JERSEY CITY, N.J.- On Sunday, Peyton Manning put to bed any speculation that he might hang ‘em up at age 37 (he turns 38 in March), saying that he feels good and wants to hopefully defend his second world title in 2014.
But that doesn’t mean a high-profile Denver Bronco won’t retire after the season.
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, the Broncos’ most important cornerback (and arguably most important defender) this season and all of 27 years old, said earlier in this year that he’d consider retiring if the Broncos win the Super Bowl. He echoed that sentiment on Monday, saying he’d be seriously consider retirement if the Broncos do indeed win Super Bowl XLVIII on Sunday.
On the surface, you’d think Rodgers-Cromartie’s been smoking too much of Colorado’s recently legalized plant. D.R.C. is playing at an elite level and should’ve made the Pro Bowl this year. He’s earned a major pay raise from the one-year, $5 million deal that he signed in March. He could ensure that generations of future Rodgers-Cromarties can ride around in Bentleys and buy multi-colored sunglasses.
But even with all that money and potential added fame in mind, the more you think about it, the more it seems to make sense. If you’re a multi-millionaire (Rodgers-Cromartie has made more than enough money to last him a lifetime) who’s achieved all of your personal and professional goals (a Super Bowl ring and a Pro Bowl would be in his hands if the Broncos win Sunday), then what’s there to play for? Another title? More Pro Bowls?
As we’ve found out, those extra years and extra money in the NFL could come at the risk of your ability to think and/or move down the road. How often in life are 27-year-olds offered the opportunity to enjoy their final 50-60 years in financial peace, assured they don’t need to earn another cent and live in harmony? Personally, I’d go crazy if I "retired" at 27, but who am I to judge if someone else decides that living on a beach is their thing?
D.R.C. wants to play with his kids when he gets older. He wants to remember (potentially) hoisting the Vince Lombardi trophy on Sunday. He doesn’t want to forget high-stepping down the sideline after a pick-six earlier this season. Rodgers-Cromartie clearly doesn’t love the media angle of being an NFL player – he’s admittedly shy – and being famous doesn’t appear to be something that comes naturally to him. In other words, it kind of makes sense.
I asked D.R.C. if the idea to sign just a one-year deal was indeed his idea. He said it was. I wouldn’t put my full stock into that, but it’s certainly interesting – and perhaps the very beginning of a trend. Maybe, with all of this new information and older players serving as living (and, unfortunately, dying) examples of what playing football can do to one’s mind and body, players will choose to leave the sport that got them rich and famous quicker than ever.
And you can’t blame them one bit.