NFL News and Rumors

"Are They Still Playing Football?" Looking at Which Former Stars Have Retired, and Which Are Still in the NFL

Jason Schandl
Which former NFL stars are still playing football, and which have retired?
Which former NFL stars are still playing football, and which have retired? / David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
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There are few things die hard sports fans love more than reminiscing about players from the past. It's not always stars, either. All of us have players we loved for random strange reasons, and those obscure players can be the most fun to bring up.

We're seeing more new football leagues popping up than we've seen in a long time, and players are also staying in action to older and older ages these days. That means some of these favorites could still be playing without you even knowing it.

Here's a look at whether some of these NFL players are still suiting up on the gridiron.

Quarterbacks

Is Tom Brady Still Playing Football?

Despite doing his best to confuse and misdirect fans this offseason, Tom Brady is indeed still playing football. He was rumored to be ready to retire, denied it, then retired, then unretired all within a short stretch of the 2022 offseason. But now Brady is returning for his 23rd NFL season in 2022-23, which will be his third season as a Tampa Bay Buccaneer.

Is Eli Manning Still Playing Football?

Eli Manning is not still playing football. The New York Giants legend and two-time Super Bowl MVP retired after the 2019 NFL season, having played his entire 16-year NFL career with the New York Giants. Manning can now be found in the booth as an NFL analyst on ESPN, most famously joining brother Peyton for "The Manningcast" Monday Night Football broadcasts.

Is Drew Brees Still Playing Football?

Drew Brees is no longer playing football. The future hall-of-famer retired after 2020 season, with 20 seasons of action under his belt. He played his final 15 years in the NFL with the New Orleans Saints after originally being drafted and playing five years with the then-San Diego Chargers. Brees quickly moved into a broadcast career, but he left NBC Sports in May 2022 after just one season in the booth.

Is Cam Newton Still Playing Football?

Cam Newton has not officially retired, but he isn't on any football roster right now, so at the moment he is not playing. The former Rookie of the Year and NFL MVP is a free agent after starting five games in a 2021 return to the Carolina Panthers. Before that he played one year with the New England Patriots after spending his first nine NFL seasons in Carolina.

Is Michael Vick Still Playing Football?

One of the most electric players in NFL history, Michael Vick no longer plays football, having hung up the cleats in June 2017. Vick played six seasons with the Atlanta Falcons, who drafted him No. 1 overall in 2001. He then played five years with the Philadelphia Eagles after missing 2007 and 2008 due to suspension. He finished his football career with one-year stints with the New York Jets (2014) and Pittsburgh Steelers (2015) before signing a one-day contract to retire as a Falcon.

Is RG3 Still Playing Football?

Robert Griffin III is not still playing football, as he is currently signed as a college football analyst with ESPN, but he has said that he does still have a desire to play. Griffin's broadcast contract includes an out if he signs with an NFL team. RG3 most recently served as the Baltimore Ravens' backup quarterback from 2018 to 2020. Before that he was a free agent in 2017 after playing for the Cleveland Browns in 2016. That came after he started his career with the now-Washington Commanders.

Is Johnny Manziel Still Playing Football?

Johnny Manziel does still play football, even though he hasn't been in the NFL since 2015. Manziel is currently a member of the FCF Zappers in the Fan Controlled Football League. He won the league's "People's Champion" award in 2022. Before playing for the Zappers, he played for the Memphis Express in the AAF's lone season (2019) and played for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and Montreal Alouettes in his lone season in the Canadian Football League (2018). Before that he spent his two NFL season (2014-2015) with the Cleveland Browns.

Is Colin Kaepernick Still Playing Football?

Colin Kaepernick is not currently on any football roster, but he's in the midst of a comeback attempt. Kaepernick has not played a snap since 2016, but he reportedly had a promising workout for the Las Vegas Raiders in the 2022 offseason. Kaepernick's six NFL seasons were all played for the San Francisco 49ers.

Is Alex Smith Still Playing Football?

