Retiring NFL players is an annual obligation and usually at least one high-profile player hangs up every year. This year was no different, as it saw several superstars walk away from the season.
Drew Brees, Philip Rivers, Julian Edelman, Thomas Davis, Adam Venteri, Murkiss and Mike Pouncey are just a handful. This offseason the NFL has been extremely busy with fans allowing for retraining camps, intense QB camp battles, a new series of QB starters and the Deshaun Watson drama.
With all the commotion, there were some significant NFL retirements you may have missed, including an impressive feat by the New York Giants that retired three players in four days during training camp.
In that vein, let’s look at five NFL players who quietly retired in 2021.
#1 – TE Jack Butts, Chicago Bears
Jake Butts was a fifth-round pick in 2017, but missed his rookie year with a torn ACL. He entered 2018 as the TE2 behind Jeff Haverman. Butt appeared in three games before re-tearing his ACL in practice. He missed 2019 with complications from an ACL injury. In 2020, he played in five games with one start before a tendon injury put him on IR.
As a free agent earlier that year, he was signed by the Chicago Bears, but retired a month later in July. His history of injuries related to ACL tears probably affected Butt’s body. He also tore his ACL his senior year in the Orange Bowl. Also, the Bears already had plenty of talent at TE, so it probably didn’t affect the team too much.
#2 – C Joe Looney, New York Giants
Joe Looney was the second of three New York Giants retired in four days, one day after LB Todd Davis. As a fourth-round pick in 2012, he played for four different NFL teams, and suffered injuries early in his career with the San Francisco 49ers and Tennessee Titans.
2018 was his best year and the only year he started a full 16 games when he replaced Travis Frederick with the Dallas Cowboys. In 2020, when Frederick retired, Looney became a starter, but suffered an MCL injury and played in 13 games. New York can start it again Nick Gates that he stayed.
#3 – QB Alex Smith, Washington Football Team
After a life-threatening leg injury in 2018. Alex Smith fought an uphill battle to return to the NFL 2020. He went 5-1 in an assist role with 1,582 passing yards, six TDs and eight INTs. Smith did not play in the alternate game, but returned as Player of the…