Posts Tagged ‘Retirement’

Kurt Angle says he will never wrestle again after undergoing serious knee replacement surgery on both legs.

The WWE Hall Of Famer told the ‘Two Man Power Trip Of Wrestling‘ podcast that he decided to get work done on both knees so he wasn’t “destabilised” – regardless, he’s still “in a lot of pain”. Kurt just didn’t want to worry about going under the knife a second time later in life.

Angle has always been coy when asked if he’d fancy pulling on the boots for one more match. He’s never kept it a secret that he didn’t really enjoy his last hurrah in WWE. The company picked Baron Corbin as Kurt’s final opponent at WrestleMania 35 in 2019, which didn’t sit well with the legend or his fans.

Going out on a six-minute loss to a worker that had nothing to do with Angle’s iconic career didn’t sit well, but it’ll be his last in-ring showing.

Physically, Kurt can’t go anymore. The double knee surgery has also given him the chance to walk relatively pain-free someday. That wouldn’t be the case if he “messed” them up by bumping around.

Rob Gronkowski is hanging up his cleats – again.

The former Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New England Patriots tight end is retiring after 11 combined seasons in the NFL, he announced Tuesday.

“I want to thank the whole entire first-class Buccaneers organization for an amazing ride, trusting me to come back to play and help build a championship team,” Gronkowski wrote on Instagram.

“I will now be going back into my retirement home, walking away from football again with my head held high knowing I gave it everything I had, good or bad, every time I stepped out on the field. The friendships and relationships I have made will last forever, and I appreciate every single one of my teammates and coaches for giving everything they had as well.

“From retirement, back to football and winning another championship, and now back to chilling out, thank you to all.”

The future of the veteran tight end had been a topic of discussion throughout the offseason after Gronkowski said he’d take time to evaluate his options at the end of last year. He recorded 802 yards in 2021 but could only suit up for 12 games due to injuries.

Gronkowski missed the 2019 season after riding into the sunset following the Patriots’ victory in Super Bowl LIII. However, he returned the following year to team up with longtime quarterback Tom Brady in Tampa Bay.

The 33-year-old served a familiar role as one of Brady’s top targets in his two seasons with the Buccaneers. He helped the club win Super Bowl LV – the fourth championship of his career – by catching two touchdowns in the 31-9 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs.

“It is always difficult to see a great player walk away from the game when he is still enjoying that kind of success, but the overwhelming emotions I feel today are gratitude and respect for one of the greatest tight ends who ever played the game,” Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht said.

“While his on-field accomplishments will surely earn him a gold jacket and a place in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, it is his humble attitude and team-first approach to the game that truly defined his career.”

Gronkowski’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, said he was unsure if the tight end’s retirement is final.

“It would not surprise me if Tom Brady calls him during the season to come back and Rob answers the call,” Rosenhaus told ESPN’s Adam Schefter. “This is just my opinion, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Rob comes back during the season or next season.”

Gronk built one of the most decorated playoff resumes in NFL history alongside Brady, who was his quarterback in each of his 11 seasons. The duo connected for an NFL-record 15 touchdowns in the postseason.

Gronkowski’s era of dominance began as a second-round pick by the Patriots in 2010. He earned five Pro Bowls and eclipsed 1,000 receiving yards on four occasions during his nine-year tenure in New England.

His 92 career touchdowns trail only Antonio Gates (116) and Tony Gonzalez (111) for most all time among tight ends.

Gail Kim has knocked back several bids from promotions to wrestle again.

The former WWE and TNA star worked her final match against Tessa Blanchard on Impact Wrestling’s Rebellion pay-per-view in April 2019. Since then, she’s been approached multiple times, but told WrestleZone that she doesn’t want “to go back”.

Kim didn’t reveal every company chasing her signature, but the 45-year old did say that Impact wanted her to work a program vs. Deonna Purrazzo – although Gail was flattered, she’s mindful of running the risk that a comeback would “ruin [her] status” with pro wrestling fans.

Health concerns are also a factor.

Gail said “there’s a high percentage of a back surgery” if she does ever work a match again. That’s not something she’s keen on, because it’s already challenging to ignore various aches and pains in everyday life. Kim thinks it’d take “something quite impressive” to coax her out of retirement at this stage in the game.

She doesn’t really miss active wrestling as much as she feared she would either. Gail was “deathly afraid of that”, but is happy with life post-retirement.

Joanna Jedrzejczyk knows better than most that it takes an enormous amount of commitment to be an accomplished MMA fighter.

That’s why, more than a decade into her pro career, the former UFC strawweight champion decided to walk away from the sport following a knockout loss to Zhang Weili at UFC 275 on Saturday.

“I’ve been in this business for the last 19 years,” Jedrzejczyk said at the postfight press conference, according to MMA Fighting. “Lots of investment from myself. It’s time to fully enjoy my life.

“Honestly, I had no time to sit on it and think about my legacy, how big it is. I’m a hard worker, and I always dedicate myself. I give as much as I can, and I get as much as I can in the same way. But now, it’s time to really, fully enjoy it.”

