If you would prefer this to be a little more modern, you could call it “Pulling a Favre,” or even a “Clemens” if you’re a baseball fan. Regardless of the analogy, you get the point: we’re talking about athletes coming out of retirement.
Retirement is something that so many set their sights on years in advance. The date is marked on the calendar, trips are planned, and extra time is spent with your loved ones before that final move to cottage country. (At least that’s what I’m told.) However, retiring from a sport is a whole different story.
For starters, you’re not aged 55-plus; second, it is very rarely something you have been dreaming of; and third, it is extremely rare to be 35 years old and financially set for the rest of your life (for some, anyways). However, as we’ve learned, retiring from a sport does not always really mean retiring.
Often athletes find themselves lost after retirement because they are still so young and maintain their love for the game. This is why you see so many get involved in coaching and broadcasting. Yet, drinking in the game from the sidelines doesn’t always quench the thirst.
More often than not, athletes are not mentally prepared to retire, but are forced into it by injury or a diminishing skill set. As a professional athlete, you have tip-toed the line between confidence and arrogance for your entire career, so not being able to perform is not something that resonates with you. After a year or two off, many athletes will begin to feel physically rejuvenated and subsequently believe they can still compete.
Then there is the money. Despite making millions of dollars during their careers, it somehow dries up. Too many continue living luxuriously after retirement, and do not invest any of their earnings. It is always sad to hear of the comeback trials due to bankruptcy, but it has happened.
For all of these reasons, we have become accustomed to our favorite athletes trying to give the game just one more shot. Most recently, Ray Allen has been rumored to be in contact with the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers in hopes of one more championship run. Is the interest mutual? I guess we’ll find out shortly.
For now, let’s take a look at the odds of some of our other favorite athletes giving it one more kick at the can.
Marshawn Lynch: 15/1
Test driving cars for a day can be a lot of fun, but if Seattle is in the hunt in 2016 and the running game needs a boost, his relationship with the team and those in the locker room could drive him back.
Charles Woodson: 50/1
He may not have looked 29 years old in 2015, but he didn’t look 39 years old either. Winning in Oakland would be very special for Woodson.
Peyton Manning: 50/1
Despite his diminished arm strength, it was obvious that Peyton didn’t want to retire. Maybe a year off will give his body the time it needs to heal.
Calvin Johnson: 100/1
He still has so much to give. A Super Bowl contender could convince him to come win a championship, but he seems mentally retired too.
Randy Moss: 100/1
He claimed to have the “itch” last year, and I doubt it’s left him. His speed left about five years ago though.
Patrick Willis: 500/1
I still can’t believe he retired. But he’s been far too successful post-football to risk his body again.
Ricky Williams: 750/1
Maybe not the NFL, but marijuana should be legal in Canada soon.
Ray Lewis: 1,000/1
He still looks like he can do it on the set of Thursday Night Football.
Brett Favre: 2,000/1
He’s already come out of retirement three times, what’s one more?
Barry Sanders: 5,000/1
The door closed on a Barry Sanders comeback ten years ago. This is just a jab at Lions fans. Sorry.
O.J. Simpson: 20,000/1
Can he get his sentence reduced if he promises to return to the NFL? I heard he has new knees now.
Ray Allen: 2/3
He’s moved beyond just the interest stage. Three-point shooting is highly coveted in today’s NBA.
Amar’e Stoudemire: 4/1
Oh, he hasn’t retired yet? Sorry, he should. Consider these the odds of him playing in 2016.
Kobe Bryant: 35/1
Despite recording 60 points in his final game, an NBA record, I’m sure he believes he could score more if given another opportunity.
Allen Iverson: 75/1
Is he officially broke yet?
Steve Nash: 2,500/1
Canada misses you, Steve. Can he at least set his national team general manager duties aside for one week and help the Canadians get to Rio?
Brian Scalabrine: 5,000/1
The White Mamba. Come show us that versatility just one more time!
Shaquille O’Neal: 5,000/1
Down with small-ball.
Michael Jordan: 10,000/1
Please, Mike, save us from LeBron.
Ilya Kovalchuk: 5/6
The rumors are heating up, and he’s still only 33. He probably won’t get another 17-year deal again.
Pavel Datsyuk: 9/1
His rights were traded to the Arizona Coyotes at the draft. Datsyuk is the kind of name that could actually put fans in the stands down in Glendale.
Martin St. Louis: 75/1
I didn’t see his name on the Canadian roster for the World Cup of Hockey; doesn’t he have something to prove now?
Nicklas Lidstrom: 99/1
The Detroit Red Wings almost had their legendary post-season appearance streak snapped last year. They may need all the help they can get in 2016-17.
Teemu Selanne: 250/1
If Jaromir Jagr is still doing it, why can’t he?
Keith Tkachuk: 5,000/1
Father and son on the same team? Make it happen, Calgary.
David Ortiz: 5/3
He has announced he will retire following the 2016 season, but he’s having one of the best years of his career. Retirement can wait one more year, right?
Adam LaRoche: 7/1
His son may be welcome in other clubhouses. Plus, he’s only 36 years old.
Roy Halladay: 250/1
The Toronto Blue Jays could use one more reliable arm in the pen in their pursuit of a World Series. Tell me you trust Drew Storen more than a 39-year-old Doc.
Derek Jeter: 750/1
The New York Yankees need some leadership right now.
Barry Bonds: 2,000/1
Maybe the MLB will let him juice again?
Ken Griffey Jr.: 5,000/1
The DH spot is there for a reason.
Roger Clemens: 5,000/1
He was impressive back in his 2012 comeback attempt, but it’s 2016 now; don’t pitchers arms fall off after so many innings?
Vladimir Guerrero: 5,000/1
I don’t care how old he is, Vladi can hit anything.
Floyd Mayweather: 1/1
He’ll lose another big bet and be back for one more fight.
Lionel Messi: 2/1
This is in regards to his retirement from the Argentina national team. Yes, Argentina, I’m telling you there’s a chance.
George St. Pierre: 9/4
He retired as welterweight champion, and chatter has been ongoing about a possible return since his last fight in 2013. The UFC has tightened up their anti-doping policy, but his relationship with Dana White still remains an issue. Who knows how much longer Dana will be around, though.
Jeff Gordon: 9/1
Does your body breakdown in racing? Apparently.
Justine Henin: 250/1
She has retired three times, yet she’s still only 34 years old. Is she just waiting for Serena Williams to go?
Lance Armstrong: 2,500/1
It would be quite the story if Armstrong could come back and right all of his wrongs. But, as you can see, that’s not going to happen.
(Feature photo credit: Keith Allison [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.)