Some say that the NFL stands for “Not For Long,” and the reasons for that are obvious. Football is a dangerous game played by some of the strongest and fastest athletes in the world. Most NFL careers are understandably short at an average of between 3-6 years, with the higher number projected by the NFL and the lower number projected by the NFLPA.
In some cases, players exceed those numbers, but Father Time catches up with everyone. And quite often, that’s a hard pill to swallow for someone who loves the game and knows nothing else. But in the end, retirement is inevitable for all who snap on the chinstrap.
Here’s a look at 10 NFL players who should be considering retirement in 2018.
10. Karlos Dansby, LB, free agent
Karlos Dansby briefly considered retirement a season ago before signing a one-year deal to return to the Arizona Cardinals, where he appeared in 16 games, recording 95 tackles and one sack. While Dansby’s numbers were still respectable, his Pro Football Focus grade dipped to 68.2, which is considered below average. But despite that, and the fact that he’s approaching the age of 37, Dansby still does not appear ready to hang them up, and teams remain interested. Ultimately, the window on Dansby’s career is closing. He’ll need to think about life after football sooner rather than later.
Football is a brutal sport, so it’s no surprise NFL careers are not exactly long-lasting. But in some cases, players are able to weather the repeated storms and carve out long, successful careers. It’s rare when you break it down by the numbers, but it does happen.
Eventually however, the game catches up to everyone and things begin to break down, the grind becomes more than a person can bear, and the decision to retire becomes paramount. Some go out on their own terms, but most are forced to leave the game they love whether they like it or not.
We’ve seen those two scenarios in recent years with the willing retirement of quarterback Peyton Manning and the forced retirement of countless others. Even guys like Tony Romo and Jay Cutler surprised many by taking broadcasting jobs this season over returning for another season, though neither has officially said he is done.
Here’s a look at 10 players who should be thinking about retirement.
10. Carson Palmer, QB, Arizona Cardinals
The Arizona Cardinals have begun looking into the future at quarterback, but for now, they’re sticking with Carson Palmer. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing as he’s clearly got a little left in the tank. But we know the former Heisman Trophy winner has considered stepping away.
“My intent was to take some time after the season to get away and see where I was physically and mentally,” Palmer said in a February statement. “On both fronts, I can say I’m ready to get back to work and prepare for the 2017 season. This is a phenomenal group with a very special opportunity in front of it. I know how rare that is and I couldn’t be more excited to be a part of it.”
The Cardinals gave Palmer a one-year contract extension last August so that he wouldn’t be a lame-duck quarterback in 2017, but there’s a chance neither side opts to see that final season. Once retirement gets into a player’s head and they begin taking months to decide their future, it won’t be too much longer before the decision to hang them up is made.
Is that a guarantee Palmer will retire following the 2017 season? No, but it’s a very plausible scenario. And even if he opts to return in 2018, it’s extremely unlikely he’ll play beyond that.
9. Karlos Dansby, LB, Cardinals
The Cleveland Browns released Karlos Dansby on Wednesday. He doesn’t seem terribly broken up about it.
Cleveland released the 35-year-old linebacker for salary cap purposes. The player himself told Cleveland.com’s Mary Kay Cabot that he’s ready to go win a Super Bowl now.
“Let’s go get that ring,” Dansby said.
In fairness, Dansby did stress that he bears the Browns no ill will, stating that his decision to come to Cleveland was out of a desire “to try to do something there that no one had done.” Still, it’s hard to blame him. He’s 35, and the Browns are going nowhere fast. Now he can go to a contender.
“I appreciated it because it gives me a chance to win,” Dansby said. “There a lot of teams that are close and I can help them. The Browns are in a rebuild. This gets me closer to my destiny.”
Dansby believes the Cincinnati Bengals are one of several teams who may be interested in his services.
“This is an opportunity to go play for a Super Bowl contender,” said Dansby. “I’m excited. I’m getting goosebumps.”
Dansby remains a capable veteran. Remember what he and his defense did to Andy Dalton and the Bengals last season?
The Cleveland Browns made the Cincinnati Bengals look like a bunch of amateurs during Thursday night’s game between the teams, and they forced Andy Dalton into a historically bad night.
Dalton posted a 2.0 passer rating, becoming just the first quarterback since 1983 to throw at least 30 attempts and post a passer rating of 2.0 or less. Browns linebacker Karlos Dansby said after the game that the Browns were inside the opposing quarterback’s head.
