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Athletes We Had No Idea Were Still Playing

K BFeatured ColumnistMay 25, 2011

Athletes We Had No Idea Were Still Playing

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    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    After Jason Giambi's carcass hit three home runs a few days ago, that got us to thinking.

    Which athletes still play who no one even knows still play?

    Which athletes are around that we thought were in witness protection?

    Whether they are permanently on the disabled list, so old they need a cane to maneuver around or have a hot flash of brilliance that faded away, these athletes may surprise you that they still play ball.

Honorable Mentions

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    These athletes are so forgotten about, they can't even make a list about forgotten athletes.

    Bill Elliott: He is a driver in NASCAR. Did you know that is him in the picture? Neither did I.

    David Carr: Not only am I surprised Carr is still in the league, I am surprised he is still able to walk due to the fact that he had to play behind the Houston Texans offensive line a few years back.

    Chris Simms: It's always fun to watch someone's last name carry them through life.

    Darren Oliver: The 40-year-old Texans pitcher has a deceptive delivery. Basically, what that means is players expect him to be throwing 60 mph, and he blows a 90 mph fastball by them.

    Antonio McDyess: How can a guy who looks 60 play like a guy who is 40?

Ronde Barber

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    Because twins usually do everything together, I assumed that Ronde retired with his brother Tiki a few years ago.

    But no, Ronde is still currently with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

    On Nov. 21, 2010, Ronde Barber became the only player in NFL history with at least 25 sacks and 40 interceptions.

Charlie Bell

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    Bell appeared in three Final Fours and was Michigan State's Defensive Player of the Year each of the four years he attended.

    He won the 2000 national championship with Mateen Cleaves, Morris Peterson and Jason Richardson.

    After college, I thought he disappeared forever.

    But I was wrong. He went through the basketball purgatory that is overseas basketball and eventually turned up on the Milwaukee Bucks, the NBA's version of basketball purgatory.

    He now plays for the Golden State Warriors and gets stabbed with box cutters by his wife Kenya, a former Miss Michigan. 

Charlie Batch

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    After being drafted by the Detroit Lions in 1998, Batch has enjoyed the cycle of waiting for his job to be taken, being a backup, reassuming the role of starter, then losing it because of poor play or injury.

    I can't judge too harshly, though, because he is a two-time Super Bowl winner.

Mark Brunell

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    Once the face of the Jacksonville Jaguars franchise and a three-time Pro Bowler, Mark Brunell now enjoys primarily being a backup to Mark Sanchez.

    Sanchez gives his thanks by picking his nose and wiping the his boogers on his old and wise mentor.

    It's the gift that keeps on giving.

Miguel Cairo

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    Drew Hallowell/Getty Images

    Cairo not only gets, "He is still in the league?" remarks, but he also gets, "He plays for that team now?" remarks.

    The guy has played for nine different teams. Three of those—the Chicago Cubs, St. Louis Cardinals and the New York Yankees—he has played for twice.

    I was surprised he was still in the league 10 years ago, let alone still playing today. When he played for the Cubs, I remember zero contributions he made to the team.

    Cairo is like a television show that is so crappy, it's still put on the air because people forgot it existed. Touched by an Angel is the No. 1 example.

Brian Cardinal

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    Most people probably have no idea who Brian Cardinal is. I do because he is from Tolono, Illinois, which is a five-minute drive from where I live.

    Brian Cardinal serves as the eighth wonder of the world, because it is anyone's guess how a slow, aging balding guy from Bumf***, Illinois can make any sort of contribution to an NBA team.

    I am sure there are a few dads out there who have gone out in the driveway and worked on their game because of Brian Cardinal.

Eric Chavez

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    Between the years of 2001-2005, Eric Chavez was a consistently good hitter, always in the .270 to .280 range. He even won a Silver Slugger Award in 2002 and led the league in walks in 2004.

    Chavez also won six-consecutive Gold Gloves between 2001 and 2006.

    He always seemed to be getting so close to being an All-Star-caliber player and the face of the Oakland Athletics.

    But because he hasn't played 100 games since 2006, Oakland finally declined his option at the end of 2010. He was then signed to a minor-league contract by the New York Yankees.

    He is now on the Yankees major-league roster, backing up Alex Rodriguez. Guess where he is right now.

    On the DL after breaking a bone in his foot.

Djibril Cisse

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    Cisse has been one of those guys with vast potential who has been slightly disappointing.

    Cisse might not be on the same scale as players such as Adriano or Trezeguet, but he is on here for being so underwhelming.