Alex Smith is not still playing football, having retired after the 2020 season. That season saw him win NFL Comeback Player of the Year after missing the entire 2019 season with a severe leg injury which proved career- and even life-threatening. Smith played in Washington from 2018 to 2020 after spending five seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs (2013-2017) and eight with the San Francisco 49ers (2005-2012)

Is Nick Foles Still Playing Football?

Nick Foles is still playing football. He signed a two-year contract to serve as a backup quarterback for the Indianapolis Colts this offseason, which keeps him in Indy through the end of the 2023-24 season. Foles previously spent two years mostly as a backup with the Chicago Bears. His 10-year career has taken him all over the NFL, also playing with the Philadelphia Eagles (2012-2014, 2017-2018), St. Louis Rams (2015), Kansas City Chiefs (2016) and Jacksonville Jaguars (2019).

Is Joe Flacco Still Playing Football?

You may not realize it, but Joe Flacco is still playing football. He appeared in two games (starting one) for the New York Jets in 2021, and on March 16, 2022 he re-signed with the Jets on a one-year deal. The Super Bowl MVP has been with the Jets for two seasons after making a one-year sojourn with the Denver Broncos in 2019 following 11 seasons (2008-2018) with the Baltimore Ravens. Barring injury, don't expect Flacco to play any meaningful snaps in 2022, but he is certainly still in the NFL.

Is Tim Tebow Still Playing Football?

Tim Tebow is not still playing football after an ill-fated comeback attempt in 2021. Tebow saw some training camp and limited preseason reps as a tight end for Urban Meyer's Jacksonville Jaguars in 2021 before being released in August. Before that he left the NFL when the Philadelphia Eagles released him in the 2015 preseason. His three actual seasons playing came in 2010 and 2011 with the Denver Broncos and in 2012 with the New York Jets.

Is J.T. Barrett Still Playing Football?

A long-time Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback, J.T. Barrett is not still playing professional football. He went undrafted in 2018 and spent time on the New Orleans Saints, Seattle Seahawks and Pittsburgh Steelers' offseason rosters from 2018 to 2020 without playing any NFL snaps. He then moved to the CFL, signing with the Edmonton Elks in the 2022 offseason before suffering a season-ending injury and retiring.

Running Backs

Is Todd Gurley Still Playing Football?

Todd Gurley is not still playing football, and in the 2022 offseason, he described how happy he is with that decision. Gurley had an outstanding but short NFL career, playing five seasons for the Rams from 2015 to 2019 before spending his last season with the Atlanta Falcons in 2020.

Is Adrian Peterson Still Playing Football?

Adrian Peterson has not officially retired from football, but he is not currently on any NFL roster. The future Hall-of-Fame rusher played for both the Tennessee Titans and Seattle Seahawks in 2021, not making an impact for either team. His last 1,000-yard season came back in 2018 with Washington. He has played for six teams in five seasons since leaving the Minnesota Vikings, where he played from 2007-2016. Peterson has said that when he does retire, he would like to retire as a Viking.

Is Marshawn Lynch Still Playing Football?

After many years of teasing retirement and returning, Marshawn Lynch is no longer playing football. He last hinted at an NFL return in December 2020, but that never materialized and he has not played a snap since. The last time Lynch cracked 100 carries in an NFL season was in 2017, but the 12-year pro wrapped up his career with 10,413 rushing yards.

Is Reggie Bush Still Playing Football?

Reggie Bush is not still playing football after officially retiring on December 15, 2017. Bush's career ended with a torn meniscus in his lone season with the San Francisco 49ers in 2015 and then failing to make an impact with the Buffalo Bills in 2016. Before that he played five seasons with the New Orleans Saints (2006-2010), two with the Miami Dolphins (2011, 2012) and two with the Detroit Lions (2013, 2014).

Is Frank Gore Still Playing Football?

