With the NFL trade deadline having come and gone, we now will have to get used to Kelvin Benjamin in Buffalo, Jay Ajayi in Philadelphia, and Kirk Cousins in...Washington, because the Redskins didn't trade him.
It may take some time adjusting to those players in new uniforms, but imagine what it's like to see your favorite players in random stops to end their career. Remember Terrell Owens in Buffalo and Cincinnati in 2009 and 2010 respectively? How about Champ Bailey finally leaving the Denver Broncos after the 2013 season to spend the 2014 preseason with the New Orleans Saints?
Really, our only ground rules for this list is that we're going to try looking at players from the past decade or so and the team they last played a regular season game for. While Chad Johnson/Ochocinco did spend the 2012 preseason with the Miami Dolphins, his final season was with the New England Patriots in 2011, so it'd be the latter team that's named to the list. Ochocinco is not on this list, but we may see a former teammate or two of his.
If you're ready to check your old Madden games to make sure players were on these rosters and that we're not lying or mistaken, let's travel back in time and recall some strange final seasons for our favorite players.
15 Cedric Benson - Green Bay Packers (2012)
Like you, we most definitely forgot about Cedric Benson's five-game stint with the Green Bay Packers in 2012. Signed as a replacement for Ryan Grant, Benson totaled 248 yards on 71 carries and a touchdown in five games (also catching 14 balls for 97 yards, both of which were on pace to break career-highs of 28 and 186 respectively) before a broken foot ended his season prematurely.
With Benson only struggling to 3.5 yards per rush with the Packers (although his ball control was significantly improved from his final years with the Bengals, only fumbling once through five games after 12 in his past 32), there's no guarantee he would have survived the entire season. This was a forgettable stint for a briefly underrated player, but were the other tenures on this list as forgettable?
14 Albert Haynesworth - Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2011)
Technically, the New England Patriots also fit into this category because Haynesworth spent six games with them in 2011, but he was cut midway through the season after - wait for it - getting into arguments with Bill Belichick and other New England coaches. Haynesworth wound up closing the season in Tampa Bay, starting six games and making seven starts with the Buccaneers and totaling 20 tackles. Considering how lackluster Haynesworth played in both Washington and New England after signing that awful contract, those stats aren't bad!
But, Haynesworth was likely bound to be out of the NFL regardless of how he played because he upset too many people and had such a negative reputation. Then again, the same goes for Richie Incognito and he became an All-Pro with the Bills, so what do I know?
13 Wes Welker - St. Louis Rams (2015)
Given that this happened only two years ago, this will be among the more memorable ones...yet somehow still so forgettable. Wanting one last opportunity in the NFL, Wes Welker signed with the St. Louis Rams in their final season before moving to Los Angeles and recorded 13 catches for 102 yards in eight games. Given Welker's concussion history and that he was a small, slot receiver at 34-years-old who had taken many a hit in recent years, him getting one final chance in the NFL was nice.
Now an assistant coach with the Houston Texans, Welker's playing days are most likely over, but he got a chance that most people don't. If you're wondering why Welker's on this list and players who we last saw in tryouts aren't, there's your answer.
12 Brian Westbrook - San Francisco 49ers (2010)
Welcome to the life of an NFL running back, where you go from an All-Pro in your prime to on the street in three seasons. After making his second Pro Bowl and his lone All-Pro team after recording 2,104 yards from scrimmage in 2007 - and nearly joining the 1,000/1,000 club for rushing and recieveing yards each in the process! - Westbrook was cut after an injury-plagued 2009 season. What gives, Philadelphia?
Landing with the San Francisco 49ers as a change-of-pace running back behind Frank Gore, Westbrook averaged 4.4 yards per rush on 77 attempts, totaling 340 yards and four scores on the ground; Westbrook added 150 yards and a touchdown through the air as well, but never landed with another team. What gives, other NFL teams?
