ON FEB. 18, PANTHERS defensive end Jared Allen announced his retirement after 12 years in the NFL by posting a video on Twitter. In it, he thanked fans while sitting on a horse before riding off into more of a cloudy evening than a sunset, but the idea was the same. It was the latest in what has become a trend of elaborate straight-to-the-fans athlete farewells.
WHEN: Feb. 7, 2016
HOW: During the fourth quarter of Super Bowl 50 the Seattle running back tweeted a photo of a pair of cleats hanging over a phone wire accompanied by a "peace out" emoji. After nine years, he hung 'em up.
February 29, 2016
WHEN: Feb. 1, 2016
HOW: The 11-year veteran defensive end posted on Facebook a montage of his greatest moments—from sacking Tom Brady in two Super Bowls to his Subway ads, all set to Coldplay's "A Sky Full of Stars."
WHEN: Nov. 29, 2015
HOW: After 20 seasons he wrote a love letter to the game that was posted online. Ho hum. But attendees at that night's tilt against the Pacers got hard copies of the letter, which were selling on eBay for hundreds of dollars within hours.
WHEN: Nov. 18, 2015
HOW: The Red Sox big man spoke directly to the camera in a solemn, artsy video saying that 2016 would be his 20th and final season. In perhaps a nod to his future, he was credited as executive producer.
WHEN: March 23, 2013
HOW: After nine years with the 49ers and Bears the little-known DT produced a video in which he planned an elaborate announcement ceremony, only to end up with a few friends at a White Castle, where he fills out a job application.