10 Oldest Active NFL Players (Updated 2020)

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Playing in the NFL is not something that many people will do for a long time. Understandably so, the physical and mental tolls that it can take on the human body are enormous. This is the main reason that NFL players are so respected and looked up to as modern-day gladiators. According to the WSJ, the average career of a NFL player is only 2.66 years, a number which is seemingly declining.

Perhaps the players get physically drained after a short career, maybe they make enough money to support themselves for life, or possibly the recent advancements in CTE (Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy) have spurred NFL players to retire early and save some the best years of their lives for their family. In any case, it is always inspiring to see our heroes show up on Sunday Night Football padded up and ready to rumble for years on end.

It is probably hard for the average fan to understand how much dedication goes into the players’ daily lives who stay in the NFL for longer than the average career. Here are the oldest football players that are currently listed as active as of March 2020 (following the 2019 NFL season).

Please note that any free agents who did not play until the end of the 2019 regular season were not included on this list.

10. Philip Rivers (December 8, 1981 – Present)

Current Age (as of March 2020): 38 years, 2 months, 26 days
Current Team (as of post 2019 Season): Los Angeles Chargers
Current Position: Quarterback
 Years Active: 2004 – Present (16 years)

Philip Riversimage credit: Wikimedia Commons

Philip Rivers is one of several currently active NFL players who is 38 years old. Rivers turned professional when he was picked during the first round of the 2004 NFL draft by the New York Giants. The team used Rivers to trade the then San Diego (now Los Angeles) Chargers for Eli Manning.

Rivers has always played for the Chargers, starting as the backup quarterback for Drew Brees, and eventually becoming starting quarterback when Brees left for the New Orleans Saints following the 2005 season.

Did You Know?

Although Philip Rivers is yet to win a Super Bowl, he does hold some NFL records, including being the second all-time in consecutive regular season starts by a quarterback in NFL history, and is currently the leader among active quarterbacks having started every regular season game since September 11, 2006.

9. Don Muhlbach (August 17, 1981 – Present)

Current Age (as of March 2020): 38 years, 6 months, 17 days
Current Team (as of post 2019 Season): Detroit Lions
Current Position: Long Snapper
 Years Active: 2004 – Present (16 years)

Don Muhlbachimage credit: Wikimedia Commons

Don Muhlbach is known for being the longtime long snapper of the Detroit Lions. Muhlbach has played for the Lions pretty much his entire professional football career after briefly signing with the Baltimore Ravens as part of its practice squad.

Throughout his 16-year long career Muhlbach has been a solid Long Snapper and he has set many Detroit Lions records. Muhlbach has appeared in 244 games so far, the second-most on the Lions all-time list, only kicker Hanson (sixth all-time at 327) has played more games for the franchise.

Did You Know?

In 2013, Don Muhlbach became the first player from the Detroit Lions’ special teams to make a Pro Bowl that was not a kicker, punter, or kick returner.

8. Matt Schaub (June 25, 1981 – Present)

Current Age (as of March 2020): 38 years, 8 months, 8 days
Current Team (as of post 2019 Season): Atlanta Falcons
Current Position: Quarterback
 Years Active: 2004 – Present (16 years)

Matt Schaubimage credit: Wikimedia Commons

Like a couple of the other players on this list who are about the same age, Matt Schaub has been in the NFL since 2004 and is currently 38 years old. Schaub started his career with the Atlanta Falcons and returned to the team in 2016. He has also played for the Houston Texans, Oakland Raiders, and Baltimore Ravens.

Throughout his career, Schaub has been both a starting quarterback as well as a back up quarterback. Although Schaub is a pretty decent quarterback, he has not won a Super Bowl.

Did You Know?

During the 2019 NFL Season, Matt Schaub completed 460 passing yards during a Week 8 game against the Seattle Seahawks, which is the second most passing yards in a single game by a Falcon all-time and the most ever allowed by the Seahawks against an opposing quarterback.

7. Mike Adams (March 24, 1981 – Present)

Current Age (as of March 2020): 38 years, 11 months, 10 days
Current Team (as of post 2019 Season): Houston Texans
Current Position: Safety
 Years Active: 2004 – Present (16 years)

Mike Adamsimage credit: Wikimedia Commons

Following the 2018 season, it looked like Mike Adams 15-year long career was coming to an end. However, Adams was picked up by the Houston Texans in September 2019 and is still currently signed to the team for the upcoming 2020 season.

