina Panthers and will be with the team through the 2013-14 season.
Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports
He's currently a free agent, but big Kurt "The Hurt" Thomas could be coming back to the NBA for the 2013-14 season.
The only thing stopping him, well, is that he's hurt. The former New York Knick is recovering from right foot surgery and the 40-year-old forward hasn't decided whether or not he wants to reclaim his title as the "NBA's oldest active player."
Don't focus on the maybe's, though. Focus on the fact that Thomas—a guy who was drafted by the Miami Heat in 1995—is still considering lacing them up. He has played for eight different teams in his NBA career, and he's still kicking. Sort of.
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
He played for the "Greatest Show on Turf," and he's STILL on the defensive line.
It could be due to the fact I'm not a Redskins fan, but hearing that London Fletcher was still playing football at the age of 38 blew my mind on Monday night.
Even more mind-blowing is this follow-up fact about Fletcher: The man hasn't missed a game since signing with the St. Louis Rams in 1998. That makes him the John Stockton of the NFL, except Stockton still missed games on occasion.
David Maxwell/Getty Images
Daisuke Matsuzaka has had a rough run. The Japanese right-hander vanished into disappointing obscurity with the Boston Red Sox, wound up on the Cleveland Indians Triple-A club in 2013 and was released in August.
Dice-K has since signed with the New York Mets, albeit to muted reviews. He isn't off to a great start in New York, but is doing just enough to buy himself time with the franchise.
With that, we conclude our biyearly "Where is Dice-K?" update.
Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports
Ol' bar-fight Jimmy is still in the league. Sort of.
Jimmy Clausen was recently released by the Carolina Panthers in August when Carolina opted to stick with backup quarterback Derek Anderson.
Although currently floating in free agency, it's likely the former Notre Dame star will end up on an NFL roster in the coming months. Teams always need backup quarterbacks.
Don't be too proud, Jacksonville. Give Jimmy or Timmy a call.
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
He's become an old punchline and cautionary tale in the NHL, but the oft-injured Rick DiPietro is back on the market.
After drafting DiPietro first overall in 2000 and signing him to a monstrous 15-year deal in 2006, the New York Islanders recently bought out the remaining years on DiPietro's contract.
DiPietro is now a free agent, and is reportedly working hard to improve his fitness and earn a spot on an NHL roster.
Florida Panthers, perhaps? We'll see. For a guy who's easily forgettable, he sure has baggage.
Image via MLSsoccer.com
We've found him—the Arsenio Hall of soccer.
Indeed, I've located Freddy—he's alive and well, everyone. Turns out Adu has been riding the pine down in South America with Brazilian club Bahia, but has recently seen some playing time on the pitch.
Adu has only made six appearances on the pitch since leaving the Philadelphia Union, but hey—money is money.
I was cleaning out the attic the other day when I heard a faint thumping coming from inside one of my plastic storage bins.
Sure enough, I opened it up and found Marcus Camby inside reading my Goosebumps books.
All joking aside, Camby is very much still in the NBA, and the journeyman center has reportedly been recruited by Dwight Howard to join the Houston Rockets for the 2013-14 season.
39 years young and still making moves in the NBA. Touche, Marcus.
Make moves over to Twitter and let me know who I missed.