After veteran cornerback Antoine Winfield was cut by the Seahawks, he quickly announced a plan to retire.
That plan has not yet been formalized.
According to Sean Jensen of the St. Paul Pioneer Press, Winfield’s agent said the player hasn’t filed retirement papers.
As we learned (over and over again) with quarterback Brett Favre, there’s no magic to the filing of retirement papers. If a player is done, he’s done — with or without filing retirement papers.
And if the player files the papers, he can always un-file them and return to action.
Winfield’s agent, Ashanti Webb, also told Jensen that Webb has heard nothing from the Vikings about a possible return.
If Winfield plays, the Seahawks will get a dollar-for-dollar credit for the first $500,000 he earns, since he had $500,000 in guaranteed base salary. Winfield also received a $500,000 signing bonus, which he’ll keep because he was cut.
Another question for Winfield arises not from filing retirement papers but from behaving as if he’s truly retired. All retired players (i.e., players not employed by a team and not seeking employment) at the time Judge Anita Brody gives preliminary approval to the concussion settlement will be eligible for compensation if he has or develops a severe cognitive impairment.
Assuming Winfield is healthy, retiring now becomes insurance against the development of dementia, Alzheimer’s, or ALS. While filing retirement papers isn’t required to prove that a player is retired, it wouldn’t hurt.