Early Retirement and Acknowledging the Person Under the Helmet


One of the greatest feelings in life is finally coming into your own as a sports fan. We understand the game a little better, we appreciate it more, some of us try to emulate it and when you witness your team win a championship — there are few feelings that top it.

Such is the life of a sports fan. We live with the ups and downs our teams of choice go through. However, when you start to zoom in on players who really draw you in you never really think about their inevitable retirement from the game, do we?

Acknowledging the Person Under the Helmet in Early Retirement

Sometimes we assume that our favorite player is going to be around until the end of time. Fans of the Green Bay Packers can attest to watching Brett Favre grow from backup to a gunslinging quarterback. Favre was there in the 90s, 2000s and even into the 2010s, albeit not always with the Packers. But all things come to an end eventually, and despite it being with another team, Favre stepped away well into his 40s from the game he loved.

However, not all players can play as long as Favre. Obviously, the most recent example is Andrew Luck. The former Indianapolis Colt hung it up abruptly – but not all-too surprising – during a preseason game against the Chicago Bears. Luck had made the decision to step away because of the damage his body suffered in seven years.

But not all players walk away from injuries, some just lose love for the game. In a growing trend, players are retiring younger and younger in order to preserve their body past the game of football. We’ve seen players retire when switching teams … and even during halftime.

There are multiple inside decisions made by players to walk away from the game. With the rise of concussions and CTE scares weighing heavily on players’ minds, you can’t really fault someone when they want to walk away under their own power. Take note, you Colts fans who decided to boo Luck as he left the field.

Another case of the unknown was when Calvin Johnson retired after the 2015 season with the Detroit Lions. Johnson was simply one of the most dominant players at his position because of his rare size and speed. However, you could argue that the team’s inability to improve the team cost him his career.

One thing we overlook with athletes is their mental toll and how it impedes a player’s psyche and their ability to perform, but most importantly, affects their drive, their passion to play.

Obviously, not every player is going to have an NFL type of career like Tom Brady and the New England Patriots but with notable names hopping off the NFL wagon, you can’t help but appreciate the longevity Brady has sustained.

Luck will no doubt set the Colts back this season as they scramble to find another franchise quarterback. Sometimes, it’s not fair. But that’s the game. You know the rules.

Luck isn’t the first mega name to retire out of the blue and he certainly won’t be the last. Despite the NFL’s intentions to make the game safer for its players, it’s still a brutal, violent sport we watch for hours on end for our entertainment.

Becoming a sports fan means you love your players for the athlete that they are. However, we mustn’t forget that under the helmet is a human being that is no different from you and me. They have lives, goals, and families to support just like anyone else.

We aren’t owed anything and we aren’t entitled to anything. It’s time for the sports world to accept this fact and never forget it. One day your favorite player is making his debut and the next he’s done.

Nothing lasts for forever, right?

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