Ex-Athletes Teams Wish Would Just Shut Up

Zack Pumerantz@z_pumerantzAnalyst IIINovember 21, 2012

Ex-Athletes Teams Wish Would Just Shut Up

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    Just because they're retired or shunned from the league doesn't mean many athletes won't offer opinions when they feel their opinions are warranted; even if nobody asked for it.

    If they were chatty during their playing days, you can bet they'll be searching for the spotlight when they're not busy reminiscing about the good ol' days. But even the humble ones miss the spotlight and sometimes try to regain their shine.

    With legendary Laker Magic Johnson recently offering his slightly skeptical thoughts on owner Jim Buss' hiring of Mike D'Antoni over Phil Jackson, we're wondering which other former players won't keep their mouths shut.

    Here we'll look at the talkative athletes teams wish would just be quiet already, or write a private letter.

15. Mike Golic, NFL

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    The Resume: This 49-year-old meatloaf played nine unspectacular seasons as a defensive tackle. 11.5 sacks, three picks, a slight dent.

    The Routine: Truth be told, radio hosts are expected to be opinionated and noisy. But Mike Golic, star of Mike and Mike, often sounds angry when he disagrees. His staunch disapproval of Terrelle Pryor being allowed in the Supplemental Draft, amongst other clear misunderstandings, do not help his case.

14. Brandi Chastain, Soccer

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    The Resume: U.S. soccer legend and NBC broadcaster Brandi Chastain is revered for her World Cup-winning goal and bra-clad celebration in 1999.

    The Routine: When she criticized the American defense during the 2012 Olympics, star goalie-slash-dancer-slash-model Hope Solo was as far from appreciative as humanly possible.

    Solo's scathing twitter response spoke for itself: "lay off commentating about defending...until you get more educated...the game has changed from a decade ago...bad 4 our fans that have 2 push mute." Former Atlanta Beat coach James Galanis agreed, suggesting that old generation players fear the new-age footballers will "eclipse their legacy."

    It's fair to say that Chastain's 1999 World Cup heroics aren't as appreciated as they once were.

13. Michael Irvin, NFL

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    The Resume: The only time Cowboys legend Michael Irvin isn't talking is when he's dealing with the legal issues that have tainted an otherwise glorious history. The Hall-of-Fame receiver has the right to spit analysis, but let's relax on the sugar-coated criticism of every player not named Michael Irvin.

    The Routine: There's really never a shortage of Irvin-isms, but his repertoire is best exemplified by audio caught on the Dan Patrick Show back in '06. With his best Jimmy the Greek impression, Irvin gave his thoughts on where Dallas gunslinger Tony Romo got his athleticism.

12. Matt Millen, NFL

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    The Resume: After winning four Super Bowls in 12 years as a professional linebacker, Matt Millen was the poster boy for success, until he destroyed the Detroit Lions as their general manager between '01 and '08, completing the worst eight-year record in the history of the modern NFL (31-84).

    The Routine: Overly obnoxious, excessively loud. Such failure should've eliminated Millen from having contact with anyone in the NFL. Yet he continues to get television appearances, as either an analyst or a rowdy nincompoop.

11. Carl Lewis, Sprinting

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    The Resume: 10-time Olympic medalist, three-time Athlete of the Year, arguably the worst national anthem singer of all time.

    The Routine: After Bolt won three gold medals and set three world records at the Beijing Olympics, Lewis publicly questioned the rigidness of Jamaica's drug-testing program. Usain Bolt was far from pleased; "no-one really remembers who [Lewis] is, so he is just looking for attention. That is my opinion."

10. Bill Romanowski, NFL

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    The Resume: An eater of anyone carrying a football for nearly two decades, Bill Romanowski earned respect for playing in 243 consecutive games (NFL record among linebackers) and winning four Super Bowls. His fearless demeanor worked on the gridiron, but is somewhat misunderstood in front of the camera.

    The Routine: Anger, at all times.

9. Bryon Russell, NBA

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    The Resume: Solid small forward who helped the Jazz reach back-to-back NBA finals appearances in 1997 and 1998. Most remembered for guarding, and eventually being lit up by, Michael Jordan in Game 6. Yeah, that shot.

    The Routine: Since Jordan's title-clinching shot in Game 6, there's been debate over whether he pushed off of Russell before launching the shot. Russell has been determined to rematch Jordan in a one-on-one for charity-entertainment-revenge ever since. After Jordan mentioned Russell's come-out-of-retirement comments in his Hall of Fame speech, Russell responded "...after all this time I'm still on Mike's mind...I must have done something to leave a good impression, because he's still talking about me to this day, about giving me what I wanted."

