Fryar Ends NFL Career
At approximately 7 PM on December 27, 1998, the sun set on the career of one of the better receivers in the NFL. Having faced the dismal Eagles season, and the imminent firing of the head coach, Irving Fryar read the writing on the wall. For a man who had a stellar career, he wanted to go out on his terms. The week prior to the last game of the season for the Eagles, Irving Fryar announced he would retire after the game.
Fryar knew that head coach Ray Rhodes would be fired the day after the final game, he knew he did not stand a chance of returning to the Eagles next season, under a new coaching staff. He did not want to shop himself around, especially at his age, so he decided to put on his uniform for the last time. This was a man who ran the full spectrum while in the NFL. He went from a loose cannon to a religious man. He had came to grips with his mistakes and found a way to change. He is leaving this game as one of the best.
In 1984, Irving Fryar was selected as the top pick in the draft, going to the New England Patriots. The early part of his career was far from spectacular. He was constantly hanging on the edge. One incident occured when he was injured during a game, and then left the stadium before the game was finished. Shortly after he left the stadium, he was involved in an accident, running his car into a tree. He was involved in bar-room incidents, which left him injured. He did managed to stay in the NFL and played with the Patriots for nine season. In April 1993, Fryar was traded to the Miami Dolphins for two draft picks. From there, he became a favorite target for Dan Marino. He played with Miami for three season.
Jimmy Johnson took over the Dolphins in 1996 and opted not to keep Fryar, so he went looking. He did not have to go far. The Eagles signed him to a three-year deal. From there, he went on to have two Pro Bowl years. He caught over 80 passes in each of those years, and was selected as the offensive MVP for the Eagles both seasons. However, things changed at the start of this season.
Fryar wanted to renegotiated his contract. He wanted his salary increased and an extension. Management was not moving on the request. During the off-season, Fryar missed all of the optional practice sessions. The lack of practice time seemed to show on Fryar as he entered training camp. It looked as if his age finally caught up with him. During the season, the Eagles did extend his contract with incentive clauses, but the terrible season let him know the Eagles would not pay that type of money to a player at his age. Any way you look at it, he went out as a professional, and gave a great effort for the team and their fans.