When is it time for a NFL player to hang it up and call it quits? More times than not, a player has little say in determining that. Many are cut long before they believe they're ready to retire or injuries force them out of the game they love and that has paid them very handsomely.
So it came as some surprise Thursday when a pair of former Vikings – 39-year-old Jeff George and 46-year old Morten Andersen – both said they are eyeing a return to the NFL.
George was a Thursday guest on NFL Network and said that he continues to work out, throw the ball every week and keep his body in condition for what he hopes will be a call back to the NFL. George, who turns 40 in December, caused a stir when he asked his hometown team (the Colts) not to make him the first pick in the 1990 NFL draft. They did and the result was nothing short of awful. He was eventually traded to the Falcons, which started a nomad existence for George that included stops with the Falcons, Raiders, Vikings, Redskins, Seahawks and Bears. He was last seen in an NFL uniform last August when he signed again with the Raiders. However, he was released just five days later and has been looking for another chance in the NFL since that time – waiting on a phone call that hasn't come.
Andersen, who turns 47 in August, is on a similar career path. After spending 13 seasons with the Saints (1982-94), Andersen played six years with the Falcons (1995-2000), 2001 with the Giants, 2002-03 with the Chiefs, 2004 with the Vikings and, after sitting out the 2005 season, played 14 games last year with the Falcons.
He, too, is currently unemployed and looking for work and, like George, is waiting for the call to make a return.
Is there a place for guys in the NFL that were around before free agency began or, in the case of Andersen, was playing NFL football during the second year of the Reagan Administration before about 30 percent of NFL players were even born? The odds don't look good, but if they don't, it won't be the result of lack of trying.
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