After Luke Kuechley's retirement, it's time to ask, is it worth it?
"I still wanna play, but I don't think it's the right decision."
Holy shit, talking about heartbreaking. Regardless of what team you're a fan of, you loved to watch Luke Kuechly play, as long as it wasn't against your team. For my money, Kuechly is the best linebacker of the 2010s, and more than deserves a place in Canton. In his 8-years as a Panther he was a 7x All-Pro, 3x Butkus Award Winner at the Pro Level, 2012 Defensive Rookie of the Year, 2x Tackler leader and the 2013 Defensive Player of the Year. Not too shabby.
Even more impressive in my opinion is that Pro Football Focus rated him as the best coverage defender in the NFL in 2015 as a fucking middle linebacker, not sure what you think, but if you were to tell this guy he'd get that honor within the next decade, I'm almost positive that he wouldn't believe you.
A career cut short by concussions and it's a God damn shame. As someone who had to retire from high school football after my freshman year because I was diagnosed with my fourth confirmed concussion in three years and not because I was incredibly undersized, I'm here for you, Luke.
This doesn't end with Kuechly- Patrick Willis, Calvin Johnson, Gronk and Andrew Luck have all retired far too early. Some of them retired because they've lost the flame and didn't want to play in Detroit anymore (Matt Stafford, you're next). As for the others, they were concerned about their bodies, selling teeth whitening products and becoming an architect. It's apparent that superstars are less concerned with their longevity in the league and more concerned about marketing themselves as people (yeah fuck that) and their long-term health (fair). If you kids have been paying attention to this, it's clearly not a smart business decision to be an otherworldly athlete and at the top of your respected sport because spoiler alert: it doesn't last! The only obvious solution?
There's no reason to shoot for the stars when you can shoot for playing three years in the league and automatically qualify for a pension. I understand the argument for kickers, punters and long snappers, but that's too much pressure if you ask me.
Bear fans legitimately hate Cody Parkey more than whoever is voted ino the mayors office, all because he double doinked.
But the backup quarterback? You're often times one oft he favorite players on the team. If your starter starts to look shaky, you know the fanbase is murmuring that maybe the back up fits the offense just a bit better. A backup quarterback needs ONE good showing and they take the risk of being overexposed and hated by a fanbase:
Matt Flynn, oh boy, where do we even begin. Drafted out of LSU to be Aaron Rodgers' backup in 2008, Flynn made his second career start against the Lions in the 2011-2012 regular season finale, leading the Packers to a 45-41 win, Not only did he lead them to victory, he threw for 480 yards and 6 touchdowns, BOTH setting single-game Packer records. A franchise that includes Bart Starr, Brett Farve and Aaron Rodgers has its single-game passing records set by a backup. This then led to the Seahawks signing Flynn to a 3-year $20.5 million deal, and he then lost the preseason quarterback battle to a 3rd-round rookie out of Wisconsin, who you might know as Russell Wilson. Flynn was then traded to the Raiders in the offseason to presumably be the stop-gap starter at QB for the Men in Black, but lost it to the 2011 supplemental draft pick Terrell Pryor and was cut less than 6 months later.
One game is all it took for Flynn to stick around the league for seven years, win a Super Bowl and make over $20 million, and all it took was SEVEN career starts. An absolute king.
One outrageous game isn't the only way to go about it either, look at Chase Daniel
For the majority of his career, Daniel has floated around the Andy Reid coaching tree for nearly the entirety of his career, he's really not that talented, but he's become so familiar with the scheme that he's virtually guaranteed a job for as long as he wants because he's almost like another coach. He's not even a serviceable starter, yet Bear fans were clamoring for him at point this year because of his familiarity with the offense in comparison to Mitch Trubisky.
After coming into the NFL as an undrafted free agent in 2009, Daniel has made FIVE (5) career starts, a career record of 2-3, and has earned close to $25 million for sitting on the sideline, holding a clipboard and wearing a baseball hat. Unreal what learning a playbook can do for you.
Or you can just be like Josh McCown and play for so long that the entire league loves you even though you're not an NFL caliber quarterback.
He came into the league in 2002, took a quick trip to the USFL in 2010, came back to the NFL in 2011, retired in 2018 and came back this year for the Eagles and made his first appearance in the playoffs IN HIS ENTIRE CAREER this year. Oh yeah, he played with a torn hamstring, at least someone's not a pussy- looking at you Carson Wentz. As a starter, McCown has a record of 23-53, which is gross, but guess what? $50 million sure as fuck isn't! He'll most likely retire this offseason and head back to Meyers Park High School in Charlotte where he was the QB coach this year- coaching on Friday nights and flying to be with the Eagles either Friday night or Saturday morning. The Eagles were so confident in his ability to be the backup that he didn't have to even show up to work. People often struggle to describe what the American Dream is, but in my opinion, Josh McCown and back up quarterbacks everywhere are it.
-The Inn Keeper