We all know it can be very hard to say goodbye to something you love. That sentiment can be even more true for athletes.
Many athletes leave the game when they feel like they have nothing left to give, but some top athletes realize they have more gas left in the tank after they retire. While some of these stellar players left the game in their prime, others seemed to be ageless wonders that could play forever.
Here are some of the biggest names in sports that walked away from the game only to hit the restart button on their careers and compete once again.
Favre talked about retirement for many years before saying farewell to a distinguished 16-year career with the Packers in March of 2008. That retirement only lasted one off season. The 11-time Pro Bowler returned to football in August of that same year as a New York Jet. He played with the Jets for one season before retiring again briefly in February of 2009 only to then sign with the Minnesota Vikings that August. Favre played for two more seasons with the Vikings before officially calling it quits in 2011.
Jordan’s retirements were as infamous as his career. After leading the Bulls to three consecutive titles, the five-time MVP called it quits in 1993 to play baseball. He returned to the Bulls a year later and led the dynasty to a second three-peat before retiring again in 1998. The second retirement lasted a little bit longer, however Jordan returned to the game in 2001, this time with the Washington Wizards. He played two seasons in Washington before ending his career for good in 2003. Guess third time’s a charm.
In 2015, Lynch shocked the NFL by announcing his retirement from the league via Twitter the same day as Super Bowl 50. Though he occasionally battled injury, Lynch was arguably at the height of his career. Lucky for Beastmode fans, his retirement was short-lived. The five-time pro bowler decided to return to the field in 2017 to play for his hometown team the Oakland (now Las Vegas) Raiders.
NASCAR gave driving legend Jeff Gordon a grand farewell tour in 2015 following an impressive 15-year racing career. Eight months after the touching departure, Gordon found himself once again behind the wheel for Hendrick Motorsports. He replaced Dale Earnhardt Jr. in July of 2016 when Earnhardt was sidelined with concussion-like symptoms for two months. His final race was in October of the same year at Martinsville.
Clemens first walked away from baseball in 2003 to a standing ovation in Game 4 of the World Series as a New York Yankee. That retirement lasted less than a year. The seven-time Cy Young Award winner came returned to the mound that very next season to play for the Houston Astros. He threw for the Astros for three seasons before returning to the Yankees again in 2007. He retired from the majors officially that same year.