Early retirement in the NFL: A new era?

One of the biggest off-season headlines from the NFL, besides the aspect of free-agency, is the early retirement of the No.1 receiver in the league.

Some of the NFL’s biggest stars have shocked the league with there intentions
of an early retirement.

Calvin Johnson, future Hall of Fame Receiver, stunned Detroit and the
rest of the football world on March 8th, with his decision to walk
away in a Sanders-like, fashion.

Leaving the game just 30 years of age, a majority of players, fans, and
personal from the NFL believe that the Pro Bowl player still has another six,
seven seasons left in him. Tearing up the league since 2007, the future Hall of
Famer nearly has had over 1,000 receiving yards every season. With the exception
of 756 yards as a rookie, and a tiny fraction of just 16 yards short of another
1,000-yard season in 2009, the dominating force has been a model of consistency
since the day one.

Johnson holds the record for the NFL single season leader in receiving
yards, his incredible 2012 season recorded an outstanding 1,964 yards – two
spots ahead of arguably the best wide receiver ever to play the game, Jerry
Rice.  

Since his rookie season, Johnson is also the NFL’s active receiving
touchdown leader, just four ahead Marshall. Besides the fact of just having one
more season than Johnson, Marshall will most likely be the new leader in this
category, due to the early retirement announcement from the Detroit superstar.

Another shocking announcement in the NFL was made yesterday: one of the
league’s most explosive and athletic player, decided to retire at the young age
of 27 years old. Percy Harvin shocks Bills and others around the league with
his sudden decision to leave the game with his latest concerns of injuries.

Harvin told the Bills that, his ongoing hip and knee injuries that
sidelined him since October of 2014, was enough reason to walk away.

Being the electric wide-receiver and punt/kick-off return specialist, since
his team’s dominating Super Bowl XLVIII win over the Broncos, the Pro Bowl player’s
production slowly has dipped. Since posting his career high of 87 yards and 967
yards in 2011 with the Minnesota Vikings, Harvin has played for three teams
since his championship run with the Seahawks.

Seeing just flashes of Harvin’s play-making ability, his early retirement
sort of leaves him with a complicated legacy, as people around the league are
still questioning on the validity of the decision. His Super Bowl XLVIII
teammate Marshawn Lynch, is another notable player in the NFL this off-season
considering retirement.

Lynch, 32, doesn’t exactly fit this mold of retirement; knowing the
short-lifespan of a running back, people will respect the future Hall of Fame
Running Back’s decision to walk away from the game. Running backs have such a
short window in the NFL because of all the contact they receive each and every
play, not to say every position played by players are engaged in some kind of contact,
but running backs tend to receive a lot of wear and tear on the offensive end.

The news of Percy Harvin yesterday gave me a new perspective of
football, and how the game is being perceived. In the midst of concussions, and
more research being done for links of mental illnesses, depression, or even
problems of suicide – there are many questions raising from people surrounding
the league, including players.

Are they thinking cash now, so
they can leave after?

It highlights more and more, the aspect of free agency in the NFL, and
why players want and deserve millions in there newly-structured contracts. The
early retirement announcement made by Johnson and a few other well known stars
in the NFL, are starting to concern some questions about the state of the game.

Photo By Keith Allison (Flickr) [CC BY-SA 2.0],via Wikimedia Commons

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