The road to NFL retirement

The decision to move on doesn't come down to just economics. It's also emotional.

Updated: February 9, 2012, 6:02 PM ET
By Elizabeth Merrill | ESPN.com

The family RV rolled into Naples, Fla., just after dawn Wednesday, 22½ hours after Matt Birk left Maryland with his wife, six kids and a dog. They were about to embark on a little offseason retreat, and by the sounds in the background, it was clear the kids -- ranging from 9 years old to 6 weeks old -- were revved up. They hollered Dada and horsed around until Birk finally pulled the phone away and said, "Will you play football for a while?"

He might have come into the NFL alone, ...

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