Tiki Barber: 10 Other Prominent Athletes Who Attempted a Comeback

Tim GrovesCorrespondent IMarch 9, 2011

Tiki Barber: 10 Other Prominent Athletes Who Attempted a Comeback

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    Tiki Barber has filed papers to come out of retirement.  The 36-year-old running back will attempt to step onto an NFL field and play again after "retiring" for four years.

    It is unknown what the interest level is for Barber right now, but undoubtedly some teams would be interested in seeing if the former New York Giant still has something left in him. 

    Of course he won't be the first athlete to pull the old switcheroo when it comes to retirement.  Countless other athletes have called it quits only to change their minds.  So who were they?  And how did they do?  Look ahead at 10 prominent athletes who came out of retirement.

10. Mark Martin

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    Mark Martin became famous while driving for Rousch Racing.  He spent the majority of his career with the team and finally announced his retirement after the 2005 season.  He spent that year saluting and thanking the fans for all that they had done for him during his racing career.

    Unfortunately, contract issues and other dilemmas left Rousch racing without a driver for the No. 6 car in 2006.  Martin agreed to come back and forgo his retirement. 

    After the season it was announced that Martin would run a "toned down" schedule for Ginn Racing, splitting time with another driver.  He was successful right away and nearly competed for a spot in the season-ending Chase despite missing a handful of races.  Martin continued to run a limited schedule in 2007 and 2008.

    Finally, in the summer of 2008, Rick Hendrix and Mark Martin came to an agreement that would see Martin race again full time in 2009.  He has competed for the team since then.

9. Randy Couture

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    Captain America has been a staple inside the Octagon since 1997.  The former wrestling standout would use his excellent game plans and stifling control to emerge victorious against some of the best in the world.

    After competing at heavyweight and dropping down to light heavyweight, Couture finally retired in 2006 after losing by knockout to light heavyweight king Chuck Liddell

    The retirement would not last long.

    In January of 2007 Couture announced his plans to returns to the UFC, with a title shot against heavyweight champion Tim Sylvia.  In March of 2007, Couture won the heavyweight title yet again after his year away from the sport. 

    Since then Couture has continued to be active in the organization, despite some disagreements between the UFC and himself.  He is currently scheduled to fight Lyoto Machida in April.

8. Ricky Williams

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    Ricky Williams was a highly touted running back prospect coming out of his college career at Texas.  The Saints spent a high draft pick on the Longhorn and expected big things from him.

    After moderate success with New Orleans, Williams was traded to the Dolphins in 2002 for multiple draft picks.  Williams thrived in Miami.  In his first year with the team he led the league in rushing and was voted to his first Pro Bowl.

    Then in 2004 it was announced that Williams had tested positive for marijuana and would face a four-game suspension from the league.  Williams retired instead. 

    After sitting out the entire 2004 season, Williams returned in 2005 rejuvenated and ready to go.  He has competed ever since.

7. Magic Johnson

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    Magic Johnson is widely considered as one of the best players to ever play in the NBA.  A 6'9" point guard, Johnson was blessed with a gifted eye for passing and an ability to compete at almost any position. 

    After leading the Lakers to multiple titles and participating in a riveting rivalry with Larry Bird and the Boston Celtics, Johnson shocked the world by announcing his contraction of HIV in 1991.  Johnson retired from the game.

    He would return to play in the 1992 All-Star game.  Johnson was awarded the game's MVP award and was planning a full-time return, but due to player protests, he retired yet again.

    Johnson returned once again in 1996 and played 32 games with the Lakers.  He retired for good after that.

6. Gordie Howe

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    Gordie Howe is often considered one of the greatest hockey players of all time.  A dominant force who competed with the NHL in five different decades, Howe was an enforcer on the ice.

    Howe led the Red Wings to multiple Stanley Cups from the start of his career through 1971.  After the season, he announced his retirement due to chronic wrist problems that hindered his ability to play.  Howe took a front office job with Detroit.

    A little over a year later, the Houston Aeros of the WHA extended a contract to Howe.  Howe had surgery on his wrist and returned to the ice. 

    He would eventually return to the NHL as well, when the WHA was folded into the NHL.  Howe become a member of the Hartford Whalers and continued his career.

5. Mario Lemieux

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    Mario Lemieux was a gifted Canadian hockey player who competed for the Pittsburgh Penguins throughout his career.  After becoming one of the top players of all time during his career, Lemieux retired at the end of the 1997 season.

    He was immediately inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame, having the three-year grace period waved.

    A financially strapped Penguins team saw Lemieux step in and buy the team, keeping it in Pittsburgh.  He became President, CEO and owner of the team.  He would eventually relinquish the roles of CEO and President.

    After saving the Penguins from relocation, Lemieux decided to return to the ice in 2000.  Lemieux continued to play for the team until 2006, when he retired permanently. 

4. Roger Clemens

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    If it wasn't for Brett Favre, Roger Clemens may just be the king of fake retirements.

    After years with the Red Sox, Blue Jays and Yankees, Clemens announced his retirement in 2003.  During his "final" season with the Yankees, Clemens recorded both his 300th win and his 4,000th strikeout. 

    Once the season ended, Clemens decided to forget retirement and instead signed on with the Houston Astros.  He won the Cy Young Award during that year with the Astros.

    His future was uncertain yet again during the offseason, and again Clemens decided to come back and pitch for the Astros.  Clemens finished 2005 with a ridiculous 1.47 ERA and was again a top pitcher in the league.  He retired again after the season.

    But then during the 2006 season, it was announced that he would come back, yet again, with the Houston Astros.  He returned in June and finished out the season.

    He retired yet again after the 2006 season but wound up pitching for the New York Yankees during 2007 anyway.  It was his final season in MLB.

3. Brett Favre

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    Three teams.  Four retirements.  Way too many news reports.

    That basically sums up Brett Favre's final years.  Favre conducted a circus every single offseason with the Packers, Jets and Vikings, leading countless experts to guess whether or not he was coming back for another season.

    Hopefully he has officially retired after this past season.

2. Lance Armstrong

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    Lance Armstrong is best known for his remarkable comeback after battling cancer during the early stages of his career.

    After a relatively successful start to his career, Armstrong was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 1996.  He was 25 at the time.  Armstrong immediately put his career on hold to undergo treatment to live.  After years of treatment and recovery, he returned to the sport in 1998.

    He won seven straight Tour de France titles upon his return.

    He would retire again in 2005 but return for the 2009 season.  Armstong still cycles today.

1. Michael Jordan

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    The greatest basketball player of all time retires three times and comes back twice.  His first retirement was for baseball and his second because he thought he was done playing the game.

    Who else would be number one?