Once thought to be one of the better quarterbacks on the free agent market, Marc Bulger passed up opportunities to be a starter once again – or to return to Baltimore as a backup – and retired. Below are some thoughts on Bulger’s career; you can see how he compares to other 2011 retirees in this post.
Bulger’s career started with a whimper, but before he was done he made some pretty significant impacts in the NFL. The sixth-round pick by the Saints in 2000 landed with the Rams and broke into the starting lineup in 2002. Before long, he had replaced Kurt Warner as a triggerman in Mike Martz’s Greatest Show on Turf offense, and Bulger wasn’t much of a drop-off. He made Pro Bowls in 2003 and 2006 as he completed 60-percent plus of his passes and had three 20-plus TD seasons. But Bulger also took a terrific beating, suffering at least 37 sacks in five different seasons (plus 26 in a half season in 2005). By 2007, Bulger’s performance in St. Louis started to decline, and he lost the starting job for good in St. Louis in 2009. Last season, Bulger didn’t play as Joe Flacco’s backup in Baltimore. And this season, he had the chance to return to Baltimore as a backup, or to fight for starting jobs in Arizona and Carolina, among other places. But Bulger’s heart wasn’t in it any more. His former teammate at West Virginia (and for a year with the Rams), Anthony Becht, blamed the Rams on Bulger’s somewhat early retirement. Becht tweeted: “Marc Bulger retires and is better than 70 percent of the QBs in the league right now. You can thank the Rams for his shortened career. After taking so many hits with that offensive line that they would never spend money on to help him carve up defenses like he could. Took the passion right out of him. Congrats my friend on a spectacular career that could have been much better… Opportunities weren’t the reason Bulger retired. That’s a fact. Know for sure 6 NFL teams wanted his services this year.” Whether or not Becht is correct, Bulger leaves with a solid 10-year career that far outpaced his draft position. Leaving that kind of legacy – and leaving when you want – is a pretty fond way to say goodbye.
*Language translated from Twitter-ese