Jedrzejczyk was a trailblazer for the 115-pound division. Carla Esparza became the inaugural champion after winning “The Ultimate Fighter 20” in 2014, but it was Jedrzejczyk who put the division on the map. She took the title from Esparza in 2015 and defended it a record five times until losing to Rose Namajunas in 2017.

When asked what she wants her legacy to be, the Poland native said she simply hopes MMA fans recognize and appreciate all that it takes to be a fighter.

“I want people to look at the athletes who are winning or losing as hard workers,” Jedrzejczyk said. “People don’t see the preparation. People see only the (result) – you win or you lose in this sport.”

Reflecting on her rise in MMA to become one of the greatest women’s fighters in history, Jedrzejczyk said she wants people to know that “everything and anything is possible.”

“It doesn’t matter who you are, where you’re from, what color is your skin, what religion you believe in, what your gender is. You can make it,” Jedrzejczyk said. “I’m from a small city in Poland. I was dreaming about the trip to the United States when I was a little girl. Every time I closed my eyes, I saw a panorama of Manhattan.

“A few years later, my picture was hanging at Times Square before (UFC) 205 or another event. Dreams are coming true, but we have to work hard and really believe. I’m proud of myself.”

Jedrzejczyk said she plans to stay involved with the UFC in retirement and will attend upcoming events such as International Fight Week, the London card, and the promotion’s debut in Paris. She added that she wants to pursue a career in management.

“It’s been an honor for me. I will (be) a UFC soldier forever,” Jedrzejczyk said.

San Francisco 49ers center Alex Mack is retiring after 13 seasons in the NFL, he announced Friday.

Mack, who previously played for the Cleveland Browns and Atlanta Falcons, made the seventh Pro Bowl of his career last season.

The 36-year-old boasts three second-team All-Pro nods (2013, 2016, 2017) and was a member of the NFL 2010s All-Decade team.

Mack was drafted by the Browns in the first round of the 2009 draft and spent seven seasons in Cleveland before joining Atlanta as a free agent in 2016. He signed with the 49ers last offseason.

The center played in 196 regular-season games and was known for his consistency and durability. The veteran suited up for every regular-season game in all but two of his 13 campaigns.

San Francisco will gain over $4 million in cap space, as Mack agreed to rework his deal, according to Field Yates of ESPN.

Jake Brendel is first in line to replace Mack with the 49ers.

Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick is retiring from the NFL, ending a career that spanned 17 seasons and nine teams, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network.

Fred Jackson seemed to announce the quarterback’s decision by posting a screenshot of an apparent text message from Fitzpatrick, his former Buffalo Bills teammate.

The veteran signal-caller is in talks with Amazon for a “key role” this season, sources told Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. Amazon is set to take over the rights to Thursday Night Football in 2022.

Fitzpatrick spent the 2021 campaign with the Washington Commanders but suffered a season-ending hip injury in Week 1.

He also suited up for the Miami Dolphins, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, New York Jets, Houston Texans, Tennessee Titans, Cincinnati Bengals, and St. Louis Rams.

Fitzpatrick started for all nine teams he played for, which is an NFL record, according to ESPN’s Field Yates.

The 39-year-old – whom the Rams drafted in the seventh round in 2005 – finishes his career with 34,990 passing yards (32nd all time) and 223 touchdowns (tied for 36th all time) and a record of 59-81-1.

Pittsburgh Steelers defensive lineman Stephon Tuitt announced his retirement Wednesday after eight years in the NFL.

“With respect to the Steelers organization, my teammates, and coaches, I would like to officially announce that I have come to the decision to retire from the NFL,” Tuitt said in a statement. “I am thankful to have had the opportunity to represent the city of Pittsburgh for the past eight seasons and am blessed to leave this game with my health.”

Tuitt cited the death of his brother and the completion of his degree as factors for his decision.

“After the tragic loss of my brother Richard, and upon completing my degree from the University of Notre Dame, I know I am being called to move beyond the sport of football,” he added.

“I want to thank everyone for the love and support they have shown both on and off the field, and again want to thank The Rooney Family, Coach Tomlin, and the entire Pittsburgh organization. It was an honor and a privilege to play for this historic team. Go Steelers.”

The 29-year-old spent the entire last season on injured reserve due to a knee injury.

The Steelers selected Tuitt in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft, and he became an instrumental part of the team’s front seven while teaming with defensive lineman Cameron Heyward.

Tuitt started 79 games for the Steelers, recording 34.5 sacks and 48 tackles for a loss. He notched a career-high 11 sacks and 25 quarterback hits during the 2020 campaign, his last active season in the league.

Toronto Maple Leafs forward Jason Spezza announced his retirement after 19 NHL seasons.

Additionally, the 38-year-old Spezza will immediately join Toronto’s front office as a special assistant to general manager Kyle Dubas.

“I love hockey. Since the age of three, I’ve been lucky enough to live out my dream and do what I love for so many years,” said Spezza. “I eat, sleep, dream hockey, and it’s always been there for me.

