2007 Swan Songs
Noteworthy retirements of 2007<br><br>Imagine if he hadn't retired after 10 seasons. Still, Barber finished as the New York Giants career rushing leader with 10,449 yards. A superb receiver, the three-time Pro Bowler helped the Giants reach a Super Bowl. He left the NFL with his health intact to become an NBC TV news broadcaster and sportscaster.
If only there'd been no meddlesome player-agent father or, worse, all the concussions and assorted other injuries. Who knows what the huge, fast, gifted forward might've done? Still, Lindros had 372 goals and 865 points, won the 1995 Hart Trophy as MVP, led the Flyers to the '97 Stanley Cup finals and won Olympic gold with Canada in 2002.
A certain first-ballot Hall of Famer, Biggio played his entire 20-year career in Houston as a catcher, second baseman and outfielder. In June, he singled to become the 27th man to reach 3,000 hits. Mr. Astro finished with 3,060 (20th all-time). He's the only player to record 3,000 hits, 600 doubles, 400 stolen bases and 250 homers.
Trash talk and this loquacious point guard went together like the proverbial hand in The Glove -- the nickname Payton was given for his skintight defensive prowess during 13 glory years with the Seattle SuperSonics. A bit of a misfit during his one ballyhooed season with Shaq and the star-studded but disappointing 2003-04 L.A. Lakers, Payton finally won a ring with the Miami Heat in 2006. An Olympic gold medalist with 1996 Dream Team, he retired ranked 21st on the NBA's all time list points (21,813), but in the Top 10 in assists (8,966, sixth), steals (2,445, third) and games played (1,335, eighth).
The jut-jawed Steelers coach for 15 seasons retired Jan. 5, 11 months to the day after leading Pittsburgh to a 21-10 victory over Seattle in Super Bowl XL. In succeeding the legendary Chuck Noll, Cowher went 161-99-1 and took the Steelers to six AFC title games and two Super Bowls.
Hers was a tragic free-fall from grace. In Sydney in 2000, Jones won a record five Olympic track and field medals (three golds in the 100 and 200 meters and 4x400 relay). In October, caught in the web of the BALCO investigation, she admitted using steroids and was stripped of her medals. Now broke, Jones returned her medals to the IOC.
In "The Greatest Show on Turf," Faulk was St. Louis' greatest, most versatile act. The 2000 NFL MVP, he had 2,189 total yards (1,359 rushing) that year and a then-record 26 TDs. No back ever had more receiving yardage (6,875 of his 19,154 total yards). The Rams might've won a second Super Bowl had Faulk carried more against New England.
Her first retirement in 2002 was due to injuries. This year's was a stunner: The five-time Grand Slam champ tearfully announced she tested positive for cocaine at Wimbledon after losing in the third round. Hingis, who denied the charge, had come back in '06. She won the Australian Open at 16, and later Wimbledon and the U.S. Open.
The Michigan man announced his retirement after a 14-3 loss to Ohio State. This, after 28 years in Ann Arbor, the last 13 as head coach. Carr (121-40) won five Big Ten titles and the 1997 national championship. Yet he lost the '07 opener at home to Appalachian State and to later lost to Ohio State's Jim Tressel for a fourth straight year (and sixth in seven).
The old man in the neon pink hat was The Man in volleyball. Arguably the best player ever, Kiraly's the only guy to win Olympic gold in the indoor and beach versions of the sport. He helped the U.S. win in 1984 and '88, struck two-man beach gold in Atlanta in '96, and popularized pro beach volleyball by winning 148 AVP tournaments.
The high Priest of KC running backs quit for good after a brief comeback. Out of football for 22 months after suffering head and neck injuries in 2005, Holmes returned and made two starts this year before paralysis fears ended his career. The Chiefs' all-time rushing leader ran for 1,615 yards in just 14 games in '02, scoring a then-NFL record 27 TDs.
Kjetil Andre Aamodt
He tearfully retired as the most decorated Alpine skier in Olympic and world championship history. Despite injuring his knee in the 2006 Olympic downhill, the Norwegian successfully defended his title in the Super-G. It was his eighth Olympic gold, to go with 12 more in the world championships.
Jake the Snake's QB career snaked from Arizona State to the NFL Cardinals for six years, then four in Denver where he nearly took the Broncos to a Super Bowl. But after a loss in the '05 AFC title game, he was supplanted last season by Jay Cutler, then refused to report to Tampa Bay after a trade. The Snake now plays a lot of handball.