11 Jake Delhomme - Houston Texans (2011)
When the end of former Carolina Panthers star Jake Delhomme's career comes to mind, it's usually a five-game stint with the Cleveland Browns in 2010 that saw him take a bone-crunching hit from Ndamukong Suh (which, for what its worth, served as Suh's official introduction to the "I hit hard" club). That wasn't Delhomme's final game, however, as he suited up for the Houston Texans for one game in 2011 with starter Matt Schaub and primary reserve Matt Leinart both out.
Essentially the emergency quarterback's emergency quarterback, Delhomme threw for 211 yards and a touchdown while completing 64.3 percent of his passes in the regular season finale, a 23-22 loss to the Tennessee Titans. Delhomme did not play in the Texans' Wild Card loss to the Baltimore Ravens, started by T.J. Yates, and retired soon after.
10 Ricky Williams - Baltimore Ravens (2011)
We promise, that's Ricky Williams! After successfully staying out away from legal and substance abuse issues following a 2007 comeback with the Miami Dolphins, Williams left South Beach - where he ran for 2,453 yards on 4.4 yards per rush and 17 touchdowns from 2008-10 - for a chance at a Super Bowl ring with the Baltimore Ravens. The days of his dreadlocks long gone, Williams enjoyed a fine farewell campaign, rushing for 444 yards and two touchdowns as a change-of-pace back for Ray Rice.
If not for Billy Cundiff's infamous missed kick to end the AFC Championship Game, Williams could have indeed made his first Super Bowl and had a chance at retiring on top. Given everything Williams went through just to appear on the field again, however, I think he's satisfied with his career.
9 Torry Holt - Jacksonville Jaguars (2009)
Here, we have our first official instance of a player who technically ended his career with one team (the New England Patriots in the spring of 2010, being cut after an injury) but is being counted for his final regular season. A cap hit casualty of the St. Louis Rams at 32 years old after the 2008 season, the seven-time Pro Bowler signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars in an attempt to win his second Super Bowl and help a rising team rebound after a poor 2008 season.
Holt's numbers weren't terrible, catching 51 balls for 722 yards, but he went without a touchdown and was cut the following February. By no means was this a pretty end to Holt's career, but when you look at some of the other players on this list, I think he'll take it.
8 Edgerrin James - Seattle Seahawks (2009)
Anoher running back who ended his career in a strange place, Edgerrin James really was on the wrong side of 30 when he ran for 125 yards on 46 carries with no touchdowns in seven games for the 2009 Seattle Seahawks. James' descent from one of the league's top running backs with the Indianapolis Colts to an adequate starter in his first two seasons with the Arizona Cardinals to part of a three-man rotation featuring Tim Hightower and J.J. Arrington in 2008 have all been well documented, but can you blame the Seahawks for hoping he had something left?
Unfortunately for James, his final NFL season came months after his longtime girlfriend and the mother of his four children died of leukemia. We applaud James for even making it back to the field after such a loss.
7 Nnamdi Asomugha - San Francisco 49ers (2013)
I have no shame in admitting I didn't even come close to remembering this. I knew Nnamdi Asomugha played in 2013 after a disappointing two-year stint with the Philadelphia Eagles, but I definitely didn't recall him playing in San Francisco in hopes of winning a title. Ironically, I thought Asomugha went back to Oakland for his final season when in reality, he was directly across the bay. Asomugha played three games for the 49ers in 2013, recording two tackles and two pass deflections before being cut midseason.
But, given the 49ers made their third straight NFC Championship Game regardless and there were no reported incidents of Asomugha eating lunch in his car, this pairing could have gone much worse. If Asomugha were Brandon Jacobs, on the other hand...
6 Kerry Collins - Indianapolis Colts (2011)
With future Hall of Famer Peyton Manning potentially out for the season (spoilers: he would be) and the Colts hoping to still make the 2011 postseason (spoilers: they finished with the No. 1 overall pick), 39-year-old Kerry Collins was signed to be the interim starter. In three starts, Collins was fairly mediocre, completing 48-of-98 passes (49 completion percentage) for 481 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception.
Alas, Collins was injured in Week 3, joined Manning on injured reserve, and the Colts finished 2-14 and wound up with Andrew Luck. At the rate things are going, the Colts could very well wind up finishing with a top five pick this year, hopefully drafting better than they did in the Ryan Grigson era. That is, if Luck and his shoulder are even able to play again...
