Tony Romo has retired, and now Marshawn Lynch is headed back. The word does not mean what it used to, especially in the ego-driven atmosphere of the NFL where players take far longer than they think to be done with the game. In that spirit, the Around The NFL crew gathered together and compiled this list of players and NFL personalities we'd most like to see un-retire and get back in the business.
Imagine a world where this offseason is not about preparing for the Tom Savage era, but about the return of the Gunslinger. Brett Favre popped up on social media last month buzzing passes to NFL players and, in a pair of slim-fit khakis and a T-shirt, he looked better than 50 percent of the mid-level NFL quarterbacks I've seen warm up in person. Just listen to the whistle on this pigskin.
Part of me wishes Favre didn't slam in all those seasons at the end of his career. Maybe a short sabbatical on the Tom Brady diet would have him still rolling as a 47-year-old graybeard. Favre has talked about running and exercising. He shaves his facial hair regularly and rides a tractor. What more could a prospective general manager ask for? The Cardinals recently kicked around the idea of asking Kurt Warner to come out of retirement when Carson Palmer and Drew Stanton went down in 2014. Age is nothing but a number these days.
The NFL has, at times, been compared to World Wrestling Entertainment because of their nearly unending string of dramatic highs and lows. However, the WWE has figured out one thing that the NFL hasn't: How to effectively bring back the old dogs and let them play the hits. Favre is Shawn Michaels. Shawn Michaels is Favre.
*-- Conor Orr *
The first thing almost every Detroit Lions fan thought of upon hearing Marshawn Lynch would un-retire was: Might Calvin Johnson do likewise? The short answer is: No! Megatron gave a vast array of reasons for retiring and never wavered on that decision. He even knew 2015 would be his last year before the season started. Yet if we are going to dance in make-believe land anyway, why not dream of Johnson returning. Matthew Stafford clearly grew as a passer without his security blanket to bail him out. If Megatron came back and Stafford stuck to spreading the ball around, the Lions' passing offense -- with offseason upgrades in pass protection -- could rival any in the NFL. Johnson would bring back the red-zone mismatch Detroit sorely needed and open one-on-one matchups for Marvin Jones and Golden Tate. It won't happen, but no one can stop fans from dreaming.
- -- Kevin Patra *
Brett Favre: There's a theory in the analytics community that the decline curve disappears when the final season of quarterback's career is removed.
In other words, regression to mean suggests that the season following retirement would more likely be a bounce-back year provided the quarterback is fully healthy and motivated.
A year and a half after Brett Favre retired, his agent insisted he could still play at age 44.
"He's in the best shape I've ever seen him in, physically," Bus Cook testified. "His arms look like a blacksmith's arms. He rides a bike probably 30-50 miles a day. He runs four or five miles a day. ... His body fat is 7.5 percent and he weighs 225 pounds. He could play today, better than a lot of them out there today."
Just over three years later, Favre remains in tip-top shape and still boasts tremendous velocity in his throwing arm.
- -- Chris Wesseling *
Honestly, I don't want to see Peyton Manning come back to the NFL. Or any other player who willfully stepped away. When it comes to Brett Favre, one of my favorite athletes of all time, I'm content to see him wandering around the nation with a flowing white beard. It feels right. Forget the players: I want to see Bill Parcells return to the sidelines and raise a spiraling franchise from the ashes. Just to show he can do it. We need a guy like Parcells back in our lives. It would be fascinating to see this Hall of Famer emerge from the shadows to whip a roster of me-first millennials into shape en route to chasing one more Lombardi. Make it happen, Football Gods.
- -- Marc Sessler *
-- David Ely