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PRESTON: Time for former Baltimore Ravens QB Joe Flacco to call new play, move on

MIKE PRESTON
The Baltimore Sun (TNS)
Quarterback Joe Flacco was recently waived by the Denver Broncos.
  • The Denver Broncos waived quarterback Joe Flacco last week.
  • The Broncos cut ties with the former Raven with a failed-physical designation.
  • Flacco is now a free agent. He said last season he wants to keep playing.

Joe should just say no.

There is speculation that former Ravens starting quarterback Joe Flacco wants to continue his 12-year career in the NFL as a backup, but he should retire.

He should say no to the Philadelphia Eagles, the New York Jets or any other team that wants to offer him that position. And he should say goodbye to those nasty beatings his body has absorbed on Sunday afternoons that led to several injuries.

He has nothing else to prove.

The Denver Broncos waived Flacco last week with a failed-physical designation. Flacco was placed on injured reserve halfway through last season with a herniated disk in his neck.

Now, he is an unrestricted free agent.

At the end of last season, Flacco said he still wanted to play even if he had to become a backup, which made me wonder why.

Why would he want to risk more potential injuries after a successful career that included a Super Bowl championship in the 2012 season and a Super Bowl Most Valuable Player award?

Joe Flacco

Flacco needs to say no: The need to be in a competitive situation is understandable. There is also the love of the game and the ego gratification of playing in front of 70,000 fans every week. For a lot of these guys, they can’t let it go — the fame, the money, the desire to be great.

But for Flacco, he needs to just say no.

He missed eight games with the Broncos last season. In Baltimore, he had hip, shoulder and back injuries during the latter part of his stay here, not to mention the torn ACL and MCL in his left knee in Week 11 of the 2015 season. During the past five seasons, Flacco played in only 59 of 80 possible games.

There was the concussion diagnosis in 2017 and some others the doctors might have missed when Flacco was so glassy eyed in postgame interview sessions.

Whenever a doctor talks about neck, back, shoulder and head injuries and playing football, it should give you pause. And 15 to 20 years from now, you have to wonder if Flacco is going to be walking like a penguin, shuffling side to side, like you see so many old, great players doing.

Sad to see: It’s just sad to see.

It was tough watching Flacco play in Denver last season. His skills were already on decline in Baltimore, but he had less chance for success in Denver with the Broncos’ lack of a downfield passing game and play makers.

Overall, Flacco was solid with the Broncos, averaging 227.8 passing yards with six touchdowns and five interceptions. But after a couple of close losses early, he started to look old and uncomfortable.

That happens when your head starts getting pounded into the turf on a weekly basis.

Could be a backup: Now there is talk that Flacco could become a backup in Philadelphia or New York. The Jets seem logical because Flacco is from Audubon, New Jersey, and he could mentor young quarterback Sam Darnold.

But Flacco as a mentor? That didn’t work too well here in Baltimore. Just ask Lamar Jackson.

Maybe I am wrong. Maybe Flacco can adapt to the life of wearing a baseball cap backwards and serving as an adviser. He certainly has that type of demeanor.

But he should also reflect on what he accomplished throughout his 11 seasons in Baltimore. He completed 3,499 passes for 38,245 yards and 212 touchdowns while leading the Ravens to the playoffs six times, winning two AFC North titles and playing in three AFC championship games.

Super Bowl run won't be forgotten in Baltimore: No Ravens fan will forget the sizzling hot Flacco in the run to the Super Bowl title, when he tied Joe Montana’s record for 11 touchdowns in the postseason without an interception. About a month later, the Ravens made Flacco the highest-paid quarterback in the league with a six-year deal worth $120.6 million.

Three years later, Flacco got another contract worth $66.4 million for the remaining three seasons.

In Baltimore, Flacco was well-liked and respected. He was a polarizing figure with the fans, but that’s the life of most NFL quarterbacks. He’ll go into the Ravens Ring of Honor one day. You never had to worry about him embarrassing the organization or not playing hard on game day. Win or lose, he was going to play as hard as possible.

That’s why you wish the best for him.

That’s why he should say no.