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Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013
Almost unnoticedPosted Friday, September 5, 2008, at 7:38 AM
Thursday was somewhat of a sad day for fans of the National Football League.
That is, before the 2008 season officially kicked off in the evening.
After nine seasons in the NFL, former Vikings quarterback Daunte Culpepper called it quits, sending out an e-mail to journalists that he was retiring from league play.
Culpepper began his career in Minnesota in 1999, playing just one game.
However, he erupted on the scene officially in 2000, throwing for 3,937 yards while tossing 33 touchdowns. The Vikings finished the season with an 11-5 record.
Culpepper played in just 11 games the following season, but threw for 3,853 yards in 2002.
He threw 25 touchdowns in 2003 while tossing for 3,479 yards.
But in 2004, during Peyton Manning's historic season where he broke Dan Marino's all-time touchdown record, Culpepper had a season to remember.
In a complete season, Culpepper had a completion rate of 69.2 percent. He completed 379-of-548 passes.
He tossed 39 touchdowns while throwing for 4,717 yards. For the season, Culpepper was responsible for nearly 295 yards per game, leading the league in that category in addition to completions and yards.
But things started falling apart in 2005.
He was injured after just seven games and the Vikings elected to trade him for a second-round pick in 2006 to the Miami Dolphins.
Culpepper played just four games with the Dolphins and was traded to the Oakland Raiders for the 2007 season.
He played in only four games with the Raiders, posting only five touchdowns.
In his final three years, he threw only 13 touchdowns next to 20 interceptions.
For his career, Culpepper finished with 22,422 passing yards and 142 touchdowns.
But if he had not been injured, things may have been completely different.
Unfortunately, players get hurt all the time in the NFL. Careers rarely last beyond 10 years. In fact, most running backs don't play five seasons.
But Culpepper appeared to be on the verge of greatness. Until he blew out a knee in 2005, only one season after posting numbers good enough in any other year to be voted the league MVP.
Culpepper will be thought of as a footnote in the history of the league. A player that seemed destined for greatness, but witnessed it all unravel due to injury.
So long. Farewell.
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