The NFL is arguably the most brutal league in professional sports. That has taken its toll on some of the league's star players, as we've seemingly seen top-tier players retire much earlier than ever before.
For every Tom Brady or Drew Brees, who have seemingly been around forever, there's a player like Luke Kuechly, Patrick Willis or Calvin Johnson who retired when it looked like they still had plenty left in the tank.
Kuechly retired earlier this offseason, and here are three players that should think about following in his footsteps.
3. Jordan Reed, TE, Unrestricted Free Agent
Few tight ends have as much raw talent as Jordan Reed. During his best NFL year, Reed racked up 87 receptions for 952 receiving yards and 11 scores. Unfortunately, Reed's career has been marred by injuries, as he's never played a full 16-game season. To make matters worse, many of Reed's injuries have been concussions, and that's nothing to take lightly. While NFL fans would surely love to see a fully-healthy Reed on the field, he needs to put his health first after clearing concussion protocol and being released by the Washington Redskins on Thursday, Feb. 20.
2. Frank Gore, RB, Unrestricted Free Agent
Having played 15 years in the league, it's not a stretch to call Frank Gore one of the most productive running backs in NFL history. In fact, he's the NFL's all-time third leading rusher, with a cumulative 15,347 yards to his name. Still, running back is one of the league's most brutal positions to play, as it often leads to some dangerous, high-speed collisions. Regardless of when Gore walks away, he should go down as one of the best to ever play the position. He has nothing left to prove to fans, though, and now might be the time to put an end to his illustrious career.
1. Jason Witten, TE, Unrestricted Free Agent
Jason Witten made his return to the NFL after taking a one-year hiatus in 2018. All things considered, the 37-year-old TE performed quite well, finishing fourth on the Dallas Cowboys in receiving yards (529) and playing in a full 16-game season. With longtime head coach Jason Garrett now with the New York Giants, though, Witten might not want to adjust to an entire new regime under Cowboys' head coach Mike McCarthy. Witten proved doubters wrong, showing he can still get it done at the highest level last year. The likely future Hall-of-Fame TE has nothing left to prove to NFL fans.
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Max Staley is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Max Staley also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username mstaley1212. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.