NFL's Sign-and-Retire Club
Donovan McNabb played for three teams in his career (Philadelphia, Washington, Minnesota) and re-signed with Philly on Monday, July 29, so that he could retire an Eagle. Here are some other prominent players who signed one-day contracts so that they could retire with their old teams.
Signed by Baltimore as a non-drafted free agent before joining the Colts in 1999, Saturday ranks among the best undrafted players in the NFL. The Packers center played in two Super Bowls, winning one with the Colts, and was selected for five Pro Bowls. He was twice honored with first-team All-Pro recognition, while his work with the NFL Player's Association to help settle the 2011 lockout made him one of the most respected players in the game. Saturday signed a one-day contract with the Colts on March 7, 2013.
Mason was released by Baltimore before the 2011 season, latched on with the Jets, was released and finished up with the Texans. However, the wide receiver retired as a member of the Ravens, signing a one-day contract on June 11, 2012. The 38-year-old Mason played 15 years in the NFL, six of them with Baltimore. Mason is the Ravens' franchise leader in receptions (471) and yards receiving (5,777). He ranks second behind Todd Heap with 29 touchdown catches and set a single-season franchise record with 103 receptions in 2007.
An eminent presence because of his ferocious hits, Brian Dawkins commandeered the Philadelphia secondary for 13 seasons and helped establish one of the most intimidating pass defenses in the NFL. A nine-time Pro Bowl selection, Dawkins was the first player to record a sack, an interception, a fumble recovery and a touchdown reception in the same game when he did it against Houston in 2002. Known by his alter-ego "Wolverine," the passionate Dawkins signed a one-day contract on April 28, 2012, to retire with the Eagles after three seasons with Denver. The Eagles may still want him back. The Eagles were the third-ranked pass defense in 2008 before Dawkins' departure, after he left, they dipped to 17th in 2009. Philadelphia has ranked no higher than 10th in the category since 2009.
Before St. Louis drafted Torry Holt, the team had won 15 games in three years. After they selected the touted N.C. State receiver in the first round of the 1999 NFL Draft, the Rams amassed 16 wins and a Super Bowl trophy in the same season. Arriving the same year as Kurt Warner and Marshall Faulk, Holt became an integral part of "The Greatest Show on Turf", the high-flying Rams' offense that averaged 33 points per game and transformed the image of the previously downtrodden franchise. Holt emerged as one of the top downfield threats in the NFL, earning seven Pro Bowl selections and setting a league record with six consecutive seasons of at least 1,300 yards receiving. After leaving the Rams in 2008, Holt had a disappointing season in Jacksonville followed by an inactive year in New England. Holt signed a ceremonial one-day contract with the Rams on April 4, 2012, ending his career 10th all-time in receiving yards.
Arguably the most recognizable Jacksonville Jaguar of all-time, Fred Taylor had to retire in the state of Florida. A Pahokee, Fla., native and one of the top backs to ever play for the University of Florida, Taylor was drafted by the Jaguars in 1998 and ended his career as the franchise's all-time leading rusher. A Pro Bowl elect in 2007, Taylor is the second player to be enshrined in the "Pride of the Jaguars," the team's Hall-of-Fame, after offensive tackle Tony Boselli. Taylor signed a one-day contract on Sept. 2, 2011.
Hilliard spent the first eight seasons of his career with the Giants, and on July 30, 2010 returned to the team on a one-day contract to retire. In 12 NFL seasons, Hilliard caught 546 passes for 6,397 yards and 35 touchdowns, including 368 catches with the Giants. He battled injuries throughout his career, from a nagging toe injury for much of his career with New York to a brutal concussion in his later years with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Tyree retired from the Giants the holder of arguably the most memorable moment in franchise history. Tyree caught three passes in Super Bowl XLII. The first was a touchdown, and the last was the famous leap and acrobatic haul over Patriots safety Rodney Harrison. The catch eventually helped lead the Giants to a late score and one of the biggest upsets in Super Bowl history, as they defeated the Patriots 17-14. He did a sign-and-retire on July 29, 2010.
