Adrian Peterson is one of the all-time NFL greats, but the time has come for him to move on and get into the next phase of his life.
At some point in every athletes career, they are going to have to hang up their cleats, skates or gloves for good and move onto the next phase of life. It can be a tough pill to swallow for some, but is ultimately inevitable. The part that is unsure for a lot of them is knowing when that time has arrived.
For most of us, the decision is easy. The sad fact is that we weren’t good enough athletes to have had to make that decision. Usually, the end of high school signals that moment. Sure, we had a couple of shining moments, and a few games that made us feel larger than life. But that feeling usually didn’t last much longer than the can of Coke or Mountain Dew at the end of the game.
For the gifted few, some become professionals and go out on top. Some, like Barry Sanders and Calvin Johnson, shock us all and go out while seemingly still in their prime (coincidence that they both played for the Lions?). Then you have the ageless wonders, like Gordie Howe and Bernard Hopkins. Both defied time and logic, with Howe fending off retirement until 52, and Hopkins defending his IBF Light Heavyweight title at the ripe age of 49.
All this brings us to Adrian Peterson. Assuming there are even teams interested in retaining the 33-year-old running back, what else does he have left to accomplish, short of winning a Super Bowl? He’s rushed for over 2,000 yards in a season, played 12 NFL campaign, holds the single-game rushing record, and is a future Hall of Famer.
His aggressive running style has no doubt taken its toll on him in his older age. In the past six seasons, he’s only been able to participate in 16 games once. Over that span, he has missed 51 games (with 15 due to suspension).
Surely, winning the Super Bowl would be the icing on the cake for his career. But only a handful of teams that have a realistic chance at making that happen.
In other words, unless the perfect scenario presents itself, maybe it’s time to call it a career. He has achieved so much already. There is no shame in calling it a career while you still have the ability to walk.