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 It may surprise some to realize that the 35-year-old Karlos Dansby is still playing football, but he is. And he’s still playing at a surprisingly high level. But at some point or another, Dansby has to begin considering retirement, right? Well, not according to him. In fact, Dansby, who will turn 36 during the 2017 regular season, insists he’s nowhere close to hanging up his cleats and intends on playing until he’s discussed among the greatest to ever play linebacker in the NFL. “The stigma of it — I’m breaking all of that,” Dansby said in September. “I’m breaking all barriers. People say, ‘Oh, old linebackers can’t play.’ But they see me moving, getting to the ball, making tackles in space, doing things that I’ve been doing since I’ve been in the league.” After a short stint with the Miami Dolphins, Dansby is now back to where it all began — the Arizona Cardinals. And short of a Super Bowl, he has only one box left to check on his to-do list, and that’s another interception. With one this season, he’ll have 20 total in his career, making him only the fifth player in league history with 20 career interceptions and 40 career sacks.
10 NFL players who should be thinking about retirement
Yardbarker | May 6