Despite its violent nature, many NFL players have long careers that stretch into their late-thirties and even forties. Whether it is good luck with injuries, a position that does not have as much wear and tear, or a drive to play as long as they can, these men defy a career that is typically over within a few years and play over several years, even decades!
John Denney, 40
John Denney entered the league slightly older than your average NFL rookie, but it didn’t stop him from having a long career. To date, Denney has not missed a game in his career as a long snapper. While the Denney’s position is not necessarily one that everybody clamors for when they dream about being in the NFL ,his $1M contract certainly isn’t anything to balk at.
Denney is expected to return to the Miami Dolphins for the 2019 season, and has played there for the entirety of his NFL career.
Tom Brady, 41
Despite the fact that Tom Brady has been playing for nearly 20 years, it is still surprising to see the quarterback play into his forties at the level he was playing at in his twenties and thirties. He is still a favorite to win the Super Bowl whenever he plays, a dangerous player with his back against the wall, and a healthy player nearly every season he steps onto the field.
People have even stopped trying to put an end date on Tom Brady’s career, and after appearing in three straight Super Bowls, it is hard to blame them. Whether Brady plays for many more years, or hangs it up in the near future, his longevity is a thing of legend. He even posted a better 40-yard dash time this off season than he did at the NFL combine 20 years ago, proving once and for all that his age is just a number.
Matt Bryant, 43
Matt Bryant may currently be a free agent in his 40s, but he still has no plans to retire. As a placekicker, Bryant was a journeyman after entering into the league in 2002, but he eventually found a home in Atlanta, where he just capped off a 10-year stint. He is one of the best field goal kickers in history, leading every kicker in NFL history with an 86.2% completion rate when his teams call on him.
Most recently, he kicked for the Atlanta Falcons, where he became a reliable player year in, year out. With a talent like his, do not be surprised if another team comes knocking at his door soon.
Phil Dawson, 44
Phil Dawson is a free agent and still not ready to retire at 44 years old. Although he is unsure about whether or not he will continue his career, he appears to be open to the possibility of doing so if given the opportunity. Although he spent the majority of his career in Cleveland, he has traveled to San Francisco and Arizona since 2012, where he continued to be an effective kicker.
He is an 83.8% career kicker with a knack for hitting long field goals, and even has a rule named after him. Not bad for a guy who never made it past the practice squad on his first two teams.
Adam Vinatieri, 46
Adam Vinatieri is far enough into forties to the point where one might wonder if he will continue kicking into his fifties. He has seen four presidencies, just as many Super Bowls, three Pro bowl and First Team All Pro selections, and was a member of the 2000s all decade team. He has been a valuable member of both the Patriots and Colts teams after making his name in Europe.
He has the NFL scoring record, and may even break George Blanda’s 26-year career record if he plays a couple of more years, and has done all this while remaining a valuable option for the team. While he will turn 47 at the end of this season, Vinatieri shows no signs of letting up.