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Michael Phelps and 10 Athletes Who Should Have Stayed Retired

Michael Phelps and 10 Athletes Who Should Have Stayed Retired

Michael Phelps Comeback
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Michael Phelps announced this week that he is coming out of retirement, just as Ryan Lochte predicted. Had he stayed retired, he would have had an unblemished resume as the most decorated Olympian in history with 22 total medals. Money, fame, and the desire to compete has led many athletes to end their careers on a low note. Phelps could be the next to end his run with a whimper. Here are 10 more athletes who definitely pushed their luck too far.

10. Mark Spitz

Mark Spitz Olympics
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10. Mark Spitz

Mark Spitz Olympics
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Spitz compiled nine Olympic gold medals despite retiring at the age of 22. A comeback at a younger age may have made more sense, but Spitz tried to compete again at 41, and failed to qualify for the 1992 Summer Games in Barcelona.

9. Reggie White

Reggie White
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9. Reggie White

Reggie White
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Reggie White was the greatest pass rusher in professional football history. He had a brilliant career that ended brilliantly in 1998, and probably didn't need the forgettable comeback in 2000 with the Carolina Panthers. It was a decent year to most people's standards, but not his. White finished the season with a career-low 5.5 sacks, and the Panthers went 7-9.

8. Bob Cousy

Bob Cousy Comeback
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8. Bob Cousy

Bob Cousy Comeback
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After an incredible career that featured 13 All-Star appearances and 10 First-Team All-NBA Selections, Cousy made an embarrassing comeback at the age of 41 with the Cincinnati Royals. Over seven games, he racked up a total of five points in 34 minutes. At least he made no secret about the fact that he did it all for the money.

7. Brett Favre

Brett Favre Retirement
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7. Brett Favre

Brett Favre
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Favre's highly publicized retirement and comeback plans from 2007-10 (along with a sex scandal) marred his amazing career. He did have a great run to the NFC Championship Game with the Minnesota Vikings in 2009, but what fans remember most of his career after Green Bay was the annoying overcoverage of his situation. The media is partially to blame for this, but Favre certainly wasn't hiding from the cameras.

6. Sugar Ray Leonard

Sugar Ray Leonard Retirement
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6. Sugar Ray Leonard

Sugar Ray Leonard Retirement
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Before Favre was annoying people with his indecisiveness, there was Sugar Ray Leonard. His four comeback attempts featured controversial victories, boring bouts, and ended with losses in his final two fights. It definitely tainted his legacy.

5. Bjorn Borg

Bjorn Borg Comeback
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5. Bjorn Borg

Bjorn Borg Comeback
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After 10 years away from the sport, Borg added a humiliating comeback attempt to one of the greatest tennis careers of all time. For some strange reason, he used a wooden racket and failed to win a single match.

4. Ben Johnson

Ben Johnson Track
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4. Ben Johnson

Ben Johnson Track
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Johnson won two Olympic bronze medals and a gold medal before having them rescinded for doping. After serving his suspension, he attempted a comeback and was caught doping once again.

3. Roger Clemens

Roger Clemens Retirement
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3. Roger Clemens

Roger Clemens Retirement
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Clemens' initial comeback from retirement was successful, and his second comeback with the Sugarland Skeeters (at the age of 50) wasn't even taken seriously by him. The reason why Clemens should have stayed retired was that the majority of baseball fans just want him to go away. He knows we know he's lying about steroid use, and he still won't admit it. When a liar won't stop lying, it's hard not to hate their face.

2. Lance Armstrong

Lance Armstrong Oprah Winfrey
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2. Lance Armstrong

Lance Armstrong Oprah Winfrey
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If there is one person's face people hate more than Clemens', it's Lance Armstrong's. He is a liar, cheater, bully, and just an overall disgusting human being. Not only should he have never come back to cycling in 2009, the sport would have been better off if he never began his career.

1. Muhammad Ali

Muhammad Ali Comeback
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1. Muhammad Ali

Muhammad Ali Retirement
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Ali had three of his five career losses after retiring, but the reasons he should have stayed retired are more serious than that. Though there is no conclusive proof, continuing his boxing career could have had a major impact, and maybe even caused the Parkinson's disease he was diagnosed with in 1984.