Some quit on their teams, some on themselves, some while they were ahead. Heck, some even like quitting so much they've done it more than once (see below). Here is Kevin Hench's list of the most infamous quitters in sports.
Watch out, Bills fans. Terrell Owens has already left two locker rooms in ruins, starting with the Eagles and then moving on to the Cowboys. Will he be a new man in Buffalo, or is will that just be the next city to feel the pain.
Oliver McCall's 1997 bout with Lennox Lewis will be remembered as one of the most bizarre title matches ever. After a sluggish performance by McCall in the first few rounds, "The Atomic Bull" let his guard down and refused to fight in the fourth and fifth rounds, and eventually broke down in tears. Referee Mills Lane stopped the contest, declaring Lewis the victor. McCall claimed he was playing possum in an attempt to wear out his opponent, but many are skeptical as to his condition (both physically and mentally) at the time.
Jim Brown's retirement left NFL fans wanting more. He was only 29 when he called it a career with the Cleveland Browns, having played nine seasons. At his retirement he was the NFL's single-season and career leader in rushing yards (though both records were later broken). He stuck to his plan not to return to the field, so if fans wanted to see him in later years, they had to go watch his movies.
You spend your whole career building up this big Manos de Piedra (Hands of Stone) reputation, then you decide you've had enough in one little fight, and poof! all of a sudden you're Mr. "No Mas." Duran has maintained it was stomach cramps that made him throw in the towel during his 1980 fight with Sugar Ray Leonard, but others insist the Panamanian was merely frustrated by Leonard's preference for dancing over fighting.
It's been 11 years since the dazzling running back stunned the football world and his team, the Detroit Lions, by hanging up his cleats at age 30. He made the announcement in a fax to his hometown newspaper, the Wichita Eagle. Seemingly still in his prime, he was within striking distance of becoming the NFL's all-time leading rusher. For years there was speculation he would return, but he never did. It wasn't until several years after he quit that he finally admitted that playing for a perennial loser like the Lions had beaten him down.
Brett Favre's decision to walk away from the Jets after last season appears to be a new twist on quitting, even for him. Heading to the Vikings -- if he does it -- would be his ultimate parting shot at the Packers, the team he "retired" from a year before going to New York.
Long John isn't the first golfer to withdraw from a tournament after shooting a big number, but he's almost made an art form of the practice. Sometimes he just walks off the course without even telling tournament officials. For all the good things Daly does, interacting with fans and supporting charities, his reputation for unreliability keeps dogging him.
Dolphins fans knew they wouldn't have their star running back for the first four games of the 2004 season because of his suspension after failing an NFL drug test for marijuana. But what they didn't expect was Williams "retiring" two days before the start of training camp. During his yearlong "sabbatical" (he returned to the NFL in 2005), Williams spent time in India, the Australian Outback and we swear we are not making this up Grass Valley, Calif.
Borg won 11 Grand Slam singles titles between 1974 and 1981, including five Wimbledons and six French Opens. His last major win was the 1981 French, and later that year, after losing in the U.S. Open final to nemesis John McEnroe, he effectively ended his career, playing only once in 1982 and announcing his retirement in January 1983. He was 26. He tried making a comeback in the early 1990s, stubbornly clinging to his old wooden racquet in the face of technology, but his era had long since passed. There would be no "Bjorn Again."
Manny Ramirez's antics eventually wore out in Boston. After years of "Manny Being Manny," the Red Sox finally got tired of the zany outfielder's apparent lack of regard for his teammates in the middle of the 2008 season and traded him off to the Dodgers.
It was one thing to play second fiddle to Michael Jordan, but Toni Kukoc? That was too much for Pippen to bear. In a 1994 playoff game against the Knicks, Pippen refused to go back on the floor for the final 1.8 seconds after coach Phil Jackson called on Kukoc, not Pippen, to take the final shot. Postscript: While Pippen pouted, Kukoc made the shot and the Bulls won.