    Whatever. He has incredible hair designs, and at the end of the day, isn't that what really matters?

Bartolo Colon

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    You may think this is the photo of a man down on his luck, making pennies as a hot dog vendor.

    But no, this is Bartolo Colon.

    Not only am I surprised Bartolo is still in baseball, I am surprised he can even get his fat butt out of bed in the morning. I wouldn't blame him if he decided to use a scooter to get around because he is fat enough to pull it off. 

    But I should watch my words, because he has a respectable 3.77 ERA and 56 Ks with the Yankees so far this year.

    Not bad, Jabba. Not bad at all. 

Lindsay Davenport

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    Davenport finished 1998, 2001, 2004 and 2005 as the top-ranked player.

    This article is an honest surprise, because I thought her career was over after her first pregnancy.

    With the amount of times I am told by women that pregnancy is a big deal, playing a sport after one sounds like a bigger accomplishment than climbing Mount Everest.

Octavio Dotel

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    I don't even know why Octavio even unpacks when he gets to a new team.

    He has played for the *deep breath*: New York Mets, Houston Astros, Oakland Athletics, New York Yankees, Kansas City Royals, Atlanta Braves, Chicago White Sox, Pittsburgh Pirates, Los Angeles Dodgers, Colorado Rockies and the Toronto Blue Jays.

    With his electric stuff, he is that guy who every GM always bites on.

    But the inevitable always happens. He has a couple months where he is solid and then everything falls apart.

Jay Feely

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    Jay Feely is currently a place kicker for the Arizona Cardinals. It might be just me, but I can't believe he is only 34. I feel like he has been in the league since I was born.

    Feely has appeared on the Fox News show Hannity to express his personal views about current political decisions.

    No one listened to him, of course, because no one listens to kickers.

T.J. Ford

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    It's a shame what T.J. Ford's career has turned into.

    Because when healthy, he is one of the fastest guys on the court and brings a ton of hustle and energy to whatever team he is on.

    Unfortunately, he can't ever stay healthy. He missed the entire 2004-2005 season because of a spinal-cord injury. He then injured it again against the Hawks when Al Horford hit him in the head during an attempted block.

    Ford suffers from a condition called spinal stenosis, which is a narrowing of the spinal column. So the risk of another serious injury is always a fearful reality.

    I'm not just surprised T.J. Ford is on an NBA team. I am surprised he is alive.

Jason Giambi

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    Giambi was the face of the MLB, and a MVP. He was then thrown away from the Yankees and then fell off of the face of the Earth.

    Giambi came in 3-for-26 this season with one home run and four RBI until he hit three home runs in his first three at-bats against the Phillies on May 20.

    Once Giambi finished rounding the bases after his third home run, he was surprised to see Bud Selig waiting in the Rockies dugout holding a drug-testing kit. Warning: That is a joke. It did not really happen.

Juwan Howard

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    Many people might actually know Juwan Howard is still playing because of all the attention the Heat get on a daily basis.

    It must be awesome being Juwan.

    He gets to sit back and watch the Big Three win a ring for him while he occasionally runs around the court, being old and bad at basketball.

    Also, did you know that Howard represents the last chance of a Fab Five member winning an NBA title? 

Jason Isringhausen

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    Jason Isringhausen is honestly held together by duct tape and bubble gum at this point.

    He has has had six elbow surgeries, three shoulder surgeries and two hip surgeries.

    He has had so many surgeries, that he apparently no longer feels pain like normal human beings. Seriously. After five minutes of his tendon detaching itself from his elbow, he didn't feel it anymore. 

    The first time a rookie on the Mets asked him about his many surgeries, the 38-year-old veteran replied like any crazed man who feels no pain would: "I ain't got time to bleed."

    Until I saw that he was on the Mets roster, I honestly thought he was on a remote island somewhere, getting repaired by a mad scientist.

Jason Kapono

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    When Jason Kapono had his break-out years in 2006-2008, I had no idea he was in the league. It didn't help that he was selected by the Charlotte Bobcats in an expansion draft.

    For someone who can shoot threes really well and nothing else, it is impressive he is still on the 76ers.

    His stat line for the 2010-2011 was 0.7 points, 0.5 rebounds and 0.2 assists per game. With statistics like that, I can see him playing at least 10 more years in this league.

Mike Modano

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    You know you're old when your'e one of just two players who played in the 1980s and are still active today.

    Among American-born players, Modano is the all-time points leader, as well as the all-time goal-scoring leader.