“We knew what was coming, so we were all over it,” Dansby told the Akron Beacon Journal after the game.
“We knew exactly what they wanted to do, how they wanted to do it, when they wanted to do it. We’re calling out screens. We’re calling out run plays. We’re calling out everything right there on the field. When he audibled, we knew exactly what he audibled to.”
Dansby credited his team’s preparation and film work for gaining the edge on the Bengals.
In the game, the Browns’ defense held the Bengals to just three points and 165 total yards. Dalton went 10/33 for 86 yards, no touchdowns and three interceptions. He was sacked twice.
The Browns are now fourth in the NFL in points allowed per game (19.1) and first in interceptions (13). Their offseason investments in defensive personnel is definitely paying off, as is their film study. Thursday’s performance was masterful.
Helmet smack to Shutdown Corner
Richie Incognito has been the talk of the NFL this week, with a number of coaches, players and analysts sharing their opinions on his alleged harassment of Miami Dolphins teammate Jonathan Martin. Many people seem to share the opinion of New York Giants kicker Josh Brown, who played with Incognito in college at Nebraska and with the St. Louis Rams a few years back.
“None of it shocks me,” Brown said Monday, via the NY Daily News. “I don’t know any details obviously. The league hasn’t released anything. But Richie seems to be a person with a tortured soul. He’s had these issues for quite awhile, and it’s sad.
“It seems like this is something that has been haunting him for more than a decade. He was always a very emotional player, very reactive. Obviously, I have a lot of assumptions in my head about what was going on (in Miami), and I’m probably going to be right.”
There’s a fine line between playing with a chip on your shoulder and acting inappropriately, and Incognito has crossed it on numerous occasions. The video we saw on Monday of the 30-year-old stomping around with his shirt off speaks to what Brown was referring to.
Still, there are a few people who seem surprised by reports that Incognito left Martin a racially-charged voicemail and threatened to kill him. Arizona Cardinals linebacker Karlos Dansby, who played with Incognito in Miami, is one of them.
“Richie was a down-to-earth guy,” Dansby told Kent Somers of The Arizona Republic. “I hate all this came out about him. It’s really attacking his character. I hope Martin doesn’t have any backlash from this from the rest of his teammates.”
Incognito should be the one dealing with backlash, not Martin. In fact, you could argue that the situation may not have spiraled out of control if Incognito had to deal with backlash from his teammates and coaches sooner — or ever. It’s normal for players to want to defend teammates and former teammates, but Incognito hardly seems “down to earth.” He’s obviously a man with some issues.
H/T Pro Football Talk
Linebacker Karlos Dansby is one of the latest cap casualties of the 2013 offseason, as the Miami Dolphins announced on Wednesday morning that they have cut the 10-year veteran. Dansby was signed through the 2014 season, so many believed he would be cut after the upcoming year. The Dolphins instead decided to clear some cap space now in an attempt to keep getting younger.
Many veteran players who are cut are taken by surprise, but Dansby reminded us on Wednesday that it’s always a good idea to keep your cell phone handy when the free agent period begins. During an interview with Sid Rosenberg on 640 AM in Miami, Dansby said he found out about his release in an unfortunate manner.
Hey, at least Ireland attempted to let him know first. Stories like this haven’t exactly given the Dolphins GM the best reputation, but he tried. Rosenberg said that Dansby sounded “hurt” by the fact that he was cut. The 31-year-old said he truly had no idea he was going to be let go.
“Not one indication, not a hint,” he said, via Ben Volin of the Palm Beach Post. “It was all, ‘Let’s get ready for the next season.’ I’m not angry with the organization. I know it’s business. … I was expecting this after this season, though.”
I’m sure there are plenty of players around the league who have felt the exact same way over the past few weeks, and there are probably more to come. When it comes to making business transactions, no player is off-limits.
Chad Johnson’s career in Miami has ended before it really even started. In the wake of his arrest for domestic violence and allegedly head-butting his new wife Evelyn Lozada over the weekend, the Dolphins have officially cut Johnson.While it is the first time Johnson has been in trouble with the law, the Dolphins were reportedly not willing to deal with any extra baggage he might bring along and felt no reason to hear the full story before giving him his release. Linebacker Karlos Dansby wishes they had.
“It’s going to be a bigger distraction because we let him go,” Dansby said during an appearance on 640 Sports in Ft. Lauderdale according to Pro Football Talk. “He didn’t get that third strike. That’s just me personally. … We’ve been through worse. We’ve seen worse.
