Eric Weddle of course is not the first NFL player to leave retirement and return to the league, but few have done so just in time for the playoffs or ultimately landed in the Super Bowl. Here are some of them.
- Reggie White, then of the Green Bay Packers, announced his retirement in 1998, but one day later he said he was unretiring. He played one more season for the Packers and then retired again. After sitting out the 1999 season, he unretired yet again and returned to the league in 2000 to play for the Carolina Panthers for one more season. At age 38, he had 5 ½ sacks and 16 tackles.
- Deion Sanders retired in 2000 as a member of the Washington Football Team. At the age of 37 he unretired in 2004 and played for the Baltimore Ravens for two more seasons, totaling 38 tackles and five interceptions.
- Ricky Williams retired in 2003 after five great seasons with the Dolphins. After missing the 2004 season, he unretired in 2005 and played six more seasons. He rarely displayed the form of his first stint in the league, but he did rush for 1,121 yards and 11 TDs in 2009.
- Brett Favre, the king of retirement vacillation, retired in 2007 at age 37 after 17 seasons in the league. He unretired and played for the Jets in 2008 and retired again, only to unretire and play two more seasons, this time for the Minnesota Vikings. He had a sensational season in 2008, throwing for 33 touchdowns and seven interceptions. He retired after the 2009 season at age 41.
- Randy Moss retired following the 2010 season after 13 years in the league. He sat out the 2011 season, then unretired and played one more season, this time for the San Francisco 49ers, totaling 28 catches, 434 yards and three TDs. His encore season landed him in the Super Bowl, where he had two catches for 41 yards in a loss to the Ravens.
- Marshawn Lynch retired from the Seattle Seahawks after the 2015 season, then unretired in 2017 and joined the Raiders at 31, rushing for 891 yards and seven TDs. He returned for the 2018 season and then retired a second time. In a situation that is much like the Rams and Weddle reunion, the Seahawks convinced Lynch to unretire again with one week left in the 2019 regular season because three of their running backs were sidelined by injuries. In three games (counting two playoff games), Lynch totaled 67 yards and four TDs and then retired again at age 33.
- Jason Witten retired after the 2017 season after 15 years with the Dallas Cowboys and spent a year in the TV booth, where he struggled. He returned to the Cowboys in 2019 and caught 63 passes for 529 yards and four TDs. He joined the Raiders the following season and had 13 catches for 69 yards and two TDs, then retired at age 38.
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