In 1998 Barry Sanders did the unthinkable for a 30 year old Hall of Fame running back: he walked away from the game and never looked back. At the time media speculation rampantly suggested Sanders was simply disgruntled and would return possibly with another team.
In the fifteen years that have passed Sanders has not resurfaced content instead knowing he perhaps made the shiftiest move he could ever make: a clean retirement with his health in tact.
Today's NFL is a starkly different world than the one that put Sanders and others like Eric Dickerson, Lenny Moore, Marshall Faulk or even Edgerrin James on a pedestal. The average length of career for good NFL running backs is less than seven years. The average draft position for running backs is dropping which is bad news because draft position is the only solid predictor of earning potential. In short the league doesn't value running backs in the same way it once did.
Enter Donald Brown, one of the most productive collegiate rushers available in the 2009 NFL Draft and clearly one of the brightest players available at any position. Fans and pundits alike praised the Indianapolis Colts after selecting Brown in the first round. Two short years later those same people had labeled Brown a "bust."no comments