As NFL teams start reuniting for organized practices throughout the league, it’s the perfect time to pay tribute to some hardworking veterans. In particular, we are focusing on NFL players over 30 years old across the league who are still playing at an exceptionally high level.
In some cases, members of this over-30 crowd perform better and stay healthier than their younger peers. Go figure.
The fountain of youth has been especially kind to the following 30 players — many of whom are future Hall of Famers.
We will kick off this list with one fan favorite looking to make a major rebound in 2018.
Aaron Rodgers, quarterback, Green Bay Packers
Rodgers is easily on course to become the next highest-paid player in the league. There is no reason at all to doubt that Rodgers, at the age of 34, returns this season completely healthy. Prior to his injury-shortened 2017 season, Rodgers passed for a league-best 40 touchdowns with only seven interceptions. His precision and ability to hit receivers in tight coverage is practically peerless. Heading into his 11th year as a starter, this future Hall of Fame quarterback sports an impressive 94-48 record.
Terrell Suggs, outside linebacker, Baltimore Ravens
At 35 years old, Suggs’ goal is to play a “few more years.” And why not? He looks more like he is 25 on the field and has not shown any signs of a decline. Just last season, the All-Pro recorded a team-high 11 sacks, as well as forcing four fumbles and making 49 tackles. We also must note that Suggs has missed only one game since tearing his Achilles in week 1 in 2015. Suggs’ gritty personality isn’t for everyone, but at the end of the day, he gets the job done.
Jason Peters, left tackle, Philadelphia Eagles
Despite tearing his ACL and MCL last October, Peters is slated to resume his starting left tackle position, according to head coach Doug Pederson. Pederson had nothing but accolades to pay to his “Pro Bowl left tackle.” Peters turned 36 in January and will begin his 10th season as an Eagle. He is a nine-time Pro-Bowler as well as a two-time All-Pro. When healthy, Peters is a dominant force who should continue to help keep his quarterback protected.
Julius Peppers, defensive end, Carolina Panthers
The Panthers signed their 38-year-old defensive end to one more season, which makes for his 10th total in Carolina. This makes complete sense considering Peppers is still a game-changer after recording 11 sacks and 33 combined tackles last season. Currently, Peppers ranks fourth-overall in NFL history with a total of 154.5 sacks on the books. As long as this future Hall of Fame defender remains upright, it will take only six more sacks for Peppers to slide into third place in this stat.
Johnathan Joseph, cornerback, Houston Texans
The Texans signed Joseph to a two-year deal to keep him in Houston for what will be his ninth season there. Formerly a 24th-overall pick by the Cincinnati Bengals in 2006, Joseph is still a strong cover corner. The 34-year-old cornerback played in all 16 games last season when he recorded two interceptions, one touchdown and defended nine passes. He also added 47 combined tackles. This is not too bad for a guy well on the wrong side of 30.
Tom Brady, quarterback New England Patriots
Entering his 19th year in the league, Brady is unarguably a future Hall of Famer. He has led the league in passing three times in his career, including last season when he recorded 4,577 yards. He keeps his interceptions low while the touchdowns continue to flow annually. Brady’s health regimen is like none other and it is without surprise he plans to play into his mid-40s. This quarterback anomaly, who turns 41 in August, currently ranks fourth with 66,159 all-time career passing yards.
Calais Campbell, defensive end, Jacksonville Jaguars
At the age of 31, Campbell is thriving as a member of the Jaguars. He is coming off a highly successful 2017 campaign that saw him record 14.5 sacks. This marked the second-highest total in the league. Prior to joining the Jaguars, Campbell spent nine years playing with the Arizona Cardinals when he missed only six games. The upcoming season makes for Campbell’s 11th as he enters his second year playing under a very lucrative $60 million four-year contract with Jacksonville.
Donald Penn, left tackle, Oakland Raiders
Penn is currently on the mend from Lisfranc surgery stemming from a foot injury that caused him to miss two games for the first time ever in 11 seasons playing. He will miss the offseason, but is expected to be ready for training camp. The 35-year-old left tackle is starting his fifth season as a Raider after having played from 2007-13 with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He is currently signed through the 2019 NFL season.
Vernon Davis, tight end, Washington Redskins
At 34-years-old, Davis is is still out there attracting targets and catching passes just like he was during the height of his career. During his two seasons playing in Washington, Davis has tallied 87 catches for 1,231 yards and five touchdowns. He is showing no signs of breaking down and should be a great weapon when he reunites with former San Francisco 49ers teammate Alex Smith. Davis was the sixth-overall pick in 2006, selected by San Francisco, where he caught 55 touchdowns.
