As another season of the NFL comes to a close in the upcoming weeks, a question is on the forefront of many sports fans minds: “Who all will we be seeing in the next season?” Over the long history of football at this level, we have all seen many a beloved player come and go, and unfortunately we seem to be reaching another period in which we will be losing some of the most prolific names in the sport to retirement, but some may be sticking around for a little longer. Despite the rumors, we may have a few moments left watching our favorite athletes compete in football at the highest level.
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger, despite rumors of retirement, says that he plans to play another season in 2021. Roethlisberger has one more year left upon his contract, and he intends to honor that last agreed upon season. But even moreso, he claims that he is still having fun and enjoying himself, and he isn’t quite ready to hang up his jersey. While this season has had a toll on his body physically, Ben Roethlisberger likes playing with his Steelers team too much to quit just yet. At this time, it seems we can count him in for one more final round at least.
For one of Roethlisberger’s rival players, retirement is slightly more of a certainty. According to Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer, his last game in the 2021 Playoffs is indeed Drew Brees’ last game in the league. The quarterback of the New Orleans Saints did not confirm personally that this is in fact true, but has said that he will be taking some time to think about things, and while Brees is taking the time to consider, the team itself has stated that they will be preparing the best as they can for their prolific quarterback’s retirement. Although nothing is confirmed yet, all that fans of the Saints can do is hope that Brees will consider another season and prepare for the possibility that he will be moving on to new endeavors.
These two players are not the only ones that the word “retirement” has been floating around in the NFL, however. After a career spanning 17 years, Philip Rivers has officially announced that he is officially tossing in the towel and passing the baton onto the future players of the Indianapolis Colts. The Green Bay Packer Aaron Rodgers’ contract places him to play till at least 2024 at the age of 39. While Rodger’s doesn’t seem to express immediate retirement plans, he states a desire to help youngsters coming into the sport after his time has passed. However, he was caught off guard when the Packers picked Utah State quarterback Jordan Love in the draft, as it may cause issues for Rodgers in terms of retiring with the same team that he has spent his career with up to this point. In early 2020 there were speculations on both sides about whether long-time Patriots quarterback Tom Brady would pack it up and head home, but he claims that he hopes to avoid going through such a tough decision until after he is 45. And though he has moved on from his Patriot days, his first season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers hasn’t been without successes.
It is undeniable that some of the biggest names in the NFL to date are reaching the inevitable point where they must move on from competing in the sport they love at the professional level. Though this is a sad realization for many football fans, there are positive notes to hang onto. Most of these players that thousands of fans have followed and enjoyed watching for years seem to have a few more seasons left in them. And even when these players are finally resolved to pass the baton onto the next generation of athletes, the fact of the matter is that there will then of course be those new athletes that we will have the opportunity to watch as they use their talents at one of the greatest games of all time. We will once again be rewarded by both seeing this new breed of player and hopefully having the chance to see what great things the players we once watched and love do with this new upcoming season of their life outside the stadium.