Natalie Saar: Some NFLers Just Don’t Know When To Quit

“Retire” is a common word in the NFL, as the threat of serious injury and an unforgiving salary cap looms over the head of each player the moment they get in the league.  Many high profile names, from Jim Brown to Barry Sanders, to even Jake Plummer have all hung up their cleats before their time. However, it is a “special” type of player who chooses the opposite course, to stick around, no matter how obvious it is that they should retire.  I’ve chronicled a few of them below.

Terrell Owens

He’s fantastic.  There’s no disputing that. One of the best in the game.. err… I mean in the game prior to tearing his ACL while he was shooting the show “Single Ladies.”  Remember when Phil Jackson berated Kobe for jumping over a car in a commercial? Or when people criticized Reggie Bush for going on a reality show? Well, this is why.

Contrary to what super agent Drew Rosenhaus would have you believe, T.O. will not be back in time for the start of the season. Recovery from an ACL tear takes at least six months, and players usually need at least another year to return to prior form (see Tom Brady). Even though Rosenhaus claims that Owens heals very quickly, he will not be playing football until around November, unless he’s the bionic man. At 37 years old, it is time for T.O. to call it quits.

Tiki Barber

In the “players trying to make a desperate comeback” category, we have Tiki Barber at the top of the list. While he once electrified the field (and initially retired too soon), he’s now well past his prime. Barber had a good TV gig going for awhile, until hidden contract clauses and closet affairs got the best of him. When the news came out that he was cheating on his wife (who was 8 months pregnant with twins!) his contract was quickly terminated. The obvious decision was to try and make an NFL comeback (rolls eyes). We’ve seen how these “comebacks” go. Remember the G.O.A.T. Michael Jordan? Yeah, I refuse to believe he played on the Wizards too. I digress.

Greg Camarillo

There was a time when Camarillo was a decent sleeper option at wide receiver on your Fantasy Football team, but not anymore. He’s been in the league for six years and played for the Miami Dolphins and Minnesota Vikings (his current team). In Camarillo’s rookie season, he averaged 20 yards  a catch, but that figure has slowly declined to 11 and 12 yards. What’s worse, he has scored one touchdown in the last two years, despite having played in every game.

Camarillo currently has a $1.7 million one year contract, meaning, based on last year’s stats, that he makes $85,000 every time he catches the ball. While Camarillo may be fine for a team looking to put a body on the field, there is cheaper, younger talent to develop.  Move along, Greg.

Who’s this guy? Bet you didn’t know he’s Greg Camarillo! Exactly. Retire.

Sage Rosenfels

Everyone remembers Rosenfels’ epic collapse a few years ago when he blew a 17 point lead in the waning minutes against the Colts, right? While he maintains his status as a backup with the Giants, there is no way a coach in his right mind would put him in again with the game on the line.  But Rosenfels is not only bad, he’s costly, garnering a $3 million paycheck for riding the pine.

Rosenfels’ stats with the Giants illustrate his (lack of) value. Last year, he held the ball for the kicker 11 times and played QB for two drives, a 3-play kneel down and a 19 play drive.  Wait, you say, that 19-play drive sounds impressive. But not when every play is a running play! Great work, Sage, now please go away and give up your back-up spot to someone who actually has a chance to make it in the NFL.

Mark Brunell

What? Mark Brunell is still in the NFL? Yes. Yes he is. The veteran is the backup to the ever improving Mark Sanchez. He’s spent almost half his life playing in the NFL (19 years). While he has a very reliable rating, 92 percent last year and 84 percent overall, he rarely gets to throw the ball. Last year, he had seven completions for 117 yards. He was cut by the Jets earlier this summer, post-lockout, because they didn’t want to give him $1.25 million, but he’s worked on renegotiations and come back for less cash.

After going through Chapter 11 Bankruptcy this last year, we all know what’s on the veteran’s mind: money! There are few men his age that will go through grueling practices and risk permanent damage, only to throw 117 yards in a season for any reason other than money.  Cleary the smart move would be for him to retire and go back to college for an education in accounting