Welcome to the newest edition of The Why. “Why are NFL players retiring early now?” you ask? Good question. Timely too. (Besides, it still beats answering the question: “Why do football players pat each other on the butt . . . is it a gay thing?” Actually, your curmudgeonly columnist could care less if they’re gay as long as the ones who are don’t want to make him a wide receiver, mmmkay?)
According to numerous sources such as USA Today, recently, in a five-day period, “four veterans — San Francisco 49ers linebacker Patrick Willis, Tennessee Titans quarterback Jake Locker, Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker Jason Worilds and Oakland Raiders running back Maurice Jones-Drew — chose to leave the NFL at the age of 30 or younger .”
Why are NFL players retiring early now? Because now they don’t have to pay someone who is smart to clue them in on the obvious physical downsides of pro football. Now all they have to do is Google.
Perhaps some are realizing that they get paid all that money to kick the cr@p out of each other. It’s not two-hand touch in Adaptive PE class, duh. Still, while yours truly might have a couple professional athletes as friends, he’s more a master of indoor sports so let’s check with experts, shall we?
Former NFL cornerback Champ Bailey confirms: “Twenty years ago, guys weren’t informed about how this game affects you long term . . . now there’s so much information out there. Nobody wants to be handicapped . . . it’s . . . scary . . .”
Lindsay H. Jones, contributor to USA Today, notes that “Willis . . . thought his feet had failed him and he wouldn’t be healthy enough to play at a high level.”
Willis stated: “I pay attention to guys when they’re finished playing, walking around and they’ve got no hips or they can’t play with their kids . . . or they can barely walk or their fingers are all like this and people see that and feel sorry then, but nobody knows it’s because you played those few extra years. It’s my health first and everything else kind of just makes sense around it.”
That’s the most obvious reason. They get overpaid enough to be able to live the rest of their lives doing nothing and –duh—you might get hurt . . . bad. Are there other reasons why NFL players are retiring early now?
Jones adds that “Locker, a first-round pick in 2011, said his passion for the sport was gone. “ Jones also notes that for some such as Jones-Drew and Worilds, they retire early “to pursue other interests.”
(Yeah. Getting your @ss kicked day in and day out by guys at least as good as you or better might curb your enthusiasm.)
Why are NFL players retiring early now? Now you know.
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