On July 28, 2010, Glenn became the first player to sign a one-day contract to retire with the Texans. A 5-foot-9 cornerback, he was the third player selected in Houston's 2002 expansion draft upon the franchise's entry into the NFL. He made one of his three trips to the Pro Bowl in the Texans' inaugural season and started 43 games in three seasons with Houston.
Joe Horn, who spent seven seasons with the Saints, announced on June 25, 2010 he would sign a one-day contract to retire a member of the club. In 2000, New Orleans gave Horn his first starting job at 28, and he didn't disappoint. His 523 receptions and 7,662 yards as a Saint rank him second in franchise history. Along the way, Horn became well-known for his touchdown celebrations, including famously placing a call on a cell phone after one score.
The last active member of the old Los Angeles Rams and another integral part of "The Greatest Show on Turf" along with Torry Holt, Bruce was traded back to the Rams on June 7, 2010 so that the could retire with the franchise that drafted him in 1994. Bruce caught 921 passes, including 81 touchdowns, in 13 seasons with the Rams.
Thomas spent 12 seasons in Miami before playing one year with Dallas and participating in Kansas City's training camp the following season. He recorded 1,038 tackles with the Dolphins, becoming one of the faces of the franchise along the way. He did a sign-and-retire in May 2010.
Elam is the record-holder for most games played with the Broncos franchise at 236. In his 15 seasons with Denver, the kicker scored a point in every game he played. His sign-and-retire came in March 2010.
Known for being one of the most dominant offensive linemen in his time in the NFL, Allen played with the Cowboys from 1994 to 2005 and was selected to 10 consecutive Pro Bowls. His sign-and-retire was held in August 2008.
Following two seasons with rival Washington, Armstead returned in June 2007 to the team that drafted him in 1993 to retire. He had 100-plus tackles in five straight seasons with the Giants.
A mammoth offensive tackle considered one of the top linemen in college football history, Tony Boselli has the unique distinction of being selected by two different expansion franchises. Boselli was the first-ever draft pick of the Jacksonville Jaguars in 1995, where he was a five-time Pro Bowler. Boselli would protect fellow Pro Bowl elect Mark Brunell in the Jaguars' memorable 1996 season that saw the two-year old franchise advance to the AFC Championship Game, where they would lose to the New England Patriots. The Jacksonville McDonalds franchises even sold a "Boselli Burger" for a short time in 1998. Boselli was eventually selected by the Houston Texans in the first pick of the 2002 NFL Expansion Draft, but injuries kept him from ever donning the blue and red. Boselli signed a one-day contract with the Jaguars in 2006 and was the first elect to the Jaguars' Hall-of-Fame, "Pride of the Jaguars."
After stints with Oakland and Seattle, the legendary 49ers receiver came back to the franchise for a one-day, $1,985,806.49 contract in August 2006. The sum was ceremonial, representing Rice's first year in the league (1985), uniform number (80), the current year ('06) and the 49ers (49).
Brown ruffled feathers in the Oakland organization when he chose to play a season with Tampa Bay instead of retire. When he finally did his sign-and-retire in July 2005, Raiders owner Al Davis was not at the news conference.
Smith went to Arizona for two seasons before retiring in February 2005 with Dallas, holding a press conference three days before the Super Bowl. Smith became the NFL's all-time leading rusher in 2002 while with the Cowboys.
Buffalo caused a stir amongst its fan base when it released Thomas along with defensive end Bruce Smith and wide receiver Andre Reed before the 2000 season. Smith, the Bills' all-time leading rusher, returned to the team in February 2001 to retire after a season with rival Miami.
The Redskins have graced a few of their former stars with ceremonial retirements, including kickoff returner Brian Mitchell and wide receiver Leslie Shepherd. But none were bigger than Monk, who helped Washington win three Super Bowls in four appearances and retired as a Redskin in July 1997. Who would you add to the list? Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.