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“Retirement” becoming the new strategy for avoiding suspensions


Retirement has become the latest trend for troubled NFL players who face the wrath of Commissioner Roger Goodell.

The latest player to exercise the NFL equivalent of quitting in lieu of being fired is Cowboys defensive lineman Josh Brent.  As pointed out earlier in the afternoon by Gantt, Brent will call it a career in lieu of having the league office sideline him for a year, or longer.

“This is the right decision for me, and something that I have given a lot of thought to,” Brent said in a statement provided to PFT.  “I am at a point where my main focus is all about getting the priorities in my life in order.  Those priorities are more important than football.  Doing the right things in life are more important than football.  I love the game very much.  I love my teammates, but this is the right thing for me to do.”

It’s the right thing to do, because it’s the smart thing to do.  Goodell never would have let Brent play this year, especially with charges of intoxication manslaughter pending.  And if/when Brent pleaded guilty to or was convicted of the charge, Brent would have been suspended for at least a full year.

So Brent, who finds himself in a situation over which he has no control, exercised the only sliver of it that he has, choosing to end his career (at least for now) in order to prevent someone else from ending it for him.

Ravens linebacker Rolando McClain opted for that path earlier this year following his latest off-field incident, and the Patriots gave defensive lineman Kyle Love the chance to do the same, after he was diagnosed with diabetes.  Before the Patriots abruptly cut tight end Aaron Hernandez, some wondered whether he would also “retire” while dealing with his legal situation.

Depending on the outcome of the looming trial (and the extent of any prison sentence), Brent can unretire at some point in the future, presumably with the quiet, back-room blessing of the league.  And the Cowboys at that point will still hold his rights.

As the NFL and those who follow it come to grips with the reality that the arrest rate never will fall to zero, the retirement rate for guys who otherwise wouldn’t be retiring will continue to go up.

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25 Responses to ““Retirement” becoming the new strategy for avoiding suspensions”
  1. thestrategyexpert says: Jul 18, 2013 3:32 PM

    I’m still perplexed why he’s retiring today? Why not last week or last month? If this is the right decision, then my question is what took so long?

  2. ccjcsr says: Jul 18, 2013 3:34 PM

    No need to focus on Football, get your life together!


  3. vibesid says: Jul 18, 2013 3:34 PM

    Smart move, even if they don’t get a retirement party.

  4. Rick Spielman is a Magician says: Jul 18, 2013 3:35 PM

    I don’t see what he gains by retiring. If he comes back, Goodell can still suspend him.

  5. fdugrad says: Jul 18, 2013 3:40 PM

    “Doing the right things in life are more important than football,” Brent said, as he paused momentarily from sucking on his bong. He then offered to drive this reporter to the strip club located in downtown Vegas.

  6. cdwains says: Jul 18, 2013 3:42 PM

    How are they avoiding suspension, won’t they still be subject to suspension when and if they decide to un-retire?

  7. grantgoodman93 says: Jul 18, 2013 3:43 PM

    Good lord. The man is sad. He is responsible for the death of a good friend and is clearly having trouble coping with it. The Cowboys kept him on the roster because they are and have been his support system through this. Brown’s mother forgave him…is that not enough? Must we continue to crucify someone who is going through a terrible time? Yes, it is his fault. I don’t remember Stallworth or others being hammered like this. Let the man live and don’t bag the organization for being a pillar in his currently discombobulated life.

  8. jetslakersfan says: Jul 18, 2013 3:44 PM

    This is sad that a man is retiring trying to get his life together. He can still be suspended if he comes back so the media need to stop writing there opinion on somethings.

  9. thestrategyexpert says: Jul 18, 2013 3:47 PM


    But this is supposed to be a professional football franchise, not a rehab facility. Make up your mind what business you want to be in.

  10. rcali says: Jul 18, 2013 3:53 PM

    Great, another unemployable ex NFL player soon to be living on the rest of us.

  11. skum01 says: Jul 18, 2013 3:57 PM

    Don’t forget Ray “Deer Antler” Lewis on that list.

  12. ccjcsr says: Jul 18, 2013 4:03 PM

    Rick Spielman is a Magician says:
    Jul 18, 2013 3:35 PM

    I don’t see what he gains by retiring. If he comes back, Goodell can still suspend him.

    Possibly NFL Pension is the reason, time served etc. I’m not a Financial Advisor but I did stay at a Holiday Inn.

  13. garyhd01 says: Jul 18, 2013 4:10 PM

    the answer to the why retire now is simple due to the fact that the cowboys retain the rights to him he needs to do whats right if he ever is able to come back. from what I hear the cowboys don’t suffer the cap hit because he retired, he scratches the cowboys back maybe they will later scratch his we shall see

  14. whatnojets says: Jul 18, 2013 4:20 PM

    Retirement= time served

  15. nicopenelope says: Jul 18, 2013 5:06 PM

    I think that trend started with Favre. No way he retires if not for the texting incident.

  16. nananatman says: Jul 18, 2013 5:07 PM

    Unless they make it you can’t return from retirement when one does it to avoid penalty.

  17. mattgalpin says: Jul 18, 2013 6:10 PM

    Whatever happened to keeping your nose clean? Just stay out of trouble.

  18. delshofner says: Jul 18, 2013 6:21 PM

    This article makes no sense. If he wants to play ASAP, get the legal ruling as soon as possible. Then the NFL suspension will be immediate, and the league suspension will be concurrent with the practical unavailability to play.

    This way, he’s serving a self-imposed suspension until he “un-retires” and then the NFL suspension starts.

    More likely the real reason is he doesn’t want his court case prejudiced by an NFL suspension. Maybe that is at least a smart reason.

  19. g2-565cfd5c11a869191e3803cf365dd100 says: Jul 18, 2013 6:30 PM

    Worked for Jordan

  20. charger383 says: Jul 18, 2013 6:43 PM

    I would like to see Goodell retire

  21. nou04 says: Jul 18, 2013 8:55 PM

    For some inexplicable reason, Dallas wouldn’t cut him, so I am glad he decided to retire. I was ok with Dallas standing by him after the incident, but when he failed, not one, but two drug tests, he needed to be cut. He obviously does not get it and should have been cut.

    I do hope he gets the important things in life in order, but at last, good riddance.

  22. darkglobe1 says: Jul 18, 2013 9:05 PM

    I can only assume that by “retiring” he isn’t subject to league drug testing.

  23. moss49thteam says: Jul 18, 2013 11:51 PM

    If “retirement” is now the new latest and greatest strategy for players to take to avoid punishment and still get a retirement …..

    That makes players like Andre “Bad Moon” Rison and former Jaguars Jimmy Smith trend setters.

    To think this is new means that you have not really been paying attention.

  24. joetoronto says: Jul 19, 2013 3:59 AM

    charger383 says:
    Jul 18, 2013 6:43 PM
    I would like to see Goodell retire
    Ya, the players don’t need Goodell’s heavy hand, they can handle themselves just fine.

    My God man, SMH.

  25. laffers says: Sep 2, 2016 11:48 AM

    While in theory it sounds like a good plan but what is to stop the league from punishing him for another year after he un-retires?

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