“There are too many people to thank individually, but I’m forever grateful and indebted to the Ottawa Senators, Dallas Stars, Toronto Maple Leafs, and Hockey Canada for their support and belief in me as a player and person.”

Spezza finishes his playing career with 995 points in 1,248 games split between the Senators, Stars, and Maple Leafs.

Ottawa drafted Spezza second overall in 2001, and he went on to become one of the best players in the franchise’s history. He ranks second to Daniel Alfredsson on the Senators’ all-time list for goals (251), assists (436), and points (687) despite placing sixth with 686 games played.

The best stretch of Spezza’s career came in the first three seasons after the lockout. Centering a line with Alfredsson and Dany Heatley, Spezza averaged 105 points per 82 games from 2005-06 to 2007-08. He ranked third among NHL skaters with 1.27 points per contest during that span, trailing only Sidney Crosby and Joe Thornton.

Spezza helped lead the Senators to their lone Stanley Cup Final appearance in 2007, though they fell to the Anaheim Ducks in five games. However, Spezza, Heatley, and Alfredsson all tied for the league lead with 22 points during that playoff run.

With Spezza set to become an unrestricted free agent, Ottawa traded him to Dallas in 2014. He spent five years with the Stars, recording 228 points in 379 games.

The Mississauga, Ontario native went home in 2019, signing a one-year deal for the league minimum with the Maple Leafs. He went on to play three years in Toronto, all for the league minimum, compiling 80 points in 183 games in a fourth-line role. He was also a valuable veteran leader for the Leafs.

“It is difficult to describe just how much of a lasting and positive impact that Jason Spezza made in his three seasons with the Maple Leafs,” Dubas said. “Jason’s passion for the game of hockey, his desire to continuously push himself and his teammates to improve, as well as his capacity to make strong connections with all members of the organization, have been invaluable.”

Spezza represented Canada on the international stage numerous times. He captured gold (2015) and two silver medals (2008, 2009) at the IIHF World Championship and won a silver (2002) and two bronze medals (2000, 2001) at the world juniors. He was also a reserve for Canada’s 2006 Olympic team.

Longtime San Jose Sharks forward Patrick Marleau retired Tuesday after 23 NHL seasons.

The 42-year-old confirmed his decision in The Players’ Tribune. He’s the league’s all-time leader in games played with 1,779. He didn’t suit up in the NHL this season.

Marleau played 20 full campaigns and part of another with the Sharks, who drafted him second overall in 1997.

The Saskatchewan-born skater spent his first 19 seasons with San Jose before playing two with the Toronto Maple Leafs. He then suited up for 58 games with his original club in 2019-20 before the Sharks traded him to the Pittsburgh Penguins at the deadline.

Marleau re-signed with San Jose in October 2020 and broke Gordie Howe’s games played record of 1,767 in April 2021.

“(Retirement is) bittersweet for sure, but I have so much to look forward to,” Marleau wrote in a piece published Tuesday. “Who knows what the world has in store for me. If you would have told that kid on the frozen pond that he would break a games played record held by none other than Gordie Howe, he would have thought you were crazy.

“It was never something I aimed for; it was just me loving this game so much that I never, ever wanted to hang up my skates.”

Marleau is the Sharks’ all-time leader in goals, points, even-strength goals, power-play goals, shorthanded goals, game-winners, and shots on goal.

Tom Brady will join Fox Sports as its lead NFL analyst once his playing career ends, Fox announced Tuesday.

“We are pleased to announce that immediately following his playing career, seven-time Super Bowl Champion Tom Brady will be joining us at Fox Sports as our lead analyst,” Fox Corporation Executive Chair and CEO Lachlan Murdoch said in a statement.

“Over the course of this long-term agreement, Tom will not only call our biggest NFL games with Kevin Burkhardt but will also serve as an ambassador for us, particularly with respect to client and promotional initiatives,” Murdoch added.

Brady will receive a 10-year, $375-million deal from Fox, making it the richest contract in sports media history, Andrew Marchand of the New York Post reports.

Fox Sports issued a statement Tuesday denying the reported terms of Brady’s contract.

“What has been reported isn’t an accurate description of the deal, and we have not released details beyond what was disclosed on our quarterly earnings call,” the statement read, according to John Ourand of the Sports Business Journal.

The quarterback shared his excitement for his next career venture but said he still has “a lot of unfinished business” with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The Buccaneers quarterback is set to take part in his 23rd NFL campaign after the status of his playing future dominated the early portions of the 2022 offseason. The legendary quarterback retired earlier this year only to announce less than two months later in March that he would come out of retirement.

It remains uncertain how long the 44-year-old will continue playing in the NFL, but he is under contract with the Buccaneers for just one more season.

Brady has spent the last two seasons with the Bucs, earning two playoff appearances and one Super Bowl championship – the seventh title of his career. He is coming off a 2021 campaign that saw him lead the league in passing yards (5,316) and touchdowns (43).