The Best NFL Players Who Retired In 2023

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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 J.J. Watt, while some had the primes of their careers cut short due to injury. Some 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.


  • J. J. Watt
    Photo: Arizona Cardinals / Instagram

    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)