Does the NFL have a retirement problem?
Probably not, but in a radio interview with Pittsburgh’s 93.7 The Fan on Tuesday, Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger discussed the possibility that he might retire this offseason.
Ben Roethlisberger on @937theFan won't commit that he will play next season. Implies he's open to retirement.— Chris Adamski (@C_AdamskiTrib) January 24, 2017
Earl Thomas was injured earlier this season and has reportedly been considering retirement.
Peyton Manning retired shortly after winning his second Super Bowl ring.
Last year, after the Seahawks were eliminated from the playoffs (and during the Super Bowl), Marshawn Lynch famously tweeted an image of his cleats hanging from a power line with a “peace” emoji.
With the recent discoveries linking football-related head injuries to long-term health concerns, the NFL has started to see players retiring at younger and younger ages. In addition to Lynch, since the start of the 2015 offseason, players age-30 or younger to announce their retirement include Calvin Johnson, Patrick Willis, Chris Borland, Jerod Mayo, Jason Worilds, Jake Locker and B.J. Raji.
Of course, don’t tell that to Tom Brady, who continues to play at an all-time great level despite his age (Brady broke his own franchise record for passing yards in a playoff game with 384 last week against Roethlisberger’s Steelers).
The NFL will soon give way to a new era of players. Brady and Roethlisberger can’t play forever. Even if Big Ben decides not to call it quits just yet (which seems most likely), that day is not too far away.
Andrew Luck, Derek Carr, and Marcus Mariota will pick up the mantel in the AFC. They have some big footsteps to follow in order to live up to the Manning/Brady/Roethlisberger levels of play that have represented the AFC in the Super Bowl 13 of the last 15 years.