A History of Athletes Retiring as Champions

Cliff Battles

Career years: 1932-1937
Accolades: NFL champion (1937), two-time NFL Rushing champion (1932, 1937), six-time All-Pro (1932-1937), Pro Football Hall of Fame (1968)
Last stand: 1937 NFL Championship Game, Dec. 12, 1937, Wrigley Field, Chicago: Redskins 28 Bears 21

In 1937 Cliff Battles became the first player in NFL history to rush for over 200 yards in a game; this would also be a season in which Battles would lead the Redskins to their first championship. During the '37 season Battles also captured the league rushing title en route to the championship. Unlike other athletes on this list Battles didn't retire because of old age or a feeling of career completion. He simply decided enough was enough when 'Skins owner George Preston Marshall wouldn't raise his $3,000 salary. Battles instead opted to coach the Columbia University football team for $4,000 the following season. Ah, the good old days.

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