NFL Star Retires At Age 26... Because Of Entertainment

Success and failure for skill players is measured solely in stats and fantasy points.

Rashard Mendenhall, a NFL running back for the Arizona Cardinals has made a decision not to continue playing in the NFL. After only 6 seasons, the 26-year-old has called it quits, and it is not because he is not good enough. Mendenhall writes:

“...I've greatly enjoyed my time, but I no longer wish to put my body at risk for the sake of entertainment.”

Mendenhall writes of how the game has "shifted" in recent years away from sportsmanship and team struggle and toward spectacle and the entertainment value of individual players.

“Today, game-day cameras follow the most popular players on teams; guys who dance after touchdowns are extolled on Dancing With the Starters; games are analyzed and brought to fans without any use of coaches tape; practice non-participants are reported throughout the week for predicted fantasy value; and success and failure for skill players is measured solely in stats and fantasy points.

He continues with his vision of how he believes the game should be played:

“When I came up, teammates fought together for wins and got respect for the fight. The player who gave the ball to the referee after a touchdown was commended; the one who played through injury was tough; the role of the blocking tight end was acknowledged; running backs who picked up blitzing linebackers showed heart; and the story of the game was told through the tape, and not the stats alone. That was my model of football.”

It is not often that the public gets to see a person who has it all, walk away from millions of dollars and a prosperous career.  He says in an article he wrote, that:

“I feel like I've done it all. I've been to two Super Bowls; made a bunch of money; had a lot of success; traveled all over the country and overseas; met some really cool people; made lasting relationships; had the opportunity to give back to causes close to my heart; and have been able to share my experiences and wisdom with friends, family and people all over the world.”