Age, injuries, diminishing skills—athletes retire for a variety of reasons. And while many stick around for way too long or make comeback attempts that tarnish their legacy (ahem, Brett Favre), some sports stars have called it quits (sometimes temporarily) at the peak of their careers. One of the most prominent examples is Barry Sanders,who hung 'em up just shy of setting the all-time rushing record. The 10-time Pro Bowler turns 44 today and in light of his birthday we're looking back at athletes who left their respective sports while on top of their game.

Some ballers left to pursue acting careers while others just got tired of handling sticks and balls for a living. Ayo! From Jim Brown to Sandy Koufax, here is a  History of Great Athletes Who Retired (By Choice) During Their Prime...