NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Jets tackle D’Brickashaw Ferguson pulled a stunner last week when he announced his retirement. While Ferguson, a three-time Pro Bowler, wasn’t in the prime of his career, he was still only 32 years old, a relatively early age for any in-demand pro athlete to walk away.
Ferguson follows in the footsteps of these star athletes who played in New York and retired when they were 32 or younger.
The Islanders’ right winger was a seven-time All-Star from 1977-87 and led the team to four consecutive Stanley Cup titles. But back injuries derailed his career. Bossy played in his last game when he was 30 years old. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1991 and remains the Isles’ all-time leader in goals scored.
Koufax began his career with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1955 and retired in 1966 at age 30 with the Los Angeles Dodgers because of an arthritic pitching arm. The Brooklyn native won three Cy Young awards, led the National League in strikeouts five straight years, won four World Series and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1972.
For many NFL running backs, retiring at 31 doesn’t seem like such a crazy idea. But Barber called it quits after enjoying five consecutive 1,000-yard seasons. The Giants running back had his sights set on a career in broadcasting when he retired after the 2006 season, although he did flirt with the idea of making a comeback five years later.
The Jets wide receiver was a three-time Pro Bowler who led the NFL in receptions in 1988 with 93. But a series of concussions forced him into retirement after the 1992 season when he was just 29.
Toon and Chrebet did more than share a team and a position. A fan favorite during his 11 seasons with the Jets, Chrebet’s career ended prematurely at age 32 due to, just like Toon, repeated concussions. Chrebet trails only Don Maynard on Gang Green’s all-time receiving list.
The six-time All-Star, who spent the final two years of his career with the New York Rangers, had his career cut short by knee injuries after the 2002-03 season when he was 31 years old. The “Russian Rocket” was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2012.
The Devils’ All-Star left winger stunned the NHL when he announced after the 2012-13 season that he was retiring. He was 30 years old, healthy and had $77 million and 12 years remaining on his contract. Kovalchuk, the top overall pick in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft by Atlanta, cited a desire to return to his native Russia as his reason for hanging up his skates.