Former NFL quarterback Steve Young may be 61 years old, but he still feels his competitive fire burning sometimes. That’s one reason why he sympathizes with current quarterbacks nearing the end of their playing careers.
“When you’re the best in the world at something one day and you leave the game, you’re not that anymore. ... You end up wanting so much to go back to the thing you were great at,” he said this week on Tom Brady’s podcast, which Brady cohosts with Jim Gray and Larry Fitzgerald.
Young said he couldn’t help wondering if he’d left the game too soon during the first few years after he retired. That’s one reason why he and other former quarterbacks love watching Brady take the field at age 45, he added.
“All of us, we all thought we could. You just went and proved it,” Young told Brady on the “Let’s Go” podcast.
The two old friends, along with Dallas Cowboys legend Roger Staubach, talked about the joy of playing football and also the pain. Although Young did not press Brady on whether he would retire this offseason, he did reflect on what Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers must be going through this winter as he contemplates leaving the game behind.
“What he’s contemplating is, in my mind, a death. And who choses death? ... What he’s contemplating is really difficult thing,” said Young, who played for BYU in college.
The good news is that retirement paves the way for much more family time, which is even more rewarding than life in the NFL, according to Young and Staubach.
Staubach said multiple times that he loves spending time with his kids, grandkids and great-grandkids, including the opportunities he has to play football with them.
“On Thanksgiving, we played football. I kind of wanted to win that game more than the Super Bowl,” Staubach said.
All of the men got a kick out of that comment, with Young noting that Staubach, at age 80, would still be throwing passes in the NFL if he could.