Retire Already

By Zack Cimini

Why do athletes push themselves to extinction level before they finally retire? If I were making millions of dollars every year, I?d pull a Robert Smith in my early thirties. Are these athletes not putting their money away or what? They act as if they need a reassured insurance of security. This isn?t supposed to be a lifetime career, but certain players timeline?s are fifteen years plus. Heck, nowadays any athlete can find a job as an analyst and make a reputable salary.

It?s getting to the point that old star athletes are going overboard with the mentality that they can still play. This day and age it?s improbable for a 40-year-old quarterback or running back to have the physical skills to match a fresh 20 some odd year old athlete. Forget the bonuses of an athlete knowing the mental phases of the game, because that?s a hoax believement in itself. Talent is talent and Ben Roethlisberger is a prime example of that.

Four or five years ago, Buffalo was ridiculed for not keeping the core of their glory day players in Thurman Thomas, Bruce Smith, and Andre Reed. Thurman Thomas went on to Miami where he did nothing, and Andre Reed to Denver with the same results. Bruce Smith did a decent job in Washington before retiring, but it proves the point that organizations are having to end their relationships with athletes because it?s the logical move.

Down in Dallas, there is 41-year-old Vinny Testaverde. He has had a great career, and one of the best in recent time for aged quarterbacks. This year though he lapsed and just couldn?t do what he wanted his body to do. His throws were either too short or missing the zip on locking in on his receivers. That in turn led to his throws being off target, and he hurt his team more than he should have this year. Out of all players that know they need to retire, Testaverde should have the easiest conclusion to make.

Doug Flutie popped up on San Diego?s radar in week seventeen, and to his credit had a nice final outing. But scrambling around at 40 is asking for a stretcher. Plus San Diego has no room for Flutie anymore, and there probably isn?t a team that?d be reluctant to take a 40 year old as a backup. That means he can only figure in as a third string, and that?s degrading for a former star athlete. He didn?t go out like he?d like, but at least he got his opportunity in Buffalo to shine in the NFL.

Jerry Rice and Emmitt Smith have tore up the NFL, and now own many records for their positions. Maybe watching Peyton Manning rip up Dan Marino?s records has them worried about the security of theirs. Undoubtedly, both have absolutely no other reason to still be playing, as they?ve won multiple Super Bowls earlier in their careers. Rice is adamant about continuing in Seattle, and Smith seems like he wants to still play. It?s baffling that two future hall of famers would settle for reduced backup roles just to endure another year. They must have Michael Jordan syndrome where they can?t do without the game.


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