Athletes Who Waited Too Long To Retire People In Sports
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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.
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    1942

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    ranked low on reranks 1969

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    added by UnclScrewtape 1949 1949

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    added by PhilMortenson 1973

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    added by AdamKoalaSchoenberg 1964

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    most listed & added by KirkSaw 1962

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    added by KirkSaw 1958

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    ranked low on reranks 1975

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    ranked low on reranks 1969

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    added by bene 1944

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    added by dwayne.blankenship 1956

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    added by blanktape4_18min 1952

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    added by KirkSaw 1972

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    added by UnclScrewtape 1973

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    added by blanktape4_18min 1939

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    often listed & added by Joshballinhard12 1977

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    ranked low on reranks 1947

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    often listed & added by blanktape4_18min 1982

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    ranked low on reranks 1933

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    added by UnclScrewtape 1957

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    added by Dark Orion 1953

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    scott scherer

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    added by Dark Orion Ric Flair

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    added by RodneyBlair 1903

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    added by Dave_7672 1941

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    added by KXB13 1963

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  38. 38
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    added by KirkSaw 1938

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    added by KirkSaw 1958

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    added by RodneyBlair 1973

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    added by KXB13 1958

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    added by RodneyBlair 1974

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    added by omh755 1914

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    added by RodneyBlair 1848 If Grace retired in 1880,aged 32,he would have averaged 50 with the bat when it was hard to ...

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  45. 45
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    added by KirkSaw 1895

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    new! & added by Charlie FQ 1972

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    added by jaysem1031 1968

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    added by KirkSaw 1951

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    added by KirkSaw 1943

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    added by RodneyBlair 1955

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  51. 58 +

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