10 NFL Players We Wish Would Retire
It is the tale as old as time: A player well past his prime continues to play on.
Whether it's one, two or three years too many, some players struggle to see the warning signs and understand their current predicament.
Every year a new player joins the club. Every year, every person can pinpoint a handful of players who are past their prime and should not be a member of the respective professional league anymore.
That is the purpose of this slideshow. These are my 10 players who are either well past their prime or have it in their best interest to retire from the NFL.
Jason Taylor, DE Miami Dolphins
Since Jason Taylor opted to dance with the stars in 2008, it seems that his NFL career has fallen.
Taylor was one of the elite pass rushers from 2000-2007. No one could stop him. Everyone wanted him to play defensive end for their team.
Now, he’s a player well past his prime just milking the system for the almighty dollar. He hasn’t had a double-digit sack season since 2007. He hasn’t had over 50 tackles since 2007.
He’s accumulated a mere 15.5 sacks the previous three seasons (5.17 sacks per year).
It’s nice to see him back at the location where he made his name, but do the honorable thing.
After the 2011 campaign, hang up the cleats and go into television. There’s clearly a career there waiting for you.
T.J. Houshmandzadeh, WR Oakland Raiders
T.J. Houshmandzadeh teamed up with then-Chad Johnson to form one of the best receiving duos in the NFL from 2004-07.
With Carson Palmer serving as the primary gunslinger, this duo helped temporarily revive the Cincinnati Bengals.
But after three years since his time in Cincinnati, it’s difficult to watch Houshmandzadeh go from one team to another as he winds down his time in the NFL. His services seem to be in less and less demand.
From Seattle to Baltimore to Oakland, it’s been sad to watch Houshmandzadeh wind down.
The guy had the talent, but all talent diminishes with age. Let it go T.J.
Chad Ochocinco, WR New England Patriots
If you struggle as a wide receiver in the New England Patriots system, then something is wrong with you.
With one of the best quarterbacks of the last 20 years under center and an offense that can make a receiver like Wes Welker into one of the best in the game, if a talent like Chad Ochocinco cannot succeed, then it’s time to call it a career.
He had a good run in Cincinnati with fellow member of this list, T.J. Houshmandzadeh, but that was from 2004-2007.
It’s 2011. It’s a new day. And with a new day comes a new reality: the days of Ochocinco as a worthwhile receiver are over.
Chad, you have amazing talents. People generally like you. A future in TV or some other media outlet await you. Your Twitter followers will always love you. Find something else to do.
LaDainian Tomlinson, RB New York Jets
In the past three years man they call “LT” has had only one 100-yard rushing game.
As a New York Jet he is the established No. 2 option in the team’s running attack. Shonn Greene is the No. 1 and Tomlinson garners all the carries when Greene merely needs a breather.
It has been painful to watch LT’s demise because he was such a special player in his prime. He was elusive, fast and could run over defenders with power.
Now, he struggles to do most of that. At age 32 he’s well past his prime. It would be nice to see LT step aside, retire and allow his legacy to remain strong.
Donovan McNabb, QB Minnesota Vikings
This year was very telling for where Donovan McNabb is with his career.
I was ready to write off his 2010 season as a hiccup in an otherwise outstanding career as an NFL quarterback.
Everything that could go wrong seemingly did go wrong in Washington last season, including McNabb’s on-field performance.
But this year he confirmed that he is clearly not the same player he was for 11 years as a Philadelphia Eagle. He is over the hill and on the decline as an NFL player.
The Vikings have McNabb signed through the 2011 season and then he’s a free agent. He probably won’t, but it would be nice to see him retire with some dignity left. But I’m sure someone will offer him enough money to make it worth his while to continue his career.
Joey Porter, LB Arizona Cardinals
Joey Porter was one of the most ferocious pass rushers in the NFL from 2000-2009. No one could stop him. Everyone feared him, and his mouth entertained us all.
But that was with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Now with the Arizona Cardinals, he’s like a retiree: soaking up the sun while relaxing.
Although Porter isn’t necessarily relaxing, his play is well relaxed from his former glory days as a Steeler.
He has only 16 tackles through the first 10 weeks of the 2011 season and has shown no signs that he’ll come back to his previous form—especially given his 34 years of age.
It’s been a heck of a ride Joey, but hang ‘em up.
Derrick Mason, WR Houston Texans
The former Tennessee Titan great has fallen off substantially since his time in Nashville. And he is barely still on the radar of the NFL.
He signed on with the New York Jets before the season but was demoted to practice squad five weeks into the 2011 campaign. Then he was traded to the Houston Texans due to a lack of production, the Jets management said.
Since joining the Texans, he's caught six passes for 55 yards. Part of his minimal production has been due to his unfamiliarity with Houston's offense (and some in the future will be due to poor quarterback play).
But this is a man who was a consistent 1,000-yard receiver from 2001-2009 (with one hiccup).
At 37 years of age, it may be time Derrick.
Albert Haynesworth, DT Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Sure, he had a few years where he was one of, if not the most dominant defensive tackle in the NFL. But that was then; this is now.
And while he may be on track to getting his career back in line, I know I’m tired of hearing about him. He’s proven himself to be selfish by demanding that the Redskins alter their whole defense to shift to his skill set. He proclaimed he could not play the nose tackle in the 3-4 defense. Washington had to become a 4-3 defense.
Since his time with the Washington Redskins, Haynesworth battled with being out of shape and keeping himself as part of the team.
The New England Patriots took a chance on Haynesworth but didn’t get the results they needed to keep the man on the roster.
Albert, do us all a favor and either put up or shut up. If you want to finish out your career as a Tampa Bay Buccaneer and do so quietly, then stay in the league.
Otherwise, step aside. No one wants to hear from you.
Donald Driver, WR Green Bay Packers
From 2002-2009 the Green Bay Packers had one of the best wide receivers in the NFL.
His name? Donald Driver.
During that stretch, he posted 1,000 yards receiving and 70 receptions every year, with one exception.
Now, at age 36 with numerous nicks and knacks and the natural regression with age, Driver is the fourth receiver on an extremely talented Green Bay passing attack.
It’s tough to watch such a great player and an even better person sit as a No. 4 receiver. It would be even worse to watch him suffer an unnecessary injury that cripples his life after the NFL.
He has a bright future in Wisconsin because he is such a well-respected figure. He should get out while he can; he doesn’t need this.
Peyton Manning, QB Indianapolis Colts
Demanding that Peyton Manning retire is dependent upon one condition. His neck injury needs to be as serious as it has been rumored to be.
At age 35, he has nothing else left to prove. He has a Super Bowl to his name. He owns the second best passing season in NFL history. He is among the NFL’s all-time great quarterbacks.
But it would be painful and heartbreaking to watch him begin a 2012 NFL campaign only to see it cut short with further damage to his neck—especially if it were an injury that caused damage that would alter the way he lived his life after the NFL.
If his neck injury is not as serious as the rumors suggest, then it would be great to continue to watch Manning play out his NFL career. The man still has talent left.
But he has to look in the mirror and ask himself, “Is one more year worth it?”