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5 Times a Respected NFL Quarterback Has Quietly Retired Without Fanfare

Sportscasting logo: MainLogo Sportscasting 10/23/2022 Produced by Digital Editors

NFL quarterbacks are often the heart and soul of their teams. However, some quarterbacks end up retiring unceremoniously. Given that the position comes with the most star power, it is big news when a star disappears from the spotlight. 

Unsurprisingly, this public scrutiny typically extends past the quarterbacks’ careers on the field to their retirement years. Here are five times a respected NFL quarterback retired quietly without much fanfare and where they are now. 

1. Blake Bortles

Now-retired quarterback Blake Bortles with the Los Angeles Rams in 2019 | Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images © Provided by Sportscasting Now-retired quarterback Blake Bortles with the Los Angeles Rams in 2019 | Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

Blake Bortles played in the NFL for eight years. He spent the better part of his career with the Jacksonville Jaguars, leading the team to a division title and the AFC Championship game.

Bortles played college football at UCF, bagging an MVP of the 2014 Fiesta Bowl. Besides playing for the Jaguars, Bortles performed brief stints for the Los Angeles Rams, Green Bay Packers, Denver Broncos, and New Orleans Saints. 

During his time on and off the pitch, Bortles lived a relatively normal celebrity life, with almost no controversy or scandal. Unsurprisingly, he didn’t retire publicly, admitting his retirement two months later in a Pardon My Take podcast interview.

According to ESPN, Bortles is still living off the radar. Little is known about his career. However, while his reasons for retirement aren’t clear, Bortles is confident that he is willing to return to the field if offered a $15 million 2-year deal. 

2. Rex Grossman

Rex Grossman III played in the NFL for 11 seasons, spending the better part of his career with the Chicago Bears. He played college football at the University of Florida. The Bears later chose him in the first round of the 2003 NFL Draft.

During his first three years, he struggled with injuries, but still managed a successful season in 2006 when he led the Bears to a Super Bowl appearance. Despite his inconsistent play, he was named the team’s starting quarterback in the 2007 season.

Besides the Bears, Grossman also played for the Houston Texans, Washington Redskins, Cleveland Browns, and Atlanta Falcons. However, he chose to retire on his terms, claiming that his mental focus was no longer in the game.

Currently, Grossman is a successful businessman. He owns a nurse staffing agency in Florida and hopes to return to the game in a coaching capacity.

3. Byron Leftwich

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Byron Leftwich played in the NFL for 10 seasons for the Jacksonville Jaguars, Atlanta Falcons, Pittsburgh Steelers, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

After retiring in 2012, Leftwich dedicated his love for the game to coaching. He started his coaching career under Bruce Arians with the Arizona Cardinals. In 2019, he rejoined Arians as the Buccaneers’ offensive coordinator (where he currently works), helping them win Super Bowl LV. 

4. Joey Harrington

Joey Harrington spent seven seasons in the NFL. After a successful college football career, he played most of his career for the Detroit Lions. After the 2005 season with the Lions, Harrington moved to the Miami Dolphins, Atlanta Falcons, and New Orlean Saints. 

After retiring in 2009, Harrington turned his passion for TV and music. He became a well-accomplished jazz pianist. Besides his music career, Harrington is also a local news anchor for a local Portland news station. 

5. Jimmy Clausen

Jimmy Clausen had a short five-year career in the NFL (2010-15). Clausen started his football career at Notre Dame. Later, the Carolina Panthers chose the QB in the second round of the 2010 NFL Draft. Clausen also played for the Chicago Bears and Baltimore Ravens.

He left the NFL quietly in 2015 and is currently caring for his young family. Despite his retirement, Clausen channeled his love for football by joining the American Flag Football League, where he is currently a player. 

Despite their best efforts to leave the game without controversy, most former quarterbacks have a story or two to be told. However, they are mostly known for their amazing skills on the field during their brief or extended careers.

RELATED: Jimmy Johnson Tried to Trade up to Draft for Peyton Manning but Failed for 1 Reason

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