An athlete’s decision to retire has long been a perplexing question, especially for those who have been at the top of the game.
The passion and drive that drives someone to succeed at the highest level can make the real world so unfulfilling. Even if one has the courage to walk away from adulation, fame and wealth, the urge to return can be overwhelming.
Which brings us to Tom Brady, 45.
Every week, it’s becoming increasingly clear that his astonishing decision to return to the NFL after a 40-day retirement is one he will come to regret.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers fell to 3-5 with a 27-22 loss to the Baltimore Ravens on Thursday night, the first time Brady has two games under .500 since becoming the Patriots’ starting quarterback. New England over two decades ago.
Time passes and you cannot come.
While there’s still enough season left to turn things around – the Bucs are only half a game away from first place in the NFC South – it’s not too early to wonder if Brady is destined to join. a list of the worst sports comebacks.
Here is a Top 10 of those who should have stayed away:
10. KATARINA WITT
The German figure skater was the epitome of elegance and charisma when she won back-to-back gold medals at the 1984 and 1988 Winter Olympics. But her comeback at the Lillehammer Games in 1994 ended by a seventh-place finish, Witt no longer able to match the athleticism of her much younger competitors.
9. BILL JOHNSON
He became the first American to win an Olympic gold medal in skiing at the 1984 Winter Games in Sarajevo, but injuries and a rebellious nature kept him from continuing that superb run. More than a decade after his retirement, Johnson tried to come back. A horrific accident on the course resulted in a debilitating brain injury from which he struggled to recover. He suffered a severe stroke and died in 2016 at the age of 55.
8. DAVE COWENS
The Boston Celtics star retired in 1980 with two NBA championships, an MVP award and eight All-Star Game appearances. Two seasons later, the Hall of Famer felt the need to play again. There was no room in Boston’s frontcourt, so his rights were transferred to Milwaukee. Cowens had a lackluster season with the Bucks and retired for good.
7. MARC SPITZ
The American swimmer became an Olympic icon when he won seven gold medals at the Munich Games in 1972. He jumped at the chance to return two decades later when he reportedly offered $1 million if he could qualify for the Barcelona Olympics at 42. Spitz failed to even qualify for the US Trials.
6. MICHEL SCHUMACHER
Possibly the greatest driver in Formula 1 history, the German’s legacy was assured when he retired in 2006 after winning a record seven world championships (a mark since equaled by Lewis Hamilton). Schumacher returned to the track in 2010 for a miserable three-year stint with Mercedes, failing to win a race and finishing 13th in the standings his final season.
5. BJORN BORG
We don’t know what the Swedish tennis great was thinking when he grew out his blonde locks, pulled a wooden racquet from the closet and attempted a comeback in 1991 after nearly a decade away. It went as well as expected: the 11-time major champion didn’t win any matches.
4. GUY LAFLEUR
Lafleur retired in 1985 after a Hall of Fame career with the Montreal Canadiens. But the dashing winger wasn’t done. Three years later, he came out of retirement for one season with the New York Rangers and two more with the Quebec Nordiques. Pretty much the only recognizable thing about his glory days was remaining one of the few players not to wear a helmet.
3. LANCE ARMSTRONG
The hubris of the seven-time Tour de France winner would not only result in an unsatisfactory comeback, it also opened him up to new doping investigations that eventually caught up with him. Armstrong’s schemes and a ruthless, win-at-all-costs mindset led to him having his touring titles stripped and being dumped by his sponsors.
2. MICHAEL JORDAN
Jordan’s first comeback — after a bizarre dalliance with minor league baseball — might be the biggest of them all. He won three more championships with the Chicago Bulls and retired again in 1998 as league MVP. It should have been that, but MJ’s competitive juices led to another comeback in 2001, the yin to yang of his prime. Plagued by injuries and years out, and looking totally out of place with the dismal Washington Wizards, Jordan failed to make the playoffs his final two seasons.
1. MOHAMED ALI
Saddest of all comebacks. The Greatest returned to the ring in 1980 to take on Larry Holmes for the heavyweight title. With his skills drawn, Ali, 38, spent 10 rounds serving as a punching bag for the fastest and strongest Holmes. Ali, who was later diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, died in 2016.