Ten athletes to retire champions in the last 20 years

Here is a list of some recent players to retire after winning championships.
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In what was his final career game, Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning led his team to a 24–10 victory over the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl 50.

Manning will reportedly announce his retirement from the NFL on Monday, after weeks of mulling his decision. The No. 1 pick in the 1998 NFL draft out of Tennessee, Manning won four MVP awards with the Indianapolis Colts and led them to a Super Bowl victory in 2006 before becoming the first starting quarterback in league history to win a title with two different teams. He retires as the NFL’s all-time leader in passing touchdowns and passing yards.

“The Sheriff” follows in the footsteps of several Hall of Fame athletes who have gone out on top. Here’s a list of players that have managed to end their careers on a high note in recent years.

John Elway, 1999

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Elway led the Broncos to a 31–24 win over the Falcons in Super Bowl XXXIII, and earned game MVP honors for his 336-yard performance.

Floyd Mayweather, 2015

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Mayweather defeated Manny Pacquiao by unanimous decision on May 2, 2015 to improve to 47–0 over his career. In September, he announced his retirement.

Landon Donovan, 2014

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Donovan won his sixth MLS Cup with the LA Galaxy on Dec. 7, 2014 in what would be his final career match.

Michael Strahan, 2008

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The seven-time Pro Bowler walked away after the Giants’ 17–14 win over the Patriots in Super Bowl XLII. He recorded two tackles and one sack in the game.

David Robinson, 2003

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“The Admiral” led the San Antonio Spurs to a 2003 NBA Finals win over the New Jersey Nets. In San Antonio’s series-clinching Game 6 win, he scored 13 points and pulled down 17 rebounds.

Ray Lewis, 2012

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Lewis won his second Super Bowl with the Ravens in 2012, capping off a memorable postseason that included a playoff-high 55 tackles, one sack, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery and one pass deflection in six games.

Dominik Hasek, 2008

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Five days after winning his second Stanley Cup with the Red Wings, Hasek walked away from hockey on June 9, 2008. The six-time Vezina Trophy winner would come out of retirement to play overseas in 2009, but never returned to the NHL.

Jerome Bettis, 2006

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The six-time Pro Bowl running back rushed for 43 yards on 14 carries in a 21–10 win over the Seahawks in Super Bowl XL. He finished his career with over 13,000 yards on the ground.

Ray Bourque, 2001

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Bourque’s long 22-year quest for a title came to an end in 2001 when the Colorado Avalanche beat the New Jersey Devils in seven games to take home the Stanley Cup. Though he spent 20-plus seasons with the Bruins, the image of Bourque lifting the cup in an Avalanche uniform is lasting. 

Pete Sampras, 2002

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Sampras ended a two-year Grand Slam drought by defeating Andre Agassi 6–3, 6–4, 5–7, 6–4 in the 2002 U.S. Open Final and retired with 14 major titles.