8. Tim Hasselbeck, NFL

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    The Resume: During four bench-warming NFL seasons, Matt Hasselbeck's little brother tossed five touchdowns and seven interceptions (all in 2003). The term mediocre doesn't even scratch the surface. Suddenly he's a "knowledgeable" analyst for ESPN; sound familiar?

    The Routine: For the most part, his wife Elisabeth Hasselbeck—yeah, the one from The View—is the one who never holds back her opinions (on anything, seriously). Hearing Tim call out Donovan McNabb's slow tempo from their playing days together and call former teammate Plaxico Burress a "disaster as a teammate" and a "disaster of a guy" paled in comparison to the pain of watching him get emasculated by his opinionated wife on live television.

7. Mario Lemieux, NHL

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    The Resume: During 17 historic seasons, shifty Hall of Fame Center Mario Lemieux recorded 1,723 points on his way to becoming one of the NHL's greatest play makers.

    The Routine: As co-owner of the Pittsburgh Penguins and a permanent legend, Lemieux is expected to voice his opinion from time to time. But following the Penguins-Islanders World War III last year in which the Isles were fined $100,000, Lemieux, first reasonable, soon became annoying. "If the events relating to Friday night reflect the state of the league, I need to re-think whether I want to be a part of it," he said. Is that a threat?

6. Lou Holtz, College Football

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    The Resume: Once a 5-10, 150-pound backup linebacker at Kent State, Lou Holtz soon became the only college football coach to lead six different programs to bowl games. A 249-132-7 record shot Holtz directly into the College Football Hall of Fame.

    The Routine: True colors revealed above. So much for ESPN's inspirational force.

5. Joe Namath, NFL

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    The Resume: Legendary Jets gunslinger, 132 starts, 173 touchdowns, 220 interceptions, one guarantee in 1969 that miraculously led to a Super Bowl III victory.

    The Routine: Everything Gang Green. Namath is often a special guest on podcasts, even doing his own, and rarely keeps his frustrations to himself. Most recently, the former quarterback ripped owner Woody Johnson; "It's more toward grabbing headlines, and everything starts at the top. And you can go back to when the seat licenses were initiated, how we started conducting things. I don't think winning has been put at the top of the board. Winning headlines has replaced that." In the end, someone has to give it to the Jets straight.

4. Magic Johnson, NBA

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    Resume: This 6'9" pioneer has been all over the place since leaving the Lakers for the first time. He briefly coached his former team to a 1-5 record, then retired and bought a five percent share, then attempted a player comeback at the age of 36, then entered the media ...  and has weighed in on every purple-and-gold decision along the way.

    The Routine: Most recently, he expressed exuberant disappointment in the hiring of fast-paced coach Mike D'Antoni over legendary zen master Phil Jackson. Days later, he flipped the script and said Lakers fans need to support the coach. The question remains: what effect do Johnson's feelings have on the team's success?

3. Phil Simms, NFL

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    The Resume: Two-time Pro Bowl quarterback, two-time champ with the Giants; CBS sportscaster who thinks quite highly of himself.

    The Routine: Fighting battles for his far-less talented sons, believing that Peyton Manning actually watches his show (and eventually getting burned by the former Colt in epic fashion), continuing to be stale and not hilarious. Most recently, he seems to be backtracking on comments he made about Eli Manning not being elite.

2. Jose Canseco, MLB

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    The Resume: 462 home runs, two titles, a career tainted by performance-enhancing drugs.

    The Routine: Since publishing his tell-all book, Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant 'Roids, Smash Hits & How Baseball Got Big, and calling out a plethora of steroid users, Jose Canseco has been hovering around the baseball world (attempted sequel not as juiced?). An appearance on The Celebrity Apprentice cemented his "I-won't-disappear" nature.

1. Mercury Morris, NFL

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    The Resume: Once known for his mercurial celerity, former three-time Pro Bowl tailback Mercury Morris is now frustrating opponents with his mercurial mouth. An integral part of the 1972 Dolphins, the only team in history to finish a completely perfect season (including a Super Bowl win), Morris now holds on to ancient history like his life depends on it.

    The Routine: Soon after NFL teams border on perfect and then just barely fail as expected, such as the 18-1 Patriots in '08 and the 15-1 Packers last season, Morris breathes a sign of relief and a quote for the papers.