Earlier in the week Junior Seau called it quits to his twenty year career. The Trojan-Charger-Dolphin-Patriot will absolutely get into the Hall of Fame, though his inability to play for a championship team will likely keep him out of the discussion for "greatest defensive players of all-time," though he would have at best been a second-teamer, anyway.
Kurt Warner has hinted all season that this may be his last. His contract has one more year on it, but I'm not sure Warner has another year in him. He's taken some brutal hits this year, and though the Cardinals will still have a shot to go to, and win the Super Bowl in 2010, it's hard to imagine Warner, who has already made his money, will come back and play. After all, this is a guy who can probably go to whatever network he wants after he retires.
Ed Reed's announcement that he's 50/50 on returning for a ninth season comes as a surprise, and sounds like a poor decision for Reed and the future of his family. Certainly Reed has made his money, and his health should be of the paramount importance to him; Personally, if he retired today, I'd vote him into the Hall of Fame. But the reality is, some people may not. Another two years and he'd guarantee himself a spot in the Hall, and therefore his appearance and autograph fees go through the roof. Having worked in the sports memorabilia business as a job in college, I learned that signing an "HOF" next to your name can drive your signing rates (which are usually healthy to begin with) through the roof. Ultimately, I believe that Reed will return to the Ravens in 2010.
LaDanian Tomlinson poses the most intriguing debate. At age 31 in 2010, Tomlinson will clearly be past his rushing prime, and he's got a lot of miles on him. At his Edge is when Edgerrin James, a very comparable runner, started to slow down. Both Tomlinson and James had superior pass blocking skills, which adds a little bit of a dent into a backs health. Tomlinson had the worst season of his career (for the second year in a row) and once again disappeared in the playoffs. Tomlinson's days with the Chargers are almost definitely over, they need to draft a running back, and I couldn't imagine few teams needing the past-his-prime, over-paid Complainian Tomlinson. Normally the Patriots are the go-to destination for veteran offensive players, but I can't see Belichick doing a favor for a player who once called him classless.
One way or another Brett Favre has to end his career this season. Whether it's hoisting the Lombardi trophy, losing in the conference championship, or watching Peyton Manning hoist the Lombardi trophy has yet to be determined. Either way Favre won't be able to have a 2010 like he has a 2009. His numbers are safe and they have no baring on whether or not people consider him the greatest of all time. If Favre can get ring number two this year, his "greatest of all time" debate can rightfully begin, and he would also definitely retire. Favre was in the league when Elway had his swan song, and Brett would love nothing more than having a similar moment. Either way it's time for this great to retire and embrace that part of his life.
No One Cares
I suppose it's worth mentioning that Edgerrin James will probably officially call it quits sometime this Spring. It's not like he had a choice; Edge was cut by the Seahawks midseason, and the Colts decided to ride out second year running back Mike Hart (and give him James' #32) instead of resigning Edge for a one year, feel good deal. I think it's written in stone that James will retire. Hopefully the Colts do something nice for him.
Will Favre, Reed, James, Tomlinson, and Seau join each other in Canton in 2014? Chances are, no. But they'll all get in eventually.