Marshall Faulk Says NFL Players Retiring Early Is Nothing To Worry About

Of the major American sports, football has always been the one that has stars with the most short-lived careers. That is no secret.

But the events of this offseason, in particular, seem to stress that point.

Guys like All-World linebacker Patrick Willis, his former teammate Chris Borland and former Tennessee quarterback Jake Locker, who all played their last NFL games under the age of 30, opted to call time on their careers this winter.

For some fans, these are signs the NFL is too dangerous for its own good, and players are slowly but surely deciding the risk of playing is not worth the reward.

For others, like NFL Hall of Famer and NFL Network analyst Marshall Faulk, there's nothing to worry about.

Faulk told Elite Daily.

I don't think retiring too early is reason for any alarms to be rang. They understood and listened to their bodies, that's it... I'm just happy that they were aware, cognizant enough to make a smart decision because there's a life expectancy beyond football and you wanna live, you wanna have a family. You wanna live and have a long life.
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At a time when most people who enjoy football are more aware about the frightening impact of injuries on players' abilities to retire comfortably, the retirement of Willis, specifically, felt a bit disturbing.

But for Faulk, the fact that a few notable names decided to hang up their cleats is more of an indication of the freedom NFL players have these days -- rather than retirements as signs players' hands are being forced.

The way the former Super Bowl winner sees it, the big money contracts available in the league have given players chances to look at their careers from economically prudent points of view.

Faulk said,

I think that their mindset has changed because of what they see, the information they have, the knowledge that they have but also, financially, the money is better. So if you can walk away from the game and still have your riches, then you do so and make sure you take care of your health. Back in the day that wasn't an option.

In Faulk's comments on early retirement, you can almost feel a sense of allegiance the former league MVP has toward all NFL players.

Facebook/Marshall Faulk

That is especially true when he discusses what he thinks are the unfair criticisms the younger stars get about not having "backup plans" for careers beyond the football field. He said,

If I was poor and I had to do it all over again, Ima take that chance and play football... I don't know many golfers that have backup plans. I don't know many hockey players, I don't know many soccer players. I haven't seen a race car driver complete college yet. But they make it a big deal what we do.

It's a good point and it's a good thing he himself didn't venture off into another field -- because his Hall of Fame career was definitely worth a watch.