Athletes Who Waited Too Long To Retire People In Sports
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2  reranks 13,748 votes 2,009 voters 57,286 views more info

Athletes Who Waited Too Long To Retire

List Criteria: Athletes who retired too late

Athletes who waited too long to retire for one reason or another made the choice to continue playing, sometimes for several years, when really they should have hung 'em up. These football, basketball, baseball and hockey players, along with fighters, were once at the top of their respective sports but couldn't stop while they were ahead. Instead they played into their 40s, 50s and sometimes 60s, and sometimes hurt their teams in the process of their denial.

Arguably, this list contains some of the best athletes to ever play in their respective sports. Professional basketball player Michael Jordan, hockey player Gordie Howe and boxer Muhammad Ali all are regarded as some of the best ever but sadly they also come in as athletes who played well past their prime. Instead of stopping when they started to decline, they continued to compete and a small part of their legacy suffered because of it.

Perhaps the most erroneous case of not knowing when to stop is former National Football League quarterback Brett Favre. Number four played atop the league for 17 seasons, mainly with the Green Bay Packers, before retiring after the 2007 season. What followed was what was called the annual Brett Favre unretirement, a process that lasted THREE YEARS. In 2008 he played (poorly) for the New York Jets, then he retired again. A few months later he returned to the NFL with the Minnesota Vikings for the 2009 campaign. Lather, rinse and repeat again in 2010. Spoiler: None of those final seasons led to a Super Bowl victory.

Athletes on this list prove that just because you are great at what you do does not mean you can do it forever. We feel bad for those athletes whose careers ended too soon due to circumstances out of their control but we certainly have much less love for those who refused to retire when clearly they were old and washed up. Coaches (*cough* Joe Paterno *cough*) take note too, this applies to you as well.
List is ranked by a combination of each item's votes & positioning in reranks
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  1. 1
    Up 476
    Down 167
    1942 More
    92
  2. 2
    Up 906
    Down 244

    ranked low on reranks
    Brett Favre

    1969 More
    87
  3. 3
    Up 294
    Down 95
    1949 More
    85
    added by: UnclScrewtape
    1949
  4. 4
    Up 402
    Down 181
    1966 More
    84
  5. 5
    Up 435
    Down 227
    1972 More
    83
  6. 6
    Up 478
    Down 134
    1962 More
    80
  7. 7
    Up 250
    Down 179
    1973 More
    70
    added by: PhilMortenson
  8. 8
    Up 271
    Down 228
    1964 More
    67
    added by: AdamKoalaSchoenberg
  9. 9
    Up 42
    Down 35

    most listed &ranked high on reranks
    Patrick Ewing

    1962 More
    65
    added by: KirkSaw
  10. 10
    Up 33
    Down 37
    1958 More
    65
    added by: KirkSaw
  11. 11
    Up 362
    Down 214

    ranked low on reranks
    Allen Iverson

    1975 More
    62
  12. 12
    Up 301
    Down 173

    ranked low on reranks
    Chuck Liddell

    1969 More
    61
  13. 13
    Up 90
    Down 83
    1944 More
    60
    added by: bene
  14. 14
    Up 39
    Down 33
    1956 More
    59
    added by: dwayne.blankenship
  15. 15
    Up 76
    Down 96
    1952 More
    56
    added by: blanktape4_18min
  16. 16
    Up 17
    Down 16
    1979 More
    56
    added by: wiabux
  17. 17
    Up 186
    Down 263
    1967 More
    55
  18. 18
    Up 25
    Down 33
    1972 More
    55
    added by: KirkSaw
  19. 19
    Up 251
    Down 364
    1963 More
    55
  20. 20
    Up 27
    Down 36
    1931 More
    54
    added by: KirkSaw
  21. 21
    Up 94
    Down 141
    1973 More
    54
    added by: UnclScrewtape
  22. 22
    Up 62
    Down 98
    1939 More
    54
    added by: blanktape4_18min
  23. 23
    Up 27
    Down 44
    1956 More
    53
    added by: KirkSaw
  24. 24
    Up 106
    Down 187

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Randy Moss

    1977 More
    51
    added by: Joshballinhard12
  25. 25
    Up 233
    Down 220

    ranked low on reranks
    O. J. Simpson

    1947 More
    50
  26. 26
    Up 38
    Down 99

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Andy Roddick

    1982 More
    47
    added by: blanktape4_18min
  27. 27
    Up 169
    Down 202

    ranked low on reranks
    Johnny Unitas

    1933 More
    44
  28. 28
    Up 202
    Down 256
    1949 More
    42
  29. 29
    Up 134
    Down 136
    1957 More
    41
    added by: UnclScrewtape
  30. 30
    Up 194
    Down 273
    1969 More
    40
  31. 31
    Up 34
    Down 19
    1953 More
    40
    added by: Dark Orion
  32. 32
    Up 23
    Down 7
    1975 More
    40
    added by: KXB13
  33. 33
    Up 6
    Down 6

    scott scherer

    39
  34. 34
    Up 26
    Down 17

    Ric Flair

    38
    added by: Dark Orion
  35. 35
    Up 16
    Down 10
    1903 More
    37
    added by: RodneyBlair
  36. 36
    Up 14
    Down 9
    1963 More
    36
    added by: KXB13
  37. 37
    Up 22
    Down 21
    1958 More
    36
    added by: KirkSaw
  38. 38
    Up 19
    Down 17
    1938 More
    36
    added by: KirkSaw
  39. 39
    Up 14
    Down 11
    1941 More
    36
    added by: Dave_7672
  40. 40
    Up 20
    Down 19
    1973 More
    36
    added by: RodneyBlair
  41. 41
    Up 11
    Down 8
    1958 More
    35
    added by: KXB13
  42. 42
    Up 15
    Down 14
    1974 More
    35
    added by: RodneyBlair
  43. 43
    Up 13
    Down 12
    1848 More
    35
    added by: RodneyBlair
    If Grace retired in 1880,aged 32,he would have averaged 50 with the bat when it was hard to ... more
  44. 44
    Up 3
    Down 1
    1914 More
    35
    added by: omh755
  45. 45
    Up 1
    Down 0
    1968 More
    34
    added by: jaysem1031
  46. 46
    Up 17
    Down 20
    1951 More
    34
    added by: KirkSaw
  47. 47
    Up 16
    Down 19
    1943 More
    34
    added by: KirkSaw
  48. 48
    Up 12
    Down 14
    1955 More
    34
    added by: RodneyBlair
  49. 49
    Up 23
    Down 30
    1895 More
    34
    added by: KirkSaw
  50. 50
    Up 22
    Down 31
    1963 More
    33
    added by: KirkSaw
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