Friday, August 5, 2011

The Art of Retirement

Randy Moss is an athletic freak. At 6'4 210 lbs, Moss has been clocked at 4.25 in the 40 yard dash, and is known to be the best in the game at Wide Receiver.  His domination of the game began as early as high school, where he won back to back state championships. In college, at Marshall, he scored at least 1 touchdown in each of his 28 career games, and won the Division 1-AA title in '96. He followed up his outstanding college career in the NFL, where he is currently tied for 2nd all-time in recieving touchdowns with 153.  This week, at age 34, Moss decided to retire. Many have speculated that he will soon return to the NFL, prompting this question: how often do pro athletes retire and return? The answer is, for the great ones, quite often.
         Throughout history, the best players in sports have overstayed their welcomes by staying in their respective leagues past their primes, because they have trouble letting go. Some of which even retired and came back to the professional ranks. Michael Jordan, Brett Favre, George Foreman, and Lance Armstrong. Each of these guys are legends, and at some point were the top players in their leagues. After retiring, however, each of them returned  following their initial retirement, and some after their subsequent retirements.
          Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player of all time. He retired in '93 to play baseball after winning three consecutive championships,  only to return in '95 and win three more championships from '96-98. He retired again in '99, for what most thought would be the last time. However, another return in '00 marked his last bow, but by then he was merely a shadow of his old self.
         Brett Favre is one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever throw a football. He retired in '08 as a seasoned legend that was somewhat nudged out by new management. In his first comeback attempt, he played a so-so season that ended in a late season collapse. Favre again decided to retire in '09. When training camp rolled around, however, Favre unretired and ended up having his best season in recent memory, but, after making a fatal mistake, lost in overtime of the NFC championship game. The rough ending prompted a return in '10, but the QB's age began to truly show, and he retired for a final time (perhaps) earlier this year.
         George Foreman is one of the toughest boxers to ever enter the ring. He took a short hiatus from boxing in '75 after suffering his first knockout in the 'Rumble in the Jungle' versus Muhammad Ali, but a year later attempted a comeback. It wasn't entirely successful, and he retired the next year. A decade later, he returned to the ring and regained the World Heavyweight Title. After refusing World Boxing Association demands to fight their number 1 challenger, Foreman was stripped of his title. He challenged again in a match where the winner was scheduled to fight World Champion Lennox Lewis, but Foreman lost and retired from the ring forever in '97.
         Lance Armstrong is the most courageous cyclist in the history of the sport. After winning a battle with testicular cancer, he went on to win a record 7 consecutive Tour De France titles from '99-'05. He retired soon after his 7th title, but returned to the tour in '09. That year he finished in 3rd place, very impressive for a 38 year old cancer survivor. The next year, he announced, would he his last time competing in the Tour De France, and went on to finish a dissapointing 23rd place. In 2011, he again retired from cycling amid doping allegations.
         Although the professional career of Randy Moss is not as decorated as those of the aforementioned superstars, he is a future Hall of Famer, and is arguably the 2nd best Wide Reciever in NFL History. By merely examining his ego you would concur that this will not be the last of Randy Moss, for his final season will have been an utter embarrassment. Therefore the question is not could he return, but should he?

1 comment:

  1. It is very important for players to understand their capabilities and limits. Another guy to bring up now would be Tiki Barber. He left at a solid point. Coming back now will do nothing, but tarnish his legacy.