NFL Stars Who Had Shocking Career Revivals

Darren - October 18, 2023

NFL Stars Who Had Shocking Career Revivals

Darren - October 18, 2023

CBS Sports

Derrick Henry

It’s crazy to think it now but there was a time when people wrote off Henry. It didn’t help that he played second fiddle to DeMarco Murray for two seasons. This seriously limited his opportunities and that’s why some people thought that there was no place for him in Nashville.

Sky Sports

But Henry had one of the great career revivals and became the Titans’ most important player. Arguably, they depended on him more than anybody else from 2018 onwards. He won the NFL Offensive Player of the Year award in 2020 as he set historic numbers (via The Draft Network).

Kurt Warner

Warner’s story is one of the greatest career revivals ever. He was working in a grocery store before he made it to the NFL because he was desperate to pay his bills. The Northern Iowa star went undrafted but he didn’t give up on his dream. Warner played Arena Football and in NFL Europe before he earned a backup berth in St. Louis.


Trent Green’s injury was Warner’s golden opportunity and he never looked back. This was the beginning of ‘The Greatest Show on Turf’ as the Rams won the Super Bowl. It’s one of the most inspiring stories in sports history and Netflix even made a movie about it (via People).

NBC Sports

Baker Mayfield

Mayfield’s career revival came out of nowhere because nobody expected him to become an NFL starter again. His time in Cleveland promised much but his exit was acrimonious. Then he joined the Panthers but his time there was a disaster. The former Heisman Trophy winner joined the Rams as a short-term stopgap.

Fox News

Finally, after Tom Brady retired, the Bucs signed Mayfield. He produced an unexpectedly productive start to his time in Florida. Many analysts expected Tampa Bay to fall into despair after Brady’s departure. However, Mayfield kept them treading water (via NBC Sports).

Sports Illustrated

Thomas Davis

When we talk about shocking career revivals, it’s impossible to overlook Davis. He’s the only NFL player ever to bounce back from three ACL tears to the same knee. This is a ridiculous achievement and shows his incredible strength of character. Most people struggle to return from one of these injuries.


The craziest part of this is that the injuries happened successively. He played two games after he recovered from the second tear before damaging it again. This almost broke him but he decided to keep playing and he became an NFL starter again. Furthermore, he played at an even higher level for the Panthers than before (via WFAE).

Sporting News

Geno Smith

Smith had one of the most astonishing career revivals we’ve ever seen. The Jets made him their starter after he joined in 2013 but he lost his job. There was that shambolic incident with IK Enemkpali that left Smith with a fractured jaw. Smith floated around as a backup for most of the next decade.

The Seattle Times

When Seattle traded Russell Wilson to the Broncos, it left them with Smith and Drew Lock. Most people thought this was one of the weakest quarterback rooms ever. But then Pete Carroll showed his faith and transformed Smith into the Comeback Player of the Year in an incredible story (via Sporting News).