“That’s not Chad. If anybody knows Chad, that’s not Chad. The man don’t drink, the man don’t smoke. He may clown around but when it comes to football, he’s all about football. That’s his life. For him to be in this situation, that’s unfortunate. And it’s out of character.”
Whether he deserved another chance or not, it’s officially time for the artist formerly known as Ochocinco to start looking for a career in porn. Johnson was already on thin ice with the Dolphins organization for saying ridiculous things to reporters and talking too much during HBO’s “Hard Knocks.” Head coach Joe Philbin’s patience was wearing thin with him, so the arrest was likely the final nail in the coffin. Second and third chances are typically not reserved for players who have a history of being a distraction.
Photo credit: Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE
The Broncos have won six of seven games with Tim Tebow as their starting quarterback. Most of their wins under Tebow have come in the final few minutes, sparking a “Miracle of Tim Tebow” study.
The string of Tebow magic began with a comeback to beat the Dolphins in Week 7. Down 15-0, the Broncos scored 15 points to tie the game in the final three minutes before winning in overtime. You figure Miami would still be upset with blowing the game, but that’s not how linebacker Karlos Dansby sees it.
“I think us losing to Tim Tebow the way we did, we’ve seen it first hand,” Dansby told Jim Rome. “The young man is blessed. The young man has a special anointing on him. For God to show himself in the game the way He did, through the guy He did it through, it opened a lot of guys’ eyes on our team. It brought a lot of guys closer to God. Everything happens for a reason.
“That was something that we couldn’t control, and it was out of our control. My hat goes off to Tim, and God working through him like that. It opened up a lot of eyes. He’s a blessed young man, and I wish him much success the rest of his career.”
Many people don’t believe that God has a hand in the outcome of athletic events. Some people even feel that Tebow needs to cool it on the religious talk. But then you have guys like Dansby, who became a believer after witnessing the miracle of Tebow.
I don’t know if God determines athletic events, but I’ve always been a believer when it came to sports. I’ve always felt that if you put in the proper amount of work and preparation, you get rewarded on game day. Call it God, or call it something else, but there is a lot to be said for doing things the right way and seeing a good outcome.
When the Dolphins signed linebacker Karlos Dansby back in 2010, they knew they were getting an impact player. If they thought Dansby was an average defender, they would not have given him a five-year, $43 million contract that included $22 million guaranteed. However, they may not have known they were signing a Hall of Famer — one that is better than every other linebacker in the game. Why do we say that about Karlos, you ask? Because he insists.
“I feel like I’m the best, and now I just have to prove it,” Dansby told the Miami Herald. “I’ve been saying it for the last couple of years, and I’m just now getting my opportunity to be on the stage to show it.”
Naturally, reporters went into feasting mode as soon as he started talking like a jackass. When one asked Dansby if he thought he was better than Ray Lewis, what do you think he said?
“I’m better than everybody,” he said immediately. “Everybody. Period. Point blank. I just haven’t had the recognition, man. I’m more versatile than everybody. Period. Pont blank. I’m more versatile than everybody. Hands down. I can do it all.”
Channing Crowder has been all over the headlines this week. Earlier in the week, he made some comments about Derrick Mason being an old man and Mason responded by saying he’s been catching passes since Crowder was still wetting himself. According to the Dolphins linebacker, the war went beyond words during the Miami-Baltimore game on Sunday, which the Ravens won 26-10.
Crowder told The Miami Herald after the game that Ravens running back Le’Ron McClain spit in his face during the third quarter. Crowder then proceeded to call McClain a “bitch-ass punk” and a “ho.” Meanwhile, Mason was in the Ravens locker room telling reporters that Crowder is a “bad player” who will be out of the league before Mason — who’s 36 — retires.
Things kept getting uglier, at least from a verbal standpoint. The most memorable quotes about the situation came from Dolphins linebacker Karlos Dansby.
Man, if I’d have seen that, there would have been a damn brawl out there, straight up,” Dansby said. “We don’t play that. We some tough guys. But if you take a cowardly way like that, you need to be straightened. Hopefully, Roger Goodell will look at the film and he’ll do something about it. If he don’t, we’ll see him in the street and we’ll have to handle it like men.”
Them there are fightin’ words — literally. I’d be willing to wager nothing happens “in the street,” but it would probably be wise for Goodell to take a look at the situation and try to do something to diffuse it. Otherwise the refs will need to be armed with stun guns and riot shields in the unlikely event that the two teams should meet in the playoffs.