There have been rumors circulating that Super Bowl Champion and NFL head coach Sean McVay is contemplating retirement.
To the outside world, this seems like a foolish idea.
He is 36 years old and at the top of his profession.
McVay is not the only one.
One of his star players, Aaron Donald, who is only 30 was also rumored to be considering retirement.
Why would young NFL stars consider retirement when presumably at the peak of their careers?
Here are a few reasons why.
3. They Have Money
This is not the NFL of the 1960s where players’ and coaches’ salaries were very low.
The average length of an NFL player’s career is three years.
The average NFL career lasts 3.3 years
— UberFacts (@UberFacts) December 17, 2021
During those three years, a drafted player could earn millions of dollars between the rookie contract and all the performance incentives.
Let's crunch some numbers shall we?
NFL rookie contract minimum base salary:
Average salary of a bachelor degree holder in America- $50,666
It would take almost 47 years of work to get to that minimum plateau.
— B1G Champion Jawn Legend (@iamstefanzonia) April 2, 2019
Coaches also earn millions.
A shorter career means these people can essentially take the money and run into other endeavors.
2. Health Risks Escalate With Longer Careers
Players are more attuned to the physical wear and tear on their bodies from lengthy NFL careers.
CTE was not even defined or recognized when previous generations played the game.
The ignorant souls who say CTE is overblown and perpetrated by people trying to kill football finally need to shut up for good. 3 all-time greats off of the NFL’s only unbeaten team had extensive damage to their frontal lobes and brain stems. Shula’s Dolphins paid ultimate price.
— Mike Wise (@MikeWiseguy) February 13, 2022
Persistent blows to the head, concussions, broken bones, and surgeries take their toll and age players beyond their chronological years.
In addition to the health risks from longer careers, there is also the tremendous physical toll it takes to prepare for a 17 game regular season.
Those who think NFL players have it easy because they only play for a portion of the year have no idea how physically demanding the game is even on players in their early 20s.
Now I know why NFL players retire so young. This football stuff takes a beating on your body.
— B-Comp (@BComp145) April 15, 2018
Stress is another factor that spans well beyond the physical rigors, and it applies to coaches as well as players.
Long hours, lots of travel, and limited time to spend with loved ones during the season make the job of an NFL coach or player much harder.
1. A Short NFL Career Affords Lots Of Other Opportunities
In generations past, NFL players struggled to earn a salary while playing the game.
When they left the game, they often did not have a wealth of opportunities awaiting them.
Now there are many sports channels, websites, podcasts, and other media opportunities if they choose to go that route.
There are also countless other opportunities in acting, entertainment, and elsewhere.
The fact that the players and coaches come into retirement financially sound also enables them to forge their own paths in real estate, business, or other ventures.
— ALLTHINGSNICCI (@niccigilbert) November 18, 2014
For players like Tom Brady who thrive when playing the game, they will not walk away early.
They will wait until they are physically or mentally depleted from the preparation and rigors of the game to retire.
It is important to realize that many of these players have been playing football since elementary school so some burn out from the game quicker than others, but regardless their football lives have been long even if their NFL careers seem short.