Rethinking Retirement: Brett Favre and Other Comeback Kids


The latest news has it that quarterback Brett Favre is coming out of retirement once again to play another season for the Minnesota Vikings.  This will be the fourth time the former Atlanta Falcon / Green Bay Packer / New York Jet / Minnesota Viking player has “un-retired.”

Favre, however, isn’t the first to reverse a decision to retire.  Here are some other famous un-retirees: Whether it be due to financial necessity or need to keep busy, more seniors are choosing to delay retiring or work full or part-time after retirement.  Maybe they’re taking a page out of the Brett Favre playbook–like these reverse retirees:

Michael Jordan – Actually Favre has probably taken a page from Jordan’s playbook.  The former Chicago Bulls champ retired in 1993, played minor league baseball, returned to the Bulls in 1995, retired again in 1999, became part owner/manager of the Washington Wizards in 2000 and then in 2001 started playing basketball professionally again, finally retiring from the court in 2003.  Talk about not being able to let go…

Cher – In 2002, the award-winning actress/singer launched a final tour that lasted so long (almost THREE YEARS!) that the name was changed from “The Farewell Tour” to the “Never Can Say Good-bye Tour.”  And as it turns out, “never can say good-bye” was a more accurate moniker, because a less than three years after throwing in the towel, Cher threw the dice and rolled lucky sevens with a $60 million deal for 200 shows at the Colosseum at Caesar’s Palace in Vegas. 

Lance Armstrong – Armstrong won the Tour de France seven consecutive times before retiring in 2005.  His retirement lasted only three years before he returned to cycling.  He has recently announced his retirement again.  We’ll see how long it lasts…

Amanda BynesTwittering her plans to retire from acting at the ripe old age of 24, Bynes has since apparently reversed her decision–a little over a month later.  All those awaiting a Sydney White sequel can rejoice.

Tiger Woods – Post multiple infidelity scandal, Tiger Woods announced his intention to take an indefinite break from golf to work on repairing his marriage.  That was in December.  By April, Tiger was making his “triumphant” return to the green for the Masters Tournament.  Given his lackluster performance since his return, he might have been better off sticking with that decision.

Joaquin Phoenix – The Oscar-nominated actor announced his retirement from acting to pursue a career as a rapper in late 2008.  While his rapping career has not quite taken off, he has resurfaced in film via the trailer for “I’m Still Here“–which is either a documentary about his personal journey over the last couple of years or a mockumentary that will expose the whole incoherent Unabomber act was a carefully crafted work of performance art.

Richard Nixon – After losing the 1960 Presidential election, followed by a crushing loss in the 1962 California gubernatorial campaign, Nixon famously declared to the media that they wouldn’t have him to kick around anymore.  Six years later, he ran again for President–and won.  Of course we all know how THAT turned out.

As MacArthur once said, “Old soldiers never die, they just fade away.”  It appears the same holds true of politicians, athletes and actors.  Although the “should I stay or should I go” shuffle that some indulge in makes me think of the lyrics to an old country song:  “How can I miss you if you won’t go away?

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