17. Michael Irvin – Retired at 32 in 1999
Just like the quarterback that he caught passes from for so long, wide receiver Michael Irvin’s best years might’ve been behind him in the late 1990’s, but he was still a productive player. In 1997 and 1998, Irvin still had at least 74 receptions and over 1,000 yards receiving.
But in the fourth game of the 1999 season, against the Philadelphia Eagles at the infamous Veterans Stadium, Irvin was tackled and violently thrown to the ground head first. The Eagles fans solidified their reputation by cheering as Irvin was carried off the field on a stretcher. Irvin sustained a spinal cord injury and was forced into early retirement.