But Sanders must have seen the writing on the wall.He was criticized for calling it quits at the height of his career. But he touched the ball 380 times in that last season of 1998 – nearly matching his career of 383 touches when he was a 23-year-old phenom in 1991.That’s a lot of work for a guy Sanders’ age. And it led to one of the least productive years of his career. Sanders ran the ball 343 times for 1,491 yards – very good numbers – but averaged just 4.35 YPA in 1998, well below his standards (career 5.0 YPA).Plus, Sanders had reached the historic wall. He had played – you guessed it – 10 years. He would have turned – you guessed it – 31 before the start of the 1999 season.He might have played a few years more. But he left at the right time. Much of history tells us it would have been as a plodding, overworked mule ready to kick the dust, rather than the speedy thoroughred leaving defenders in his dust.
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