Luke Kuechly

These 6 Professional Athletes Retired Much Earlier Than Expected

Currently, the average age of retirement is 61 years old. This means, a person typically works around 40 hours a week for well over 30 years before resigning from their post. In the sports world, however, professional athletes usually wind down and retire around the age of 33.

With that being said, many athletes, who are still in their prime, retire much earlier than expected. Whether it’s due to mental burnout or ongoing injuries, some of the most high-profile athletes call it quits after just a short period of time.

Here’s a list of six professional athletes who had simply had enough.

Andrew Luck (Indianapolis Colts)

Selected first overall by the Indianapolis Colts in the 2012 NFL Draft, Stanford University’s Andrew Luck was primed to be the Colts’ next franchise quarterback.

Unfortunately, a less than stellar offense and nagging injuries kept him from showing off his talent on a consistent basis. After playing just 38 games from 2015-2018, Luck retired in August 2019 at the age of 29 after just seven NFL seasons.

Brandon Roy (Portland Trail Blazers)

After playing four years at the University of Washington, Brandon Roy was selected sixth overall by the Portland Trail Blazers in the 2006 NBA Draft. Not only was Roy one of the best guards, he was a rising talent within a league that needed new superstars.

However, Roy suffered from a degenerative knee condition that lingered throughout his professional career. He initially retired in 2011 at the age of 29.

While he did return one year later as a member of the Minnesota Timberwolves, he only played in five games before injuring his knee again. The team waived Roy and he never suited up again. His NBA career lasted just five years, excluding his time in Minnesota.

Bjorn Borg (ATP Singles Player)

Equipped with hair, a headband, and mid-thigh shorts, ATP singles heartthrob Bjorn Borg decided to call it quits in 1984 after 12 years on the tour. The tennis rockstar was done taking center stage.

At just 26 years old, Borg had captured 11 Grand Slam titles. Despite his early success, he was simply mentally exhausted. He had nothing left to give to the sport. He did try to come back in 1991, but found little success on the court. Borg called it quits once and for all two years later.

Bo Jackson (Kansas City Royals, Oakland Raiders)

Arguably one of the greatest professional athletes of all time, Bo Jackson excelled at two sports simultaneously. At the conclusion of an MLB season, he would suit up to play football, dominating the competition on both fields.

After just four NFL seasons, Jackson suffered a career-ending hip injury in 1990. Although he returned two years later to play baseball, Jackson wasn’t the same player. He retired for good in 1994 at the age of 31. His MLB career lasted just eight years.

Calvin Johnson (Detroit Lions)

Calvin “Megatron” Johnson was without a shadow of a doubt the best wide receiver in the NFL for multiple years. This is why football fans across the country were floored when he announced his retirement following the 2015 season in which he collected 1,200 receiving yards and nine touchdowns.

Johnson would later admit he called it quits because the Detroit Lions had no chance to win a Super Bowl and the organization wouldn’t trade him to another team.

“For the work I was putting in, it wasn’t worth my time to keep on beating my head against the wall and not going anywhere,” Johnson said.

Luke Kuechly (Carolina Panthers)

Another retirement announcement that shocked the football world was Carolina Panthers middle linebacker Luke Kuechly. The seven-time Pro Bowl member and five-time First Team All-Pro battled injuries throughout his eight-year career, including several serious concussions.

On January 14, 2020, Kuechly released an emotional video announcing his early retirement at just 28 years old.

“It’s never the right time to step away, but now is the right time for me. It’s a tough decision. I’ve thought about it a lot,” Kuechly confessed in the video.

“There’s only one way to play this game since I was a little kid — play fast, play physical, play strong  And at this point, I don’t know if I am able to do that anymore.”

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