10 NFL Veterans Who Should Retire Already

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10 NFL Veterans Who Should Retire Already

Jim Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

It’s never pleasant when the superstars of yesteryear hang on to their past glory for just a little too long. But, some NFL players just don't know when to give up and call it a career.

Their age and diminishing skills often relegate these once-proud athletes to limited playing time and dreaded clipboard duty. It's not rare to see these former superstars in warmups cracking jokes on the sidelines.

Although it's nice to cash a paycheck, these men will soon learn that football is an unforgiving place to kill time until retirement age.

Just ask Jerry Rice. The greatest wide receiver of all-time caught a mere 30 passes in his final season spent with the Seattle Seahawks and Oakland Raiders.

Joe Montana on the Kansas City Chiefs? That just isn't right.

It's best when we see legends of the game go out on top as Ray Lewis did after winning his second Super Bowl last season. It also helps if there's a job at ESPN waiting.

Players should follow the path of recent retirees Brian Urlacher and Ronde Barber, who left the game with their reputation and health still intact.

We'd all like to remember our heroes at the height of their powers, but for better or worse, players like Randy Moss continue to fill rosters spots around the league.

Here’s a list of 10 NFL veterans that need hang up their spikes before things turn ugly.

Jon Krouner is the New York Giants writer for Follow him on Twitter @jkrouner ”Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google+

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Terrell Owens

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Owens hasn’t caught a pass in the NFL since his one-year stint with the Cincinnati Bengals in 2010, but that hasn’t stopped the 39-year-old from attempting another comeback. After an unfortunate dalliance in arena football, the Seattle Seahawks afforded Owens a tryout last summer before cutting him close to the end of training camp.

Teams might be more inclined to take a shot with Owens if not for his checkered past and infamous off-the-field antics. Owens might get a tryout from a desperate team, but his reputation would be best served by going quietly into the night.

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Randy Moss

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Moss is the greatest deep threat of all-time, but the game has simply past him by. After a one-year retirement, Moss caught just 28 passes for the San Francisco 49ers last season. In 2007, Moss caught 23 touchdown passes from Tom Brady. The 15-year-pro is just 18 catches away from 1,000 in his career but might not have enough left in the tank to get there in 2013.

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Ed Reed

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Sure, Reed just won a Super Bowl with the Baltimore Ravens, but he should’ve followed his buddy Ray Lewis out the door. After 11 seasons with the Ravens, Reed signed with the Houston Texans this past offseason. Despite playing in all 20 of Baltimore’s games last season, Reed is a shell of the playmaker he once was as evidenced by the Ravens' willingness to part ways with him.

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Plaxico Burress

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After leaving prison in 2011, Burress staged a comeback as a red zone threat for the New York Jets. Burress hauled in eight touchdowns on just 45 receptions, but the offensively-challenged Jets decided to move on without Burress in 2012. The 34-year-old managed to latch on with the Pittsburgh Steelers but caught just three passes in four games. He remains on the Steelers roster but is buried deep on the depth chart.

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Champ Bailey

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The 34-year-old Bailey is hardly the lock down corner he used to be. In the Denver Broncos' Divisional Round loss to the Ravens, Bailey allowed two deep touchdowns to wide receiver Torrey Smith, proving that he’s no longer reliable in man-on-man situations. Bailey is due to make $9.5 million this season, and that money is simply too good pass up. But, there’s no denying the the three-time All-Pro just isn’t the same player.

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Willis McGahee

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After drafting Montee Ball, the Denver Broncos released the 31-year-old McGahee, who was due to make $2.5 million this season. Running backs tend not to age well and there isn’t a less-valued commodity in today’s NFL than an aging running back. McGahee could still have value for a team this season, but his 11-year career is quickly coming to a close.

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Charles Woodson

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Sorry Charlie, but it’s about time you hung up the spikes. This season, the former Heisman Trophy winner is going back to the Oakland Raiders, the team that drafted him in 1998. His former team, the Green Bay Packers, didn’t even bother to offer him a contract. The 36-year-old had just one interception last season after seven picks in 2011 and managed to play in just seven games due to injury.

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Austin Collie

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The former Indianapolis Colts wide receiver is just 27-years-old but has a troubling history of concussions that has marred his once-promising career. Add to that the fact that Collie caught just one pass last season before suffering a torn right patellar tendon. Collie recently worked out for the 49ers, according to USA Today, but he should just call it quits before he causes long-term damage to his health.

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Brad Meester

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Last season marked an exodus of great centers into retirement as Jeff Saturday, Todd McClure and Matt Birk all called it quits. Unfortunately, the 36-year-old Meester didn’t follow suit. After suffering through the worst season in Jacksonville Jaguars’ history, the 14-year-pro decided he had one season left in the tank. But, the Jaguars offensive line allowed 50 sacks last season, third-worst in the NFL, and Blaine Gabbert is penciled in as the starting quarterback. Meester is going to wish he retired by October.

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Keith Brooking

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Brooking is just one of those guys that doesn’t know when it’s time to move on. Currently an unsigned free agent, the 37-year-old linebacker recorded 54 tackles in backup duty with the Broncos last season. Brooking has had a great career, including nine straight seasons of at least 100 tackles, but he’s no longer fast enough to man the middle of the field.