Pam Oliver did a really interesting feature for Fox Sports on NFL players who voluntarily retired, in some cases with decent-sized guaranteed contracts. For it, she spoke to John Moffitt, Jake Ballard, and Phil Costa. Rashard Mendenhall and Sidney Rice also retired in their 20’s, but were not interviewed in the piece. These were some of the notable takeaways:
- Phil Costa retired this past offseason and is already 50 pounds below is playing weight.
- Costa left $2.7 million on the table (he had signed with the Colts right before retiring); Moffitt had $1 million left on his deal.
- John Elway seemed to understand Moffitt’s plight, which is admirable considering he left the Broncos in the middle of the season and they did not have much offensive line depth.
- NFLPA Director DeMaurice Smith, who was interviewed in the piece, is fully supportive of the idea of early retirement. He called it “empowering.”
- After the segment, Oliver says that Moffitt struggled a lot with his drinking, but sought help and got himself together.
As the pronounced health risks of football become more ingrained in players’ minds, early retirement is a phenomenon we might very well see more and more of in the coming years.