Time to hang up your cleats…
Some players just don’t know when to call it a day. These are the NFL stars who need to call it quits now or at the latest, the end of the 2018 season. Whether it’s been a sudden change in fortune or lengthy decline due to injury, if they no longer belong they’ll be found here.
These are the NFL stars who need to call it quits…
Clay Matthews, LB, Green Bay Packers
This entry has nothing to do with Matthews’ current level of ability, as the Packers sack artist is still one of the league’s best at his craft. However, Matthews can’t seem to avoid falling foul of the new rule making it illegal to land with your body weight on the quarterback.
Between 2009 and 2017 Matthews was called for four roughing the passer penalties. With these new rules in place, It will be a miracle if he doesn’t double that total in 2018. It’s unfortunate but Matthews is one of the NFL stars who need to call it quits now.
Ameer Abdullah, RB, Detroit Lions
Abdullah, at one point, was seen as the answer to a Detroit Lions rushing game that hadn’t been relevant since 2013. In 32 games over the course of three seasons in Detroit, Abdullah never managed to surpass 100 yards rushing in a game. That is why the Lions drafted Kerryon Johnson out of Auburn in the 2018 draft. Luckily for them, it only took all of three games for the 2017 SEC Offensive Player of the Year to post the Lions first 100-yard rushing outing since Reggie Bush was in town.
Abdullah’s days in the league seem like they could be numbered.
Sam Bradford, QB, Arizona Cardinals
The worst thing a starting quarterback can do when he has a high-value rookie warming the bench behind him is to come out at the start of the season playing poorly. Bradford slumped out of the gate in 2018, resulting with the Arizona Cardinals signaling that the Josh Rosen era is in inbound. Bradford was replaced in the final minutes of a two-point loss to the Chicago Bears.
Given Bradford’s injury history, it is hard to see him having any value in the league.
Case Keenum, QB, Denver Broncos
Keenum just doesn’t feel like a franchise quarterback. If you take out his 22 touchdown season for the Minnesota Vikings in 2017, then the most touchdown passes he had ever thrown in a year entering the 2018 season was nine (twice). His two-year, $36 million contract with the Denver Broncos has not done anything to increase his level of play. Keenum might want to take that money and run, rather than settle back into life as a journeyman backup in the long term.
Blaine Gabbert, QB, Tennessee Titans
It is easy to forget that Gabbert still has a job in the NFL. The Tennessee Titans backup quarterback is so bad, that he managed to throw two incomplete passes on one play in his team’s Week 2 game of 2018. After an attempted pass was batted back to him at the line of scrimmage by a defender, Gabbert caught the ball before rolling to his left and throwing the second pass out of bounds.
This is – of course – an illegal play, but it is one that basically sums up Gabbert’s career as a passer who is very capable of playing entire games and throwing for less than 200 yards. Gabbet is one of many NFL stars who need to call it quits now!
Kenyan Drake, RB, Miami Dolphins
Drake was supposed to be Miami’s starting running back in 2018. His only competition for the spot appeared to be Frank Gore, a player who has been in the league long enough that it feels he’s been performing in the NFL since the days of the Clinton Administration. Instead, Miami is winning games in different ways, using the play of quarterback Ryan Tannehill, trickery from deep in the playbook, and the running of Gore.
If Drake’s production continues to drop, then it may be time for him to call it quits.
Da’Norris Searcy, S, Carolina Panthers
Health is more important than football. This ought to be the message received by Searcy after he picked up his second concussion in the space of 30 days early in the 2018 NFL season. The second concussion mandated an eight-game injury layoff before Searcy could even be considered to be activated again, but with CTE concerns becoming more and more evident around the league, you have to wonder if the safety would be better off just walking away from the game.
Tyrod Taylor, QB, Cleveland Browns
Taylor is another veteran passer that will have to move over – and perhaps move on – as the young blood in the organization passes him by. Baker Mayfield is the rookie sensation in this case, with the former Oklahoma quarterback looking every bit an NFL starter as he led Cleveland on four scoring drives against the New York Jets in Week 3 after Taylor left with a concussion.
Taylor’s career has been an interesting one with plenty of ups and downs, but maybe it is time to move on after another blow to the head.
Andrew Luck, QB, Indianapolis Colts
This entry is truly sad. At one point, Luck appeared to be the next Tom Brady or Peyton Manning, an old-school quarterback poised to have a decade-long career with his Indianapolis Colts challenging for the Lombardi Trophy on a yearly basis. Then came the 2015 injury to Luck’s throwing shoulder that has unfortunately derailed his career.
Luck was replaced on the final play of the Colts Week 3 game in 2018 so that backup Jacoby Brissett could throw a 60-yard Hail Mary. This play was especially tough to watch, as this was a throw that Luck would have made in his sleep, had he been healthy. However, questions must now be asked about the long-term health of the shoulder.
Tom Brady, QB, New England Patriots
There is something to be said for going out on top and ending your career as a champion. Most of us can agree that Brady is an NFL Hall of Famer in waiting, but should he have bowed out at the end of the 2017 season after his New England Patriots won the AFC title and narrowly lost in the Super Bowl?
Brady keeps himself in outstanding shape and is one of the greatest competitors to ever play in the league, but age hits you like a bus in the NFL and the Patriots are one bad season away from tarnishing their quarterback’s legacy.