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The BG News
BG24 Newscast
November 30, 2023

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Carter questions quitting football

Great athletes coming out of retirement is nothing new. We have seen it for many years in all four major professional team sports.

The latest to continue this trend is former Minnesota Vikings receiver Cris Carter, who took a job alongside Bob Costas, Dan Marino and Chris Collinsworth on HBO’s Inside the NFL earlier this fall. His seat on the show sits empty now as he was recently coaxed into coming out of retirement to play for the Miami Dolphins, a team that lost leading receiver Oronde Gadsden for the remainder of the season due to injury.

Carter was signed to a one-year contract by the Dolphins and reported to practice about a week before the team’s Monday night game against the Green Bay Packers. He retired from the Vikings as one of few receivers in the history of pro football with 1000 receptions. Unfortunately, his first game back might be the last of his career. A kidney ailment has sidelined Carter indefinitely, possibly for the year.

Despite Carter’s potentially-failed attempt at a comeback to the NFL, many other who have come out of retirement have done so with great success.

Former NFL defensive lineman Reggie White retired from the Green Bay Packers in 1999, then came back and played two more seasons with the Packers and Carolina Panthers.

Hockey legend Mario Lemieux was forced into early retirement due to Hodgkin’s disease, a form of cancer. However, he returned to the game at the midway point of last season. Despite playing hurt that year, he currently leads the NHL in total points.

In addition, of course, is Michael Jordan. He came out of retirement the first time in 1995 and led the Chicago Bulls to another three-peat from 1996 to 1998. He collected three scoring titles and two league MVP’s in the process. After retiring again in 1998, he returned to the NBA as a player for the second time with the Washington Wizards. Though showing signs of aging, Jordan averaged over twenty points a game before a knee injury ended his season in early April. He returns this year as a sixth man looking to guide the Wizards to the NBA playoffs for the first time since they were called the Bullets. Many others have come out of retirement and made significant contributions to their respective teams.

The difference with Carter’s comeback attempt from the attempts of the aforementioned is simple. Cris Carter will not make a significant contribution to the Dolphins due to lack of preparation. Both Jordan and Lemieux are thriving in their sports because they spent much of their short-lived retirements conditioning and practicing. Carter just came back. The only physical preparation he had for his first game was a single week of practice with a quarterback he had never played with.

No one can say for sure why Cris Carter came back. It could be for money, though it seems highly unlikely. Whatever the reason, his attempt at regaining his past glory will fall short (if it already hasn’t). Sometimes, it just better to walk away while you’re still among the best. It seems that some athletes just cannot let go.

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