Former Miami Dolphins wide receiver Chris Chambers is retiring from football after a 10-year NFL career. During that time, Chambers caught 540 passes for 7,648 yards, with 58 touchdowns, spending time with three teams. He led the league in yards per reception during his rookie year (2001) and had his best statistical season in 2005, when he caught 82 passes for 1,118 yards and 11 touchdowns, all single season career highs and resulting in his lone Pro Bowl performance.
Chambers was drafted in the second round by the Dolphins in 2001. He would spend six-and-a-half seasons in Miami before being traded to the San Diego Charger in 2007. Chambers would be waived by the Chargers during the 2009 season, catching on with the Kansas City Chiefs after they put in a waiver claim for the former Pro Bowler. Chambers was released by the Chiefs in July of last year, sitting out the past season before deciding to retire.
Now, according to a National Football Post tweet:
Former #Dolphins wide receiver Chris Chambers, 33, has retired from the NFL after ten seasons. He'd like to sign a one-day deal with Miami.— NationalFootballPost (@FootballPost) June 16, 2012
Which, on the surface, sounds like the right thing of the Dolphins to do. And, in this "open and transparent" mindset of the franchise right now, it's probably something the team will do. But, it made me wonder, what constitutes a player we as fans want to have retire as a Dolphin?
When Zach Thomas was retiring, it was a given he should come back to Miami to retire. Thomas is one of the all time Dolphins greats, ranking third according to Pro-Football-Reference's Approximate Value Register. Thomas collected over 1,600 tackles with the Dolphins (only beating his brother-in-law Jason Taylor, the team's second leading tackler all time, but a mean 1,100 tackles), was named to seven Pro Bowls and was a five time First Team All Pro Selection with Miami. Thomas would play one season with the Dallas Cowboys, followed by an unsuccessful attempt to recover from concussion syndromes with the Kansas City Chiefs for the 2009 season, because calling his 14 year NFL career complete.
Zach Thomas clearly deserved the honor of a one-day contract to retire as a member of the Dolphins. But, what's the line? Is there a line? Should any player who played a portion of their career with the team have the ability to return to the team on a one-day contract to be able to retire in Miami?
What if a player like Scott Mitchell, who played so well as a fill in guy for Dan Marino that the Detroit Lions signed him as their starting quarterback in 1994, wanted a one-day contract when he was retiring? After playing four seasons with the Dolphins, Mitchell would play five seasons with the Lions, followed by one year with the Baltimore Raves and two seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals. Could he have gotten the honor of signing that one-day contract?
Which brings us back to Chambers. Does he deserve to be signed to a one-day contract? Chambers currently has the eighth highest receiving yardage in a single year (1,118 years in 2005). That same season saw Chambers catch the fourth largest number of passes in a single season with the Dolphins. Six times a receiver for Miami has caught 11 passes in one season, the fifth highest number in team history. Two of those six belong to Chambers.
Chambers' career numbers as a Dolphins player rank in the top five all time in team history: receptions (405 - fifth), yards (5,688 - fourth), and touchdowns (43 - fourth). He was a Pro Bowler, but it was just that one season in 2005.
Is that enough to offer a one day contract for the honor of retiring in a Miami Dolphins jersey?
I don't really have an answer. Chambers was a big player for the Dolphins - and was a fan favorite when he was here. But is that enough to push the Dolphins to make a show of signing Chambers for one day?
If the Dolphins were to sign Chambers for one day so he could retire as a member of the team, I think it would be a great thing for Chambers, and a fan base desperate to forget about three straight losing seasons. Maybe the greatest part of Chambers wanting to do this is the fact that he wants to do it. With all the bad publicity and "players don't want to sign with Miami" stories this offseaon, a former player wants to come home for a on-day ceremonial contract so he can rite as a member of the Dolphins.
But, if they didn't do it, I would not think they were snubbing Chambers at all. Maybe it's best described with a shrug of the shoulders. It's a pretty indifferent attitude I have toward the idea of Chambers retiring as a Dolphins player.
And maybe that's the answer. If a player is worthy of the one-day honor, should a fan feel indifferent about whether or not the ceremony is conducted?
[Hat tip to Maguss]