Top 10 NFL Players Who Retired Too Early

Retirement is an inevitable thing that everyone will eventually go through. The NFL is no different. Some players retire after a long career, injuries, or just lost passion for the game. For all the players who retire there’s always a few who choose to hang up the cleats way too soon. Here’s some of those players

The Top Ten

1 Barry Sanders Barry Sanders is a former American football running back who spent his entire professional career with the Detroit Lions of the National Football League.

When Barry Sanders was playing he was an absolute beast. He played 10 seasons with the Lions going to the pro bowl every year. He also broke countless records and was only 1,500 yards away from passing Walter Payton’s record. While he was still in his prime the reason why he retired was because of the mismanagement and failure of the Lions organization to build a winning team - Randomator

2 Andrew Luck Andrew Austen Luck is an American football quarterback for the Indianapolis Colts of the National Football League.

The timing is the biggest problem here. He retired a week in a half before the season starts leaving The Colts witout a starting QB. If he had retired maybe in May or June The Colts would've had a chance to either sign a QB or draft one. - RobertWisdom

He was good for football. - Q-ube

The timing was horrible for the whole Colts organization - SirSheep

A wasted HOF talent who will be forgotten in a decade nice job Colts - RawIsgore

No. He'll be remembered for retiring early and a week in a half before season starts. - RobertWisdom

3 Jim Brown James Nathaniel Brown is a former professional American football player and actor. He was a running back for the Cleveland Browns of the National Football League from 1957 through 1965.

When he was playing for the Browns he was a near unstoppable man. He led the league in rushing in every season except one and was voted to the pro bowl in nearly every season. He’s arguably the greatest athlete to come through Cleveland (until Lebron) - Randomator

4 Calvin Johnson Calvin Johnson Jr. is a retired American football wide receiver who played his entire career for the Detroit Lions of the National Football League. He is often called the nickname ''Megatron'' for his rare combination of size, speed, and leaping ability on the field.

Much like Barry Sanders Megatron walked away from the Lions Likely due to them being a losing organization. He was just 30 when he decided to hang up the cleats and was coming off a 9 touchdown, 1,200 yard campaign in 2014. His retirement might also have something to do with the physical toll of football - Randomator

5 Rob Gronkowski Robert Paxton Gronkowski, nicknamed "Gronk," is an American football tight end for the New England Patriots of the National Football League.

I think we saw this one coming though. He was always missing at least half the season due to injuries. - RobertWisdom

Another player who recently retired while at the top. Makes sense considering he just wasn’t the same last year. Injuries had taken a toll on him so it makes sense - Randomator

I kinda saw this coming, being on the madden curse said it all. Probably could be lower knowing his ability was diminishing quickly. - htoutlaws2012

6 Terell Davis

Started off as a key player on John Elway’s Broncos and their back to back Super Bowls but after that he suffered an ACL and MCL tear and was never the same player as before. But at least he has 2 rings unlike a lot of other guys on this list - Randomator

7 Chris Borland

Definitely. - SirSheep

A fairly recent example that may soon become common practice. He played only one season with the Niners and called it quits due to health concerns. He had a decent rookie campaign in his only season but it’s understandable why he hung up the cleats - Randomator

8 Robert Smith

He played running back for the Vikings and after suffering a few injuries early on he became a force to be reckoned with playing from 1993-2000. He was 28 when he called it quits - Randomator

9 Gale Sayers Gale Eugene Sayers, also known as "The Kansas Comet", is a former American college and professional football player who was a running back in the National Football League for seven seasons during the 1960s and early 1970s.
10 Al Toon

A stud wide receiver who played 8 seasons with the Jets (1985-1992) he was forced into retirement after 9 concussions in his 8 seasons. This was also before player safety was a top priority. - Randomator

The Contenders

11 Christian Okoye
12 Bo Jackson Vincent Edward "Bo" Jackson is a former baseball and American football player. He is the only athlete in history to be named an All-Star in both baseball and football, and one of few to do so in two major sports.
13 Billy Sims

Man what is it with Detroit Lions Players being on this list? Sims was a Heisman trophy winner in 1978 and after being drafted by the Lions he was a Star early on in his career before suffering a horrific knee injury in 1984 from that point he could just never fully recover from it - Randomator

14 Patrick Willis Patrick L. Willis is a former American football linebacker who played his entire eight-year career with the San Francisco 49ers of the National Football League.
15 Tiki Barber
16 Jake Long
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