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Thursday, June 2, 2011
Lockout-caused retirements on horizon?

By Bill Williamson

New Orleans safety Darren Sharper said he could retire if the lockout wipes out the 2011 season.

I’m sure Sharper is not alone. I bet there are several veterans around the league who could call it a career if the 2011 season is scrapped. It would be very difficult for some veterans to sit out a year and then try to gear back up in 2012.

Here is a look at some of the veterans in the AFC West who potentially may have played their final NFL game if there isn’t a season this fall:

David Binn, long snapper, San Diego: Binn is 39 and was lost in the season opener last year with a nasty hamstring injury. If Binn were to miss virtually two straight seasons, it could be tough for him to come back at the age of 40. Still, he has long best one of the best long snappers in the business and he has always kept himself in good shape.

Brian Dawkins, safety, Denver: Dawkins will be 38 and I think the Broncos are interested in having him for one more season, likely at a reduced rate. If this season is lost, Denver may not be interested in Dawkins in 2012. Yet, he keeps himself in supreme shape and if Dawkins wants to play in 2012, he could get a chance to play somewhere.

Mike Vrabel, linebacker, Kansas City: Vrabel is 35 and the Chiefs have not committed to bringing him back. Still, I could see Kansas City wanting Vrabel for one more season in 2011 if he wants to play. I could see Vrabel -- who is heavily involved in the NFLPA -- deciding to retire if there is no football this season.

Casey Wiegmann, center, Kansas City: Wiegmann is still deciding whether he wants to play in 2011 or not. The general consensus is that Wiegmann, who’ll turn 38 in July, will decide to play in 2011 because he may be refreshed by an extended offseason. The Chiefs want him back. Yet, a lost season could keep Wiegmann at home for good.