It Works Both Ways

Football careers are usually cut short due to an injury. Nowadays, an athlete can come and go just because he wants to. One or two contracts and an athlete is financially stable for the rest of his life.

In any newspaper there is always a section for NFL news and notes, primarily just reworded information from Sportscenter the previous night. Lately, there has been other news than just training camp injuries, with a big surprise with a few athletes retiring.

The blurbs are put in as if the athlete has fulfilled a career, and has exited because he is satisfied with football. Don’t get me wrong an athlete should be able to make big decisions like that, but they should also get the criticism for being a quitter.

One year ago, an athlete decided to retire and garbage was thrown at him everyday. We all know the real reason why Ricky Williams retired for a brief year. Still, the only wrong thing he did was leave his teammates in a bind, and looking like he didn’t have a care in the world for his departure.

So what makes the offensive lineman from Tampa Bay that decided to retire, and tight end Freddie Jones any different than Williams? They both bailed during training camp, and have quietly went riding into the sunset. The difference is that Williams was a high profiled athlete, and Jones and others are just your everyday average athlete.

The politics in life is unbelievable, but in sports it’s on a different broader scale. Perhaps the Panthers and Buccaneers didn’t need their recent retired athletes, but if that were the case why would the Panthers sign Jones in the off-season? They wanted a tight end that fit Jones bill, and he voided that out one-month before the season starts. Who’s to say that the Panthers would have a different tight end, if Jones would have retired a Cardinal after the 2004 season?

Obviously these athletes have the idea of retiring on their mind, more than people think. The drive is gone in a lot of athletes, just because they are financially secure. Money has changed the game in a good and bad way, and for the most part the outside has seen the good. Over the next five to ten years, that will change as the greediness of money and lack of interest is going to pattern into more and more retiring athletes.

Who can blame them? They’ve made their money, and can now use that to start a business or whatever they feel happy doing. Why would they sit around and have their bodies mutilated and endure verbal abuse from coaches?

This issue keeps staying away from mainstream media, and is only one more big name player away from taking center.

The big knock on the whole issue, is if you’re going to walk away from the game do it at the appropriate time. True professionals like Barry Sanders and Robert Smith did it correctly, and that’s the way it needs to be done.


You must be logged in to post a comment.