The last of a dying breed: a great football coach-turned-outstanding athletic director. A fine Georgia Tech QB, Broyles' Arkansas teams won seven Southwest Conference titles from 1958-77 and the '64 national championship. As AD since '74 (he retires Dec. 31), Broyles built one of the nation's finest across-the-board athletic programs.
The top pick in the '93 NFL draft could fling the football. Bledsoe is fifth all-time in pass attempts and completions, No. 7 in passing yardage (44,611) and 13th in TD passes (251). He reached two Super Bowls in nine years with New England, spent three more in Buffalo and quit after two seasons in Dallas and amid Tony Romo's rise.
A soccer ambassador extraordinaire, Jones is the all-time appearance leader for the U.S. national team with 164 caps. The midfielder played in the 1994, '98 and '02 World Cups. An MLS original, Jones played all 12 seasons with the L.A. Galaxy. He helped the Galaxy win two MLS Cups and is now an assistant coach.
Another No. 1 overall pick, Johnson joined the Jets in '96 and caught the damn ball: 814 career receptions, 10,571 yards, 64 TDs. He loved the attention and his own reflection. He played for Bill Parcells in New York (feuding with teammate Wayne Chrebet) and Dallas, helped the Bucs win a Super Bowl, bowed out with Carolina and went into TV.
An iconic figure in women's basketball, Conradt is the second-winningest coach in the college game. At 900-306, she joins Pat Summitt as the only 900-game winners in NCAA history. Conradt spent her last 31 years in Austin, where her Texas teams of the '80s set the standard for excellence _ especially the 34-0 national champs in 1986.
A great coaching career ended when Ross retired following his third consecutive losing season at Army. After coaching at the Citadel and Maryland, Ross won a share of the 1990 national championship at Georgia Tech, took San Diego to a Super Bowl and also coached Detroit. But he retired last January, spent and frustrated.
Now <i>that's</i> the face, and voice, of an umpire. No one worked more seasons, or games, than Bruce Froemming, baseball's longest-tenured ump who called 'em as he saw 'em for 37 seasons. At 68 years, 2 days, he even surpassed the late, legendary Bill Klem last season as the oldest ump in big-league history.
There's space available now on Henman Hill, the grassy slope at Wimbledon where Brits annually sat to watch the video screen and root for "Tiger Tim." The gentlemanly Henman, Britain's best player since Fred Perry, reached four Wimbledon semis and lost each one -- two to Pete Sampras. Still, he was Britain's best player of the open era.
His 35 seasons included general manager stints with the Baltimore Colts, Cleveland Browns and, for the last nine, the New York Giants. One of the NFL's most popular GMs, Accorsi maneuvered to draft Eli Manning in 2004 and gave author Tom Callahan inside access for "The GM," a superb look at Accorsi's farewell season.
A top jockey in the '80s, this Hall of Famer rode more than 4,000 winners -- none more famous than Funny Cide, aboard whom Santos nearly won the Triple Crown in 2003. After winning the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, Funny Cide ran third at the Belmont. Santos retired after breaking his spine in five places last February in a three-horse spill.
He could score and pass and skate with class. A hockey ambassador on ice and off, Turgeon played 19 years, centering lines for five teams and retiring as the 27th-leading scorer (515 goals) in NHL annals. He won the Lady Byng Trophy in '93 as an Islander. As captain, he helped Montreal close the old Forum and open the Bell Centre.
"Took a break," Rudd said of his NASCAR sabbatical after 2005. He returned this year for one more full ride, then quit for good. After a one-race cameo as an 18-year-old in '75, Rudd was named NASCAR Rookie of the Year in '77. He drove 788 consecutive races from 1981-2005, winning 23, always driving clean and now clear to the very end.
The epitome of long-time loyalty, Hoak retired after 45 years with the Steelers, the last 34 as an assistant coach. Still the team's No. 3 career rusher, Hoak helped his hometown team win five Super Bowls as the NFL's longest-tenured assistant.
Inge de Bruijn
"Invincible Inky." That became the Dutch swimmer's moniker. Inky was a four-time Olympic champ, winning gold in 2000 in Sydney in the 50 and 100-meter freestyle and the 100 butterfly. She repeated in the 50 free in Athens in '04 and retired last March. "I'm 33," she said then. "In swimming, that's a grandmother." That's Inky.
The eternal defender, Pope started every game he played for the U.S. national team. Since 1996, he compiled 82 caps and eight goals, and ended an illustrious MLS career with Real Salt Lake. Pope started all five games in the surprising U.S. 2002 World Cup run, but was red-carded against Italy in his World Cup farewell appearance in '06.<br><br>Send comments to email@example.com.