Having officially retired on a one-day contract with the San Francisco 49ers on June 2, 2022, Frank Gore is not still playing football. The NFL's No. 3 all-time leading rusher, with exactly 16,000 rushing yards, Gore played 16 NFL seasons, including 10 with the 49ers. Now a professional boxer (with a 1-0 record as an amateur and 1-0 record as a pro), Gore retired before getting a chance to share the NFL field with his son, Frank Gore Jr. Junior is going into his third season with the Southern Miss Golden Eagles in 2022.

Wide Receivers

Is Larry Fitzgerald Still Playing Football?

Larry Fitzgerald never officially announced his retirement, but he is no longer playing football. He admitted in February 2022 that he has no plans on returning to the field after playing his entire 17-year career with the Arizona Cardinals from 2004 to 2020.

Is Julian Edelman Still Playing Football?

Despite being rumored for a possible return to team up with Tom Brady in Tampa Bay, Julian Edelman is not still playing football. After 12 seasons with the New England Patriots, Edelman officially announced his retirement on April 12, 2021.

Is Odell Beckham Still Playing Football?

Odell Beckham Jr. is still playing football, though he is currently a free agent. He remains unsigned after playing out his contract and suffering a torn ACL with the Los Angeles Rams in the 2021-22 season, but he is certainly expected to find a new home for the 2022-23 season.

Is Eric Decker Still Playing Football?

Eric Decker is not still playing football after officially announcing his retirement on August 26, 2018. Decker's eight-year NFL career saw him play with the Denver Broncos (2010-2013), New York Jets (2014-2016) and Tennessee Titans (2017).

Is Golden Tate Still Playing Football?

Golden Tate is not playing football on an NFL roster, but he has also not retired from the NFL. Tate most recently signed with the Tennessee Titans' practice squad in November 2021 before being released in January 2022. His last time actually stepping on the field came in the 2020 season with the New York Giants.

Tight Ends

Is Gronk Still Playing Football?

As with Tom Brady, it's hard to trust a Rob Gronkowski retirement. But at this stage, it looks like Gronk is not still playing football. He came out of retirement to win a Super Bowl with Brady and the Buccaneers in 2020 and re-upped for the 2021 season before announcing another retirement on June 21, 2022. Of course, rumors of another return will continue to swirl, especially if the Buccaneers look like Super Bowl contenders again this season.

Offensive Linemen

Is Michael Oher Still Playing Football?

The subject of the book and movie The Blind Side, Michael Oher is not still playing football. Oher has never officially announced his retirement, but he was placed on the injured reserve with a concussion in November 2016 and released by the Carolina Panthers following a failed physical in 2017. Oher played five NFL seasons with the Baltimore Ravens (2009-2013) before playing one with the Tennessee Titans (2014) and two with the Panthers (2015, 2016).

Defenders

Is Clay Matthews Still Playing Football?

Clay Matthews has not officially retired, but it appears that his NFL playing career is finished. He was released by the Rams in March 2020 and failed to come to terms after negotiating with the Broncos in September 2020. Since then there has been no news about a new landing spot for the Super Bowl champ. Matthews finished his career with one season as a Ram after playing his first 10 with the Green Bay Packers from 2009 to 2019.

Is JJ Watt Still Playing Football?

JJ Watt is still playing football, currently under contract and starting for the Arizona Cardinals. Despite his unfortunate injury issues, the three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year is heading into his second season as a Cardinal after playing his first 10 with the Houston Texans.

Is Kroy Biermann Still Playing Football?

Sorry, Real Housewives fans, but Kroy Biermann is not still playing football. A fan favorite in Atlanta from 2008 to 2015, Biermann failed to make the Buffalo Bills' final roster in 2016 and has not been back on an NFL roster since.

Is Richard Sherman Still Playing Football?

Richard Sherman is not currently on an NFL roster, but he has not retired, and the free agent may look to make a return in 2022. This is what he did in 2021, signing with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers once the season was underway. Before that he played three seasons with the San Francisco 49ers (2018-2020) after starting his career with the Seattle Seahawks (2011-2017).

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Jason Schandl is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Jason Schandl also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username Jaymun. 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 his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.

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