The Best NFL Players Who Retired In 2023



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Over 1.0K Ranker voters have come together to rank this list of The Best NFL Players Who Retired In 2023

As much as every professional NFL player would love to play the game of football for the rest of their lives, there comes a time all of these legends must close the book and begin a new journey away from the national football league. The average career length for NFL players comes in at a staggering 3 years, and with so much turnover in the league, some players fans love shockingly call it quits every year. In 2023, many players are taking their final bow in the NFL, leaving a massive hole in the hearts of football fans around the globe, but a buzz of excitement in seeing what all of these incredibly talented individuals will do next.

Many players on this list have had an astronomical impact on the game of football and how we know the NFL today like Tom Brady, A. J. Green, and J.J. Watt, while some had the primes of their careers cut short due to injury. Some players like Chad Henne simply decided it was time to walk away from the game, while others decided to seek different opportunities in the sports world. No matter how long or short their career was, the best NFL players who retired in 2023 left a resounding impact on the game of football and provided fans with memories that will last them a lifetime.

Celebrate the careers of the football players retiring in 2023, and be sure to vote up the best retired NFL players who had the greatest impact on the game throughout their careers. Check back throughout the year to see the list of greats who retire throughout 2023, and check out The Best NFL Players of All Time to see where these legends stack up against the all-time greats.


  • 1
    920 votes

    Announced retirement on February 1, 2023

    Career Achievements:
    7× Super Bowl champion (XXXVI, XXXVIII, XXXIX, XLIX, LI, LIII, LV)
    5× Super Bowl MVP (XXXVI, XXXVIII, XLIX, LI, LV)
    3× NFL Most Valuable Player (2007, 2010, 2017)
    2× NFL Offensive Player of the Year (2007, 2010)
    NFL Comeback Player of the Year (2009)
    3× First-team All-Pro (2007, 2010, 2017)
    3× Second-team All-Pro (2005, 2016, 2021)
    15× Pro Bowl (2001, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2009–2018, 2021)
    5× NFL passing touchdowns leader (2002, 2007, 2010, 2015, 2021)
    4× NFL passing yards leader (2005, 2007, 2017, 2021)
    2× NFL passer rating leader (2007, 2010)
    NFL completion percentage leader (2007)
    NFL 2000s All-Decade Team
    NFL 2010s All-Decade Team
    NFL 100th Anniversary All-Time Team

    Career Records:
    Most career quarterback wins: 251
    Most career passing attempts: 12,050
    Most career passing completions: 7,753
    Most career passing touchdowns: 649
    Most career passing yards: 89,214
    Most pass completions in a season: 490 (2022)
    Most pass attempts in a season: 733 (2022)
    Longest touchdown pass: 99 yards (tied)

    • Position: Quarterback
    • Teams: New England Patriots (2000–2019), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2020–2023)
  • J. J. Watt
    Photo: Arizona Cardinals / Instagram
    922 votes

    Announced retirement on January 8, 2023

    Career Achievements:
    3× NFL Defensive Player of the Year (2012, 2014, 2015)
    Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year (2017)
    5× First-team All-Pro (2012–2015, 2018)
    2× Second-team All-Pro (2014, 2018)
    5× Pro Bowl (2012–2015, 2018)
    2× NFL sacks leader (2012, 2015)
    NFL forced fumbles co-leader (2018)
    NFL 2010s All-Decade Team
    PFWA All-Rookie Team (2011)
    Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year (2017)
    Bert Bell Award (2014)

    Career Records:
    First player with multiple 20-sack seasons (2012, 2014)
    Seasons leading league in sacks: 2

    • Position: Defensive end
    • Teams: Houston Texans (2011–2020), Arizona Cardinals (2021–2022)
  • A. J. Green
    Photo: user uploaded image
    427 votes

    Announced retirement on February 6, 2023

    Career Achievements:
    2× Second-team All-Pro (2012, 2013)
    7× Pro Bowl (2011–2017)
    PFWA All-Rookie Team (2011)

    Career Records:
    Receptions: 727
    Receiving yards: 10,514
    Receiving touchdowns: 70

  • Devin McCourty
    173 votes

    Devin McCourty

    Announced retirement on March 10, 2023

    Career Achievements:
    3× Super Bowl champion (XLIX, LI, LIII)
    3× Second-team All-Pro (2010, 2013, 2016)
    2× Pro Bowl (2010, 2016)
    PFWA All-Rookie Team (2010)
    New England Patriots All-2010s Team
    New England Patriots All-Dynasty Team
    First-team All-Big East (2009)

    Career Records:
    Total tackles: 971
    Sacks: 3.0
    Pass deflections: 110
    Interceptions: 35
    Forced fumbles: 11

  • Dont'a Hightower
    Photo: user uploaded image
    94 votes

    Dont'a Hightower

    Announced retirement on March 21, 2023

    Career Achievements:
    3× Super Bowl champion (XLIX, LI, LIII)
    Second-team All-Pro (2016)
    2× Pro Bowl (2016, 2019)
    New England Patriots All-2010s Team
    New England Patriots All-Dynasty Team

    Career Records:
    Total tackles: 569
    Sacks: 27.0
    Pass deflections: 18
    Interceptions: 1
    Forced fumbles: 2
    Fumble recoveries: 5
    Defensive touchdowns: 2

  • Rodney Hudson
    Photo: Arizona Cardinals / Instagram
    163 votes

    Rodney Hudson

    Announced retirement on March 5, 2023

    Career Achievements:
    Second-team All-Pro (2019)
    3× Pro Bowl (2016, 2017, 2019)

    Career Records:
    Games played: 159
    Games started: 143

    • Position: Center
    • Teams: Arizona Cardinals