Brandon Moore plans to retire (USA Today Sports Images)
Late Tuesday night, Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports 1 reported that free agent guard Brandon Moore had agreed to terms on a one-year contract with the Dallas Cowboys. When Moore awoke on Wednesday morning, he informed the Cowboys that he has decided to retire, Garafolo reports.
According to Garafolo, the contract that the Cowboys offered to the 33-year-old Moore was worth more than the veteran minimum ($940,000 base salary). However, the offer was not enough to coax him away from his family for the next five months.
"I was wrestling with it all night. I was excited, but when you start looking at all the personal factors that go into it and the commitment on the football side and you've been in a different mental state also the past three or four months because no action's been happening, you kind of move on with your life," said Moore. "I was happy with that and fine with that. But when you get a call from a coach I care deeply for in (Cowboys offensive coordinator) Bill Callahan, you start to feel it, you get excited and you're finally like, 'I want to do it.' But you map out the logistics of it all – the physical and mental commitment, the tear on your family...
"I'm a man of my word. I hated letting Bill down," Moore said. "He put the word out to get me there, and I have a lot of respect for him. But I know the Cowboys will move on. They moved on from whoever they moved on before me and they'll move on to somebody else. The game goes on."
The Cowboys will certainly move on, perhaps to six-time Pro Bowler Brian Waters, a 36-year-old free agent who sat out the 2012 season after failing to report to the New England Patriots' training camp. Waters is from the Dallas area and began his career as an undrafted rookie free agent with the Cowboys in 1999.
As hard it may be to understand why Moore would walk away from a potentially seven-figure salary, it's important to remember that players rarely dictate how they leave the game. Even in Moore's case, he was willing to keep playing, but had lingered for months on a free agent market that has shown little interest in paying veteran guards approaching their mid-30s.
There's also the risk/reward aspect of the decision to consider.
Moore has started 142 of the 144 regular season games he's played in during his 10-year career with the New York Jets. According to official NFL playing-time documents, Moore logged 9,200 offensive snaps for the Jets, playing in 96.3 percent of the team's snaps from 2004, his first season as a full-time starter, through a disappointing 2012 season that featured the "butt fumble". Moore was also in on 545 special teams plays during his career. When you add those snaps to all the training camp and in-season practices, preseason games, postseason games, games played in college and high school, it's reasonable of Moore, or any player over the age of 30, to wonder if the extra money is worth the additional physical toll that will come from grappling and butting heads with 330-pound defensive linemen for the next five months.
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