1. Just look at what happened with former Philadelphia Eagles running back LeSean McCoy.
Even almost six years after LeSean McCoy played his final game for the Philadelphia Eagles in 2014, he’s still looked upon fondly by the Eagles and their supporters. Why else would the media and fan base have been split about bringing him back for one final hurrah?
Now, if we’re being honest, the decision not to reacquire him was truly the correct one. He’s clearly still better than many of the game’s best players at the position, but he’s also a shell of his former self. Bringing him back for the 2020 season would have been more about emotion than production, and no one wants to see “Shady” unless he’s the best version of himself. It’s truly better that both sides moved on.
Though the majority of us have never done it, it doesn’t take much to realize that playing running back in the NFL is a taxing job, and it ages guys quickly. In 2013 and 2014, Sanders carried the rock 647 times if you include the 21 totes he had in the Wild Card Game versus the New Orleans Saints. He also set the franchise record for rushing yards in a season with 1,607 in 2013, but despite the fact that he’s had some very productive seasons since that time (1,267 rushing yards in 2016 and 1,138 rushing yards in 2017), it’s clear that he’s passed his prime. What’s more frustrating was that may not have been his fault. The constant workload may have shaved a few more productive years from his career.
The point is this. “Shady” was overworked. He was also special and a lot more durable than we give him credit for being, but sparing him every so often would have led to more prime years. These days, linebackers seem to be getting bigger, stronger, and faster every two weeks. These guys are six-foot-three or so, 260 pounds, and they run the 40-yard dash in less than five seconds. That isn’t someone you want to see colliding with your best players 25 times a game.