5 former Detroit Lions who are unsurprisingly still free agents as June nears

Detroit Lions v New York Giants
Detroit Lions v New York Giants / Jim McIsaac/GettyImages
5 of 6
Adrian Peterson, Detroit Lions
NFC Wild Card Playoffs - New York Giants v Minnesota Vikings / Stephen Maturen/GettyImages

In this week's edition of "who kicked over the rock you've been under", Peterson made it clear he is not officially retired.

Via the Fort Worth Star-Telegram:

"Mentally, I haven’t officially hung it up,” Peterson said. “We’ll see what happens. My mindset is, if God’s willing maybe an opportunity presents itself and maybe it happens this season. I’ll go from there. But nothing happens this season. For sure, I will be hanging it up.”

Some will say if anyone can be a productive running back at age 38, and after not playing last season to boot, it's Peterson. But the reality is he has not been a particularly useful player since 2016, including his one season with the Lions in 2020 (604 rushing yards, seven touchdowns, 3.9 yards per carry). He did have a 1,000-yard rushing season with Washington in 2018 (1,042 yards), but he needed the fifth-most carries in the league (251) to get that done.

Of course, though he has given up on the idea he'll top Emmitt Smith as the NFL's all-time leading rusher, Peterson is chasing some historic numbers. He is 352 yards from passing Barry Sanders for fourth on the all-time rushing list, and he's four touchdowns from passing Marcus Allen for third all-time in that category. Even if he signs with a team in the coming weeks or months, sticking around and having enough of a role to reach those numbers is a question.

Peterson might not be retired in his mind just yet. He isn't the first and he won't be the last pro athlete to say that. But the 32 NFL teams have effectively retired him, for basically a year now, and it's hard to see anyone making him essentially a ceremonial signing for the 2023 season.