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20 Athletes Who Retired in Less Than Spectacular Fashion

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20 Athletes That Didn't Know When To Hang It Up

Manny Ramirez
USA Today Sports

Retirement is something that most people look forward to. That day when they no longer have to go to work and put in time for the man. But when it comes to professional athletes, retirement is not usually the most welcome of things. Some athletes simply don't want to give it up.

It's a completely different story on retirement when you're talking about people who love what they do for a living. Athletes are basically living the dream each and every day. In some sports, they can carry on living the dream well into their 30s. But in others, careers are winding down by the time the big 3-0 approaches.

In sports there's that fine line between walking away too early and hanging on too long. It's a really hard line to walk and very few find the perfect time to call it a career. Going out on top is extremely rare for a couple of reasons: 1) many athletes never make it to the top 2) athletes always think they have one more good run in them.

Mentally, many athletes remain strong up until the end. They have the will to play and to carry on, but their bodies often give out. That's the hard part for the athletes - being honest with themselves.

So it's with all that in mind, that we'll take a look at 20 athletes who didn't know when to hang it up. Some of the guys made it to the mountain and came back for more. Others just keep hanging on to try and win that elusive championship. Whatever the case was, all of these gentlemen retired too late. However, many of them still have great legacies, regardless. Enjoy:

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Allen Iverson

USA Today Sports
USA Today Sports

Iverson finally retired in 2013. He hadn't played in an NBA game for three years prior to his retirement, but he was holding out hope that he would get one last chance. The final few years of AI's career were simply not great.

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Deion Sanders

USA Today Sports
USA Today Sports

Prime Time hung up his cleats following the 2000 season he spent with the Redskins. Then, for whatever reason, he came out of retirement for two lackluster seasons with the Ravens in 2004-2005.

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Mike Tyson

Mike Tyson
USA Today Sports

Iron Mike thought he still had it back in 2002 when he challenged Lennox Lewis for the World Heavyweight Championship. Yeah, it didn't work out so well for the former baddest man on the planet. Tyson was KO'd in the eighth round and his boxing career essentially came to an end.

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Randy Moss

USA Today Sports
USA Today Sports

As great as Moss was, you can still call him an underachiever. The future Hall-of-Famer retired after the 2010 season, only to return in 2012 with the 49ers. He played okay in San Francisco, but there's no doubt he was a shell of his former self.

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Jerry Rice

USA Today Sports
USA Today Sports

Jerry Rice played for the Seahawks. Remember that? It was one thing to see him play for Raiders following his departure from San Francisco, but it was just weird to see him get traded to Seattle during the middle of a season. Rice also started the 2005 season with the Broncos, but ultimately retired before the season began.

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Michael Jordan

@YuriyATL404
@YuriyATL404

This one pains most basketball fans. To see MJ in a non-Bulls jersey, just wasn't right. Jordan was still good in his final two years in Washington, but most of us wish he would have just gone out on top after the 1998 Finals.

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Brett Favre

USA Today Sports
USA Today Sports

Favre's ironman streak came to a screeching halt in 2010. After playing in 297 straight regular season games, his body finally started to give out. On the final play of his career, he was knocked unconscious and was barely able to leave the field under his own power.

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Dennis Rodman

nycjim
@nycjim

Rodman's career fizzled out real quick after his final season in Chicago in 1998. The Worm had failed runs in Los Angeles and Dallas before taking his talents to the independents and overseas.

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Terrell Owens

USA Today Sports
USA Today Sports

T.O. is still begging teams to sign him. Technically, he's not even retired. But when a guy hasn't played an NFL down in nearly three years, it's safe to say that he's done.

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Donovan McNabb

Manny Ramirez
USA Today Sports

McNabb thought he could still play back in 2011, and so did the Vikings. Boy, were they both way off. McNabb could barely complete a 10-yard pass by the end of his career.

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Daunte Culpepper

USA Today Sports
@AFpicture_japan

Culpepper had a heck of a run with the Vikings back in the early 2000s, but his career fizzled out after a knee injury. To cap it off, Culpepper had failed runs with the Dolphins, Raiders and Lions.

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Hakeem Olajuwon & Patrick Ewing

@TheNoLookPass
@TheNoLookPass

The picture above is no doubt from bizarro land. Ewing played for the SuperSonics and Magic to end his career, while The Dream took his talents North of the border for his final season in 2001-02. Why!?

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Tracy McGrady

USA Today Sports
USA Today Sports

T-Mac could never make it out of the first round of the playoffs. However, he signed on with the Spurs late in 2013 and nearly won a ring. Regardless, there's no doubt that McGrady hung on way too long.

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Manny Ramirez

Manny Ramirez
USA Today Sports

Manny isn't technically retired, either, but we all know he's done. He keeps trying to make it back to MLB, but Triple A is about as close as he'll get.

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Rickey Henderson

USA Today Sports
USA Today Sports

The greatest base stealer of all time had a very difficult time calling it a career. Henderson played MLB from 1979-2003 and then kept playing minor league and independent ball for a couple more seasons. Even well into the mid-2000s, Henderson talked about making another comeback.

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Evander Holyfield

USA Today Sports
USA Today Sports

Holyfield started boxing way back in 1984 and didn't retire until 2012. Even though he did finally announce his retirement, the former champ has still talked about making another comeback.

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Stephon Marbury

@AsianCagers
@AsianCagers

Marbury has been done in the NBA for years now, but yet he still won't retire from the game of basketball. As of last season, the 36-year old was still playing in the Chinese Basketball Association.

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Jim Thome

USA Today Sports
USA Today Sports

Thome was one of the best power hitters of his generation, but he also hung on longer than nearly anyone from his generation. Over the final four seasons of his career, he played for six different teams.

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Rasheed Wallace

USA Today Sports
USA Today Sports

Sheed declared that he was done shooting hoops following a failed championship run back in 2010. But then he decided to return to the Knicks for 21 games in 2012.

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Muhammad Ali

@MarkODodge
@MarkODodge

The greatest of all time certainly didn't go out in great fashion. Ali fought twice in the 1980s, losing badly to Larry Holmes and Trevor Berbick in 1980 and 1981.