Peyton Manning and 20 Athletes Who Fans Would Hate to See Retire

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Peyton Manning and 20 Athletes We Wish Could Play Forever

manning
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Everyone has their favorite athlete whether it's an All-Pro quarterback like Peyton Manning or an All-NBA superstar like LeBron James. No matter who your favorite athlete is, rooting for the guy that tops your list of favorites is always satisfying when they are succeeding.

It's always a sad day when an athlete who was so successful in his or her career retires. When Allen Iverson retired, many people thought back to the great memories he brought to their lives as NBA fans and just think of how many kids wanted to be like him when they grew up. What about Brett Favre? Imagine how many kids wanted to be a quarterback like him growing up and then he went and retired, and came back, and retired again, and then came back before retiring for good. Yeah, Favre showed kids that it's never a good idea to quit on anything -- even when you're far too old.

There are also players who need to retire, but love the sport too much to let it go. Tracy McGrady and Vince Carter fall under this category -- only McGrady finally let it go last year.

There are some athletes who are still so good at an old age that we would love to see them play until they literally can't walk anymore. Manning happens to be one of those once-in-a-generation type of players.

This list isn't just for older players who are still talented enough to play for a long time, it's also for those young athletes who are so talented and athletic and exciting that it would be a shame to ever see them retire from the sport they play.

Although retirement is inevitable, we can all wish the guys on this list played forever, right? Let's take a look at the 20 players, including Manning, that we wish would play forever. Let me know who your favorite player who you wish would never retire is and who I have missed.

Connor Muldowney is a columnist for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @Connormuldowney, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google. You can also reach him at connor.muldowney@rantsports.com.

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20. Blake Griffin

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Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Griffin isn't exactly the best player in the NBA, but his electrifying dunks and alley-oop slams make him an instant highlight reel. Too bad he won't be leaping out of gyms forever.

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19. Jamaal Charles

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Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Prior to the 2013 season, not too many people really had Jamaal Charles on their radar, but he recorded nearly 2,000 yards of total offense and 19 touchdowns. Fantasy owners are praying he can play forever.

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18. Stephen Curry

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Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

Stephen Curry is a budding superstar and he's also in talks of best players in the NBA. The young point guard has taken the NBA by storm with his three-point shooting and MVP-type play. There are a lot of people who could watch him play every day and be content with how the NBA is.

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17. Tony Gonzalez

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Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

Tony Gonzalez is the one guy on this list who has already announced his retirement -- and it still hasn't sunk in with many fans. As one of the best tight ends of all time, Gonzalez will be severely missed and it will be weird watching football without the veteran in 2014.

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16. Alshon Jeffery

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Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

Alshon Jeffery has just broken out in 2013 as one of the best wide outs in football. Jeffery accounted for 1,421 yards and seven touchdowns this season with two games with more than 200 yards receiving. It will be cool to see how many Bears receiving records he will break.

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15. Mike Trout

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Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Finishing as a runner-up for AL MVP for the past couple of seasons has been tough for the best young player in MLB, but Mike Trout has multiple in his future. He has the making of a future Hall of Famer.

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14. Derrick Rose

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Steve Dykes-USA TODAY Sports

It would be a crying shame if Derrick Rose had to retire because of injuries. The guy has been injured since 2011 and it seems like he might not ever be the same player again. However, when he is healthy, he is so fun to watch that the NBA takes notice undoubtedly.

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13. Sidney Crosby

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Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

Sid the Kid is one of the most exciting NHL players of all time and he is one player that can save the league's popularity. With the league struggling to gain recognition, Crosby is one guy that gets a ton of it.

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12. Clayton Kershaw

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Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Kershaw has emerged as one of the top pitchers in baseball -- if not the best -- and it's fun to watch him mow down batters and post a sub-two ERA. Not many players in baseball draw the excitement that he does every time he takes the mound.

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11. Justin Verlander

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Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Verlander is just one step above Kershaw because of his long-term dominance. If Verlander were to retire tomorrow, the Detroit Tigers would lose a future Hall of Fame pitcher as well as the best pitcher in the American League, in my opinion. Let's hope he still has a lot left in the tank.

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10. Lionel Messi

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Presse Sports-USA TODAY Sports

Lionel Messi is undoubtedly the best soccer player in the world, although Cristiano Ronaldo would disagree, and soccer fans love watching Messi dominate fútbol. Yes, Messi is a god in the soccer world.

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9. Floyd Mayweather

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Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

People pay big money to watch Floyd "Money" Mayweather knock the lights out of opponents. What will happen when he retires from being a hardcore butt-kicker? The world will be a much darker place.

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8. Kevin Durant

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Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Kevin Durant could end up being the best player in the NBA in a couple of years. He still has yet to reach the age of 26 and he has the talent to win multiple scoring titles -- and MVPs -- before his career is done. Let's just sick back and hope he plays forever.

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7. Tom Brady

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Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Tom Brady seems to be as clutch as they come in January and February, but he is not very well-liked by opposing fans. However, the NFL will be a dull place without Brady's teammate scolding and Super Bowl winning.

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6. Kobe Bryant

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Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Kobe Bryant has to be the most iconic basketball player of the past decade and that alone is enough to make fans wish he didn't have such a limited time remaining in the league. Bryant's injuries have made fans realize that there is such a short period of time left to cheer for one of the best NBA players of all time -- the Black Mamba.

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5. Calvin Johnson

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Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

As the best wide receiver in recent memory, Calvin Johnson happens to also be the most physically gifted. Towering over cornerbacks and safeties on his way off the line of scrimmage, Johnson is almost like poetry in motion and it could be a long time before we see another physical beast like Megatron.

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4. Adrian Peterson

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Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Another guy that is physically gifted, Adrian Peterson happened to heal from a torn ACL better and faster than any athlete has seemingly ever done so. The year after the major injury and surgery, Peterson proved to be an athletic freak/miracle, rushing for over 2,000 yards and 12 touchdowns.

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3. Miguel Cabrera

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Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Miguel Cabrera has been the most exciting baseball player in MLB. Winning the Triple Crown in 2012 marked the first time a player has done so since the 1960s. He contended for another Triple Crown in 2013, but fell a bit short. Hey, two consecutive MVPs isn't too shabby.

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2. LeBron James

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Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

It's hard to find a physical specimen like James in the NBA. The guy is 6-foot-5 and 250 pounds of solid muscle and he can run the floor like a point guard. He has the ability to become the best NBA player of all time if he continues at the same pace he has been at. Yeah, wish we could watch him play forever.

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1. Peyton Manning

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Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

This one was an easy choice for No. 1. No, not because I put his name in the headline and felt inclined to say he was the one player that fans should never want to retire, but because he seems to be getting better with age. He broke the single season passing yards and single season passing touchdowns record in 2013 and he's 37 years old. Hopefully he doesn't have to face retirement because of his neck, because he is the best athlete this decade.


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