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NFL - US Sports: Players who made retirement u-turns

Rob Gronkowski says he's staying retired this time, unlike his long-time quarterback partner in New England and Tampa Bay, who reversed his decision after 40 days.

Tom Brady stated "it's best I leave the field of play to the next generation of dedicated and committed athletes" when he called it quits in February, but the G.O.A.T isn't the only one to row back on words said in a retirement speech.

Brett Favre - "I don't think I've got anything left to give"

Retired March 2008 and February 2009

Brett Favre said he was "guilty of retiring early" and that he was "never fully committed" to retirement when he spoke to Fox News four months after calling it a day - even stating that he was pressured by the Green Bay Packers into making a decision before the draft and free agent signing period.

The Packers traded Favre to the New York Jets in August of that year but, after a good start, he and the Jets faded from 8-3 to finish 9-7 with the veteran QB throwing eight interceptions and only two touchdown passes down the stretch.

He retired again in February 2009 and unretired again before the start of the next season, later leading the Minnesota Vikings to the playoffs, where they ultimately lost the NFC Championship game in overtime to the eventual Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints.

After throwing for his 500th NFL touchdown and 70,000th passing yard in 2010, his final season, a sprained shoulder brought an end to his consecutive regular-season start streak at 297.

Marshawn Lynch - "I'm done. I'm done"

Retired February 2016

Marshawn Lynch announced his retirement via Twitter by posting a picture of his football cleats hanging from a telephone wire, later telling 60 minutes: "I enjoyed my time playing. Now it's time to watch my cousins do their thing."

But the temptation to don the Silver and Black of his hometown Oakland Raiders proved too much for the legendary rusher and he was back in the league after a one-year hiatus.

After showing flashes of his best during two years in Oakland, he finished the 2018 season and said he had no plans to play football again.

Lynch, alongside ex-team-mate Robert Turbin, answered an emergency call from the Seattle Seahawks in December 2019 when their former team lost three running backs to injury.

Three touchdowns in that season's playoffs moved Lynch into fourth place on the all-time postseason rushing TDs list.

Ricky Williams - "Most positive thing (I've ever done)"

Retired August 2004

Reflecting on his decision to retire after just five years in the NFL, Ricky Williams said he had no regrets as it allowed him time to find himself.

He took a course in Ayurveda - the ancient Indian system of holistic medicine - and appeared to be lost to the game at the age of 27.

Williams officially returned to the Dolphins in July 2005, paid back a percentage of his signing bonus and completed his four-game suspension.

He was suspended again for the entire 2006 season, but later returned to the Dolphins' backfield for three more years and tacked on another as a Baltimore Raven to finish his NFL career with over 10,000 rushing yards.

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Deion Sanders - "I've got to really get my head together and figure out what I'm going to do"

Retired July 2001

Deion Sanders' abrupt decision to quit a year into a seven-year deal in Washington always seemed to have been made in haste and, after being coaxed out of retirement by Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis, among others, he returned to the NFL with the Ravens aged 37 in 2004.

He scored his ninth career TD off an interception return that year and remained in Baltimore through the 2005 season too, playing in all 16 games, before retiring for good in January 2006.

Reggie White - "In some respects, it's time" (Packers coach Mike Holmgren)

Retired April 1998 and February 1999

The Packers "unretired" the legendary defensive tackle two days after Holmgren had relayed Reggie White's plans to quit at the age of 36.

White tallied 16 sacks and earned Defensive Player of the Year honors in what was to be his last season with the franchise before he made it official in early 1999.

He came out of a one-year retirement and started all 16 games for the Carolina Panthers in 2000 White before finally calling it quits again.

Randy Moss - "After weighing his options and contemplating offers, he's decided to retire" (Agent Joel Segal)

Retired August 2011

The wide receiver couldn't recapture his former dynamism after stepping back into the NFL with the San Francisco 49ers in 2012.

He caught only 28 passes and three touchdowns despite playing all 16 games.

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