5 Zach Thomas - Dallas Cowboys (2008)
Which was more of a struggle to remember? Thomas, a lifelong Miami Dolphin who may continue to garner some Hall of Fame votes, spending 2008 with the Dallas Cowboys and playing all 16 games, or him spending part of 2009 with the Kansas City Chiefs before being cut before the season started? Spending his age 35 season in Dallas, Thomas started 14 of those 16 games, recording 94 tackles, a sack, a fumble recovery, and three pass deflections for the 9-7 Cowboys.
"The only thing I would change [in my career] is I went to Dallas out of position, that's the only thing I kind of regret," Thomas said in 2010. "Things worked so well right there in the middle, so why change? I was just trying to fit in because I knew they had a good team, but what do you know, it doesn't matter how many good players you have, we didn't even make the playoffs."
4 Ahman Green - Green Bay Packers (2009)
At first glance, you may see this and think we're crazy because Ahman Green spent eight of his 12 NFL seasons in Green Bay...but did you remember it's where he finished his career? We're cheating with this one because this wasn't exactly a random top, but did anyone see Green - after 554 yards and five touchdowns in 14 games over two seasons with the Houston Texans from 2007-08 - returning home to Green Bay?
Signed midway through the 2009 season, Green ran for 160 yards and a touchdown on 41 carries, becoming the team's all-time leading rusher with 8,322 total rushing yards. Green would not win a Super Bowl, however, as the Packers fell to the Arizona Cardinals in a thrilling Wild Card game that ended with a walk-off fumble recovery.
3 Fred Taylor - New England Patriots (2009-10)
The only player on this list who spent multiple seasons in the random stop, Jacksonville Jaguars legend and potential Hall of Fame running back Fred Taylor spent 2009 and 2010 with the New England Patriots, rushing for 424 yards and four touchdowns on 106 carries. Battling injuries in his age 33 and 34 seasons, Taylor was unable to win or even make a Super Bowl, having spent time in New England during the ten-year Lombardi Trophy drought the Patriots went through.
"I guess the biggest difference is here there is a whole lot of veteran leadership across the board," Taylor said while with the Patriots. "[Bill Belichick], he's a realist. He's not gonna sugarcoat anything and he coaches from every angle. He'll even tell you what you can expect as far as questions from your own family, other players around the league and friends. He's just a realist like coach [Tom] Coughlin."
2 Jeff Saturday - Green Bay Packers (2012)
If you remembered Jeff Saturday' 2012 stint with the Green Bay Packers, it likely came from his final game, the 2013 Pro Bowl when the veteran center played on the AFC side so he could snap the ball to former teammate Peyton Manning one last time. A heartbreaking and heartwarming moment at the same time, Saturday spent 2012 with the Packers in hopes of winning a Super Bowl and moving on from the now-rebuilding Indianapolis Colts, who made several other notable veterans - including Manning and tight end Dallas Clark - free agents.
While Saturday's play fell off a bit by the time the Packers' season ended in January 2013 to Colin Kaepernick and the Green Bay Packers, the future Hall of Fame center played well enough to reunite with Manning one last time. Not bad!
1 1. Randy Moss, San Francisco 49ers (2012)
Had Randy Moss not made a comeback in 2012, we'd have put his time with the Tennessee Titans (yes, that actually happened) in 2010 here, but a stint with the NFC Champion 49ers earns its place here. After having taken 2011 off as a result of the lockout, teams not showing interest, and a lackluster 2010 season where he was traded from New England to Minnesota to Tennessee, Moss returned for one last chance at a Lombardi Trophy.
Likely not much was expected from a 35-year-old Moss, who caught 28 passes for 434 yards and three touchdowns, but the future Hall of Famer did add seven catches and 112 yards in the postseason. Unfortunately for Moss, San Francisco lost in the Super Bowl and Moss, now with ESPN, never caught another pass.
How many of these players' random stops did you remember? Let us know in the comment section below!
Leave A Comment
Looking for an AD FREE EXPERIENCE on TheSportster?Get Your Free Access Now!