Lorenzo Alexander, linebacker, Buffalo Bills
Alexander said he wants to continue playing after last drumming up 10 tackles and one sack in the Bills Wild Card playoff game. This performance displayed a boost in what had been somewhat of a down season for Alexander. But, at nearly 35-years-old, Alexander is still enough of a contributor that the Bills will have him return in 2018. Throughout a career that spans back to 2007, Alexander has recorded 314 combined tackles as well as 24.5 sacks.
Drew Brees, quarterback, New Orleans Saints
The Saints took care of their star quarterback, securing him for two more seasons. Since originally arriving in the Bayou back in 2006, Brees has had seven seasons where he notched league-highs in passing yards. He also just completed a record-breaking 72 percent of his passes. Currently, this future Hall of Fame quarterback is tied with Brady for third all time with 488 career touchdowns.
Aqib Talib, cornerback, Los Angeles Rams
Still performing at a dominant level, Talib was traded to the Rams after he accomplished four Pro-Bowl seasons with the Denver Broncos. Prior to this, Talib spent two years playing with the New England Patriots after originally being drafted 20th-overall by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2008. Throughout a very successful career, Talib has recorded 34 interceptions, 10 touchdowns, 117 defended passes and 430 combined tackles. There is little reason to believe this 32-year-old cornerback suddenly cools down in his new LA digs.
Adam Vinatieri, kicker, Indianapolis Colts
Not calling it quits just yet, Vinatieri signed a one-year deal to play a 13th season with the Colts, who signed him in 2006. It has been a long NFL journey for Vinatieri whose career originally started in 1996 with the New England Patriots. Over the course of 22 years, Vinatieri has made 559 of a possible 663 field goals which marks for the second-highest in league history. It will only take seven more field goals for the two-time Super Bowl champion to become No. 1 in this stat.
Thomas Davis, linebacker, Carolina Panthers
Despite entering 2018 serving a four-game suspension, Davis deserves plenty of recognition for his 12 amazing seasons playing in Carolina. After getting drafted 14th-overall in 2005, Davis has racked up 1,032 combined tackles and 28 sacks. He has been a healthy contributor, having missed only two games in his last four seasons. This upcoming campaign will likely be the 35-year-old linebacker’s last hurrah before moving on to enjoy retirement.
Larry Fitzgerald, wide receiver, Arizona Cardinals
Speaking of retirement, Fitzgerald put that idea on the back burner to return for his 15th season. The Cardinals drafted Fitzgerald third overall back in 2004, and they got the real deal. The 11-time Pro-Bowl receiver has remained healthy and has only missed six of 224 possible contests throughout his career. In particular, Fitzgerald has performed at an extremely high level over his past three seasons, recording 325 receptions for 3,394 yards. This is pretty amazing considering the future Hall of Fame receiver turns 35 this August.
Ben Roethlisberger, quarterback, Pittsburgh Steelers
After toying around with retirement talks, Roethlisberger now wants to play for another handful of seasons. As an 11th-overall pick from the 2004 draft, Big Ben has played in 200 of 224 possible games and sports a notable 135-63 record. The 36-year-old quarterback has produced at a very consistent level and the Steelers have made the postseason 10 times in Roethlisberger’s 14-year tenure. Playing with the most explosive offense in the league, Roethlisberger should keep the wins pouring in.
Terence Newman, cornerback, Minnesota Vikings
Newman signed a one-year deal to play out his final season in the league. Turning 40 this September, Newman is still a valuable contributor and has missed only one game in his three seasons playing in Minnesota. There he has recorded five interceptions, 25 defended passes and 135 combined tackles. He started his career as a fifth-overall pick by the Dallas Cowboys in 2003. If the Vikings make it to the Super Bowl next year, it would be a perfect way for Newman to sign off on his fabulous career.
Greg Olsen, tight end, Carolina Panthers
An injury-riddled 2017 unfortunately tainted Olsen’s perfect playing record with the Panthers. He signed on with Carolina in 2011 and has been one of the most productive at his position to date. The 33-year-old tight end will look to rebound, and a 1000-plus yard season is not out of the question. This is something Olsen accomplished from 2014-16. He was originally drafted 31st overall by the Chicago Bears in 2007. But the Panthers remain Olsen’s perfect fit.
Ndamukong Suh, defensive tackle, Los Angeles Rams
Suh is another defensive dynamo the Rams acquired this offseason. Over a career that has spanned eight years, Suh has racked up 422 combined tackles as well as 51.5 sacks and 28 defended passes. Originally selected by the Lions second-overall in 2010, Suh spent five seasons in Detroit before the Miami Dolphins made him the highest-paid defender in the league in 2015. The three-time All-Pro takes his talents to LA where he will play nose tackle in Wade Philips’ defense.
