This is a story that has been told thousands of times in professional sports: pro athletes who refuse to acknowledge the fact that they have outstayed their welcome and that their expiration date is upon them.
It is not easy for a professional athlete, let alone a football player in the NFL, to concede to the fact that the game they once excelled so much in has passed them by.
Here are five players who will have to come to terms with the writing in the wall at the conclusion of this season.
A decision by one of the best quarterbacks in the history of the game to retire would be one that he himself not prepared to make yet.
The decision though, may be out of his hands at this point. The seriousness of Manning’s neck injury is beyond anything anyone within the Colts organization or the Manning family could have ever expected.
The issue at hand now is the quality of life that Peyton wants to enjoy once his playing days are over.
The recent news that he has begun throwing to teammates again does not take away from the fact that this is a man trying to get back to a game that punishes his body every time he plays—and now does so with a life-changing injury.
Who will want him now? The legacy of Donovan McNabb seems to have ended long ago as he stepped off the field for the final time as a Philadelphia Eagle.
With every passing moment, with every dropped ball and game costing interception, it appears that Donovan should have walked away at that moment.
A once dominating, uniquely talented, peerless quarterback phenom, McNabb now faces the risk of becoming yet another faded star that spends his last days filling the unenviable role of journeyman backup.
Truth be told, Kerry Collins should have stayed on his farm tractor when the Colts came calling earlier this year.
Collins returned to the NFL in the insurmountable situation of resurrecting a doomed and decimated Indianapolis squad.
Prior to that, our last visions of Kerry Collins were as the respectable level-headed replacement for the volatile Vince Young in Tennessee.
One can only ask if the season-ending injury suffered by Collins was a blessing in disguise, sparing him from the onslaught brought to the Colts this season.
The possibility of one of the best defensive linemen to ever wear the Green and White of the New York Jets retiring after one dull season as a New England Patriot is appalling.
Equate it to the signing of Wes Welker to Gang Green in the fall of 2016, before posting a three-catch, 20-yard shambles of a season.
Shaun is now an aged veteran in an increasingly lean, quick and agile defensive lineman market, and should consider a pay cut in order to return to the team that made him the defender he is, if not for the principle of the thing.
Lost in a mired Kansas City backfield chalked full of mediocre rushing talent, the once touted Bear and Jet now is a non-factor in the AFC West.
His last outing against the Jets on Sunday proved that Thomas Jones has lost a step or two and has lost some of the tackle-breaking power he once had.
Jones unassumingly accrued thousand-yard seasons on several occasions throughout his career, but now cannot establish himself on a poor Chiefs team.
These two future first-ballot Hall of Famers are in the 11th hour of the twilight of their careers.
They save themselves from making this list purely on the fact that they make the occasional big play to keep themselves relevant in today’s game.
Tomlinson remains a solid threat as a pass-catcher out of the offensive backfield, and Taylor is able to survive as a situational pass-rusher still capable of amassing solid sack numbers.
As long as they keep producing to that minimal level, they have a place on any squad.