    I don't watch a lot of hockey, but when I found out Mike Modano was still playing, I replied with: "Wasn't he old when he won the Stanley Cup in 1999?"

The MLS

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    Most Americans absolutely hate soccer.

    Not only do most hate it, they are offended by the small majority of people who are trying to get them to enjoy it.

    An American sports fan's hell would be an entire season of having to watch the MLS while the NBA and NFL are in a lockout. 

Corey Patterson

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    This one is personal.

    Cubs fans knew all about waiting for this guy to finally hit his stride and reach the potential we were all told he would reach.

    He was traded in 2006 to the Orioles, which were dumb enough to agree to the trade. 

    I hear he has ended up with the Toronto Blue Jays after being passed around the league more than a stripper at a bachelor party.

Adriano Leite Ribeiro

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    Adriano was a incredible for about three years, which was followed by him gaining 30 incredible pounds.

    In the 2005 FIFA Confederations Cup, he scored five goals. Adriano was named the Player of the Tournament and received the Golden Boot Award because of his stellar performance.

Ivan Rodriguez

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    At age 39, Ivan Rodriguez playing the position of catcher is downright stupid.

    Having to bend your knees and put on catchers gear every day in the dog days of summer takes a toll on the body that only catchers truly understand.

    Not only is he arguably the best catcher to ever play baseball, he is a mental superhero.

Teemu Selänne

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    The Finnish Flash was drafted 10th overall the year I was born.

    Selanne is still going so strong and people in Anaheim are still begging him to play for one more season because he might retire at the end of the year.

    I'll be honest. I am surprised about 80 percent of the league exists because I don't know anything about hockey.

Matt Stairs

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    I thought this guy was old and past his prime when he played for the Cubs in 2001. But he still contributes somehow.

    Stairs uses his ability to grow an outstanding mullet and extended goatee/moustache hybrid to come into a ninth inning and hit monstrous home runs on the reg. Much like Sampson, it's the source of his power.

    A few of his shots have yet to come down and are still currently orbiting the earth.

    Some gambling websites have started taking bets on what will come first: Stairs retiring or his batted home-run balls finally coming back down to earth. 

Sebastian Telfair

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    Remember when ESPN made a documentary about Telfair and shoved his potential down everyone's throats?

    Not surprisingly, Telfair now plays on the Minnesota Timberwolves putting up pedestrian numbers.

    He is a poor defender and couldn't hit water if he fell of of a boat. 

    Me saying I think it's safe to say Telfair is a bust is like saying I think it's safe to say men enjoy beer.

Hasheem Thabeet

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    I remember watching Hasheem Thabeet.

    I remember him being at UConn and being cocky because he was tall and blocked everyone's shots all the time.

    Memphis picked him at No. 2 because of his "potential."

    Well, that potential got him to the NBA D-League, where he plays for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers.

    Sigh...don't give up, Hasheem.

David Trezeguet

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    David Trezeguet has terrible teeth and after missing a penalty kick against Italy in the 2006 World Cup, has pretty much never been heard of again.

    It's unfortunate that France's coach can't keep his team in line and then single out Trezeguet by kicking him off the team.

    Yet another reason France is looked upon as weak.

    Trezeguet currently plays for Spanish La Liga club Hércules CF.

Omar Vizquel

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    I think "Little O" uses the Lazarus Pit from Batman, because it's the only explanation of how he can continue to play a solid shortstop at the age of 44.

    My favorite story about Vizquel has to be his feud with Jose Mesa. Vizquel blamed Mesa for blowing the Game 7 save against the Florida Marlins in the 1997 World Series in his book Omar! My Life on and Off the Field

    Mesa then vowed to hit him every time Vizquel and him faced each other. Mesa hit Vizquel the first time they faced on June 12, 2002. Mesa hit him the next time they met on April 22, 2006. 

    Talk about holding a grudge.

    **For those of you who actually go out at night and know nothing about the world of Batman, the Lazarus Pit is a green pool Ra's Al Ghul uses to repair himself, as well as continue to be young although he is thousands of years old.

    Jesus, I am such a nerd.

Ben Wallace

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    Never underestimate the power of an afro held together by a head band and the inability to smile.

    Ben Wallace is a huge offensive liability, has a career free-throw percentage of 41.7 percent and now is average at best on defense because he is 36 years old.

    But since he looks cool, everyone thinks he is good at basketball.

    Not only is Ben Wallace a forgotten player in the NBA, sometimes he is a forgotten child in his family. He is the 10th of 11 children. Again, joke warning.

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