Matt Ryan, quarterback, Atlanta Falcons
Congratulation to the new highest-paid quarterback in the league. At the age of 33, Ryan is in his prime and he has maintained an average completion rate of 64.9 percent and 4,179 passing yards per season. He has also guided the Falcons into the playoffs in six of his 10 years playing, establishing a 95-63 record along the way. The only thing fans would love to see more of is Ryan connecting with wideout Julio Jones in the end zone. Perhaps this happens a bit more in 2018.
Cameron Wake, defensive end, Miami Dolphins
Wake is still rushing the passer with the best of them, and the Dolphins are considering extending him beyond the 2018 season. The 36-year-old All-Pro hardly looks his age on the field and has recorded 22 sacks over his last two seasons without missing a game. This included leading the Dolphins in sacks last year. Originally undrafted, Wake has been a key defender for Miami since 2009 and it is without surprise he has been selected to play in five Pro Bowls.
Frank Gore, running back, Miami Dolphins
Sticking with the Dolphins, Miami took a one-year flier on Gore, who just turned 35 years old. He is as tough as running backs get and has not missed a game since 2010. Gore has also rushed for no less than 961 yards since that year. The Dolphins currently have Gore penciled in as their starting back. If he remains healthy, this legendary future Hall of Famer should not let his new team down.
Matt Bryant, kicker, Atlanta Falcons
Bryant has had a tremendous 16-year career that began in 2002 with the New York Giants. Though, the majority of Bryant’s career has been spent with the Atlanta Falcons, where he arrived in 2009. Since then, Bryant has completed 88.1 percent of his 429 field goal attempts. His clutch skills are often relied upon when it comes to converting a game-winning field goal. As such, the Falcons just signed Bryant to a three-year extension which will take him through the age of 44.
Jimmy Graham, tight end, Green Bay Packers
Graham’s latest adventure will see him suiting up with his third team since getting drafted by the New Orleans Saints 2010. The Packers signed Graham to a three-year deal which will take him through the age of 33. He makes for an intriguing addition to the Packers pass-heavy offense featuring the king of Hail Marys as its quarterback. Might we add that Graham is coming off a 10-touchdown season as well.
Andrew Whitworth, left tackle, Los Angeles Rams
Still contributing at a high level, the Rams took a chance on Whitworth, signing him to a three-year deal in 2017. The two-time All-Pro arrived to the Rams after spending 11 seasons playing with the Cincinnati Bengals. Over the course of his grand career, Whitworth has missed only three games. He was very much a big part of a highly-improved Rams offense that scored a league-high 29.9 points in 2017. The 333-pound tackle turned 36 last December.
Marshawn Lynch, running back, Oakland Raiders
Beast Mode is back for at least one more season after averaging 4.2 yards per carry in 2017. Last season saw Lynch combine for 1,042 yards and seven touchdowns which was not too shabby considering he is on the wrong side of 30 and and spent 2016 in retirement. This year will mark Lynch’s 12th season in the league. The 32-year-old running back will look to help get the Raiders offense back to its winning ways this fall.
Brent Grimes, cornerback, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Set to turn 35 in July, Grimes was re-signed by the Buccaneers for one more season. Since arriving to Tampa Bay in 2016, Grimes has tallied seven interceptions along with 35 defended passes and 106 combined tackles. He originally went undrafted and played with the Atlanta Falcons from 2007-2012, then next with the Miami Dolphins from 2013-15. Grimes will look to hit the field healthy after missing three games due to a shoulder injury last year.
Philip Rivers, quarterback, Los Angeles Chargers
The last quarterback featured in our over-30 list has yet to miss a game since starting in 2006. That is quite spectacular. Rivers turned 36 last December and he and his team narrowly missed the playoffs in 2017. He will look to keep the Chargers offense trending up with playmakers such as Keenan Allen, Hunter Henry and Melvin Gordon lending a hand. The move to Los Angeles seems to have rejuvinated Rivers, who threw 28 touchdowns compared to only 10 picks last fall.
Delanie Walker, tight end, Tennessee Titans
Walker led the Titans with 74 catches last year and is quarterback Marcus Mariota’s security blanket for the most part. He has also been quite the dominant force on the Titans offense since joining the team in 2013. From that season to date, Walker has piled up 356 receptions for 4,156 yards and 26 touchdowns. As long as he remains healthy, Walker should keep holding up Tennessee’s offense, especially in the red zone.
Eric Weddle, safety, Baltimore Ravens
After the Chargers wrote Weddle off three seasons ago, he has simply thrived as a Raven. Baltimore signed him in 2016 and since, Weddle has more than rewarded, recording 10 interceptions, one touchdown, 20 defended passes and 149 combined tackles. He heavily contributed to a Ravens defense that mastered a league-high 34 takeaways last season. The two-time All-Pro is signed through the 2019 season which will take him to the age of 34.