Edwards Walks Away

It is unusual for athletes to walk away from their sport in their prime.  Barry Sanders did it.  Now too, so has Carl Edwards.  The Nascar driver walked away from Joe Gibbs Racing with a year left on his contract.  His announcement came as a surprise to everyone – his car owner, his teammates and of course Nascar fans.

So what prompted him to step away?  He says he has other passions that he wants to devote more time to.  The top level of Nascar has a grueling schedule.  It has kept him from his family and other interests.  He is healthy and wants to be so 30 years from now.

Some skeptics have whispered that perhaps a failed drug test could be responsible.  Unlike other sports, Nascar does not announce these things.  I’d like to think that the rumor is unfounded.  Has the concussion problems encountered by Dale Earnhardt, Jr. been part of the decision?  This is more likely in my mind.

Most athletes cannot leave the sport that has been part of their lives for so long.  In some cases it’s the money they make that keeps them going beyond their prime.  More likely is the love they have for what they do that keeps them plugging away.  Edwards, like most athletes today, has plenty of money.  His wife is a doctor which can’t hurt the bank account either.

One friend of mine has suggested that the leave is temporary.  He believes that Edwards will return to big time racing.  He also thinks it will be in Jr.’s #88 – a thought that is intriguing if not totally believable.

The view from my seat suggests that whether or not we see Carl Edwards back in the top tier of Nascar racing remains to be seen.  If not then I say thanks Carl for the memories.  Best of luck in whatever you choose to do in replacement.