Short-Lived Retirements


Cyril Rioli announced his retirement back in June, but rumors have already begun to circulate surrounding a potential return for the former Hawthorn great.

In a surprise turn of events, the rumors have linked Rioli to the Brisbane Lions, a move that could reunite the 29-year old with his former captain, Luke Hodge.

While all of this speculation will likely result in absolutely nada, we here at the Ladbrokes blog thought we’d revisit some of the ultimate short-lived retirement comebacks sports has had to offer.

Lleyton Hewitt

Lleyton Hewitt did not just make a spur of the moment decision to retire – he announced it a year in advance and went on a farewell tour right around the ATP circuit, but he still made a return less than a year late to represent Australia at the Davis Cup.

The 2016 Australian Open was dominated by Hewitt’s retirement – despite the fact that he was beaten in the second round of the tournament.

Hewitt still makes the odd appearance playing doubles on the ATP Tour and it would not surprise to see him return to the Davis Cup arena once again.

Roger Clemens

It wasn’t like Roger Clemens to shy away from a dramatic announcement, and he did just that during the seventh inning stretch of a Yankees game.

Clemens, who had already retired twice after the 2004 and 2005 seasons, showed up in the box at Yankee Stadium to announce that he would indeed be making a return to the Majors.

Luke Hodge

As his Hawthorn teammates carried him off the ground alongside Western Bulldogs great, Bob Murphy, in 2017, it looked as though Hodgey had finally hung them up for good.

Low and behold, three months later rumors began to circulate surrounding Hodgey and the Brisbane Lions, with a trade then being announced one week later.

Hodge signed a one-year deal with Brisbane, and so far deployed his leadership down back.

Michael Jordan

Michael Jordan may be the greatest basketball players of all time, but he sure does love a retirement speech.

Jordan retired from basketball in 1993 to pursue a career in baseball before he retired from baseball in 1995 to return to basketball.

He retired from basketball again in 1999, but he returned for a stint with the Washington Wizards in 2001 before he retired for good in 2003 – but not without hints of a comeback after he became part-owner of the Charlotte Bobcats in 2006.

John Farnham

You need to send the math to NASA to work out how many times John Farnham has retired and then made a comeback.

Farnham first announced his decision to retire in 2002, but he has released several albums and had about 100 comeback tours or shows during the time.

You’re The Voice is a banger though!

Allen Iverson

Allen Iverson was an athlete prone to spur of the moment decisions during his NBA career and it should come as no surprise that he threatened to retire on a number of occasions.

Iverson announced his retirement on December 3 in 2009, but he was back playing less than a week later although this did not stop him holding the threat of retirement over the 76ers for the rest of the season.

It was probably the amount of practice that made AI consider giving the sport away – we all know he is not a particularly big fan of that!

Lance Armstrong

No athlete in history lost more from making a comeback from retirement than Lance Armstrong.

Armstrong retired from racing after winning Tour de France for the seventh time in 2005 and if he had remained in retirement the lengths of his cheating may never have been discovered, but the megalomaniac opted to return in 2009.

Armstrong was unable to win another Tour de France title and he is now right up there with the most hated athletes in the world.

Mario Lemieux

After spending 13 seasons with the Pittsburgh Penguins, Lemiuex’s battle with cancer forced him into retirement in 1997.

With the team in dire financial stress, Lemieux stepped into a front office role in 1999, but being so close to the game eventually caused the veteran to regain the itch for hockey.

Lemieux eventually returned to the Penguins at the age of 35, playing in six more seasons from 2000 up until 2006.

Brett Favre

Another athlete that lost plenty of admirers after returning from retirement is NFL legend Brett Favre.

Favre announced his retirement for the first time in 2008 and would have finished his career as one of the most respected players in the history of the game, but he instead elected to continue his career with both the New York Jets and Minnesota Vikings.

Favre’s reputation took a massive hit when he was caught sexting and sending inappropriate messages to Jets Gameday Host Jenn Sterger and Vikings fans will not forget the pick he threw to lose to the Vikings in the NFC Championship Game against the New Orleans Saints.

Every Boxer Ever

Name a boxer and at some stage they have retired and then made a comeback – even Rocky Balboa.

Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao were the latest boxing superstars to hang up the gloves, eventually returning for a superfight in 2016.

The great one, Muhammad Ali, also isn’t exempt from this list. Already suffering from Parkinson’s disease, Ali requested a title fight against Larry Holmes. Unfortunately Ali’s condition saw him gassed by the 11th round, forcing his trainer to stop the fight.

Michael Clarke

Michael Clarke tearfully announced his retirement from cricket during the 2015 Ashes Series in England, but less than six months later he revealed that he had made a terrible mistake and would make a comeback.

At the time, nobody really knew why Clarke was bothering with a return because a place in the Australian side appeared relatively slim, and as it turned out, that was just the case.

Mark Henry

This may be the shortest retirement in the history of ‘sport’.

The World’s Strongest Man Mark Henry announced his retirement on an episode on Monday Night Raw, but seconds later he attacked WWE Champion John Cena to set-up a WWE Title Match at the next PPV.

How pimp is that pink suit?