Adams has bounced around teams, including the San Francisco 49ers, Cleveland Browns, Denver Broncos, Indianapolis Colts, and Carolina Panthers. He was picked for the Pro Bowl twice, once in 2014 and again in 2015.

Did You Know?

As of the 2019 season, Mike Adams has completed 930 tackles, 30 interceptions, and two defensive touchdowns.

6. L.P. Ladouceur (March 13, 1981 – Present)

Current Age (as of March 2020): 38 years, 11 months, 21 days
Current Team (as of post 2019 Season): Dallas Cowboys
Current Position: Long Snapper
 Years Active: 2005 – Present (15 years)

L.P. Ladouceurimage credit: Wikimedia Commons

L.P. (Louis-Philippe) Ladouceur – who is originally from Montreal, Canada – has been the long snapper for the Dallas Cowboys since 2005. Ladouceur played Canadian-style football in high school, but transitioned to American play after he accepted a scholarship to the University of California, Berkeley.

Ladouceur was actually drafted in the 2004 CFL Draft by the Ottawa Renegades, but he decided to decline the offer to finish school. After graduating, Ladouceur was signed as an undrafted free agent by the New Orleans Saints after the 2005 NFL Draft. A few weeks into the 2005 season, the Cowboys decided to replace Jon Condo with Ladouceur and he has played for the team since then.

Did You Know?

L.P. Ladouceur holds the Dallas Cowboys record for most consecutive games played, which is currently 236.

5. Benjamin Watson (December 18, 1980 – Present)

Current Age (as of March 2020): 39 years, 2 months, 16 days
Current Team (as of post 2019 Season): New England Patriots
Current Position: Tight End
 Years Active: 2004 – Present (15 years)

Benjamin Watsonimage credit: Wikimedia Commons

Like Adam Vinatieri (oldest player on this list), Benjamin Watson’s future with the NFL is uncertain. As of the time of this writing, Watson is still listed as active on New England Patriots roster, even though he has stated that he has contemplated retiring from the NFL for good.

Watson did actually retire following the 2018 season, but was lured out of retirement when New England Patriots, the team who drafted him back in 2004, offered him a contract. Watson was suspended at the start of the 2019 season after he failed a test for performance enhancing drugs in March due to a testosterone supplement prescribed by his doctor during his retirement.

Did You Know?

Although Benjamin Watson has technically been in the NFL for 16 years, he has only played for 15 seasons because he did not play during the entire 2016 season due to an injury.

4. Josh McCown (July 4, 1979 – Present)

Current Age (as of March 2020): 40 years, 7 months, 29 days
Current Team (as of post 2019 Season): Philadelphia Eagles
Current Position: Quarterback
 Years Active: 2002 – Present (18 years)

Josh McCownimage credit: Wikimedia Commons via Keith Allison

Josh McCown has been in the NFL for 18 years and has bounced around various teams since he started his career in 2002. As of the 2019 season, McCown is the quarterback for the Philadelphia and in the past he has played for the Arizona Cardinals, Detroit Lions, Carolina Panthers, Chicago Bears, the Cleveland Browns, New York Jets, and a few other teams.

McCown comes from a family of football players; his younger brother Luke McCown was in the NFL for 13 years. The McCowns have another brother, Randy, who played football for Texas A&M.

Did You Know?

Josh McCown briefly retired following the 2018 season and worked as an ESPN analyst.

3. Drew Brees (January 15, 1979 – Present)

Current Age (as of March 2020): 41 years, 1 month, 18 days
Current Team (as of post 2019 Season): New Orleans Saints
Current Position: Quarterback
 Years Active: 2001 – Present (19 years)

Drew Breesimage credit: Flickr via Kieth Allison

Drew Brees became a breakout NFL star back when he won the 2009 Super Bowl. With well over 20 noteworthy awards and/or NFL records, Brees is one of the most decorated NFL players ever. Brees holds the records for career pass completions, career completion percentage, career passing yards, and is second in career touchdown passes.

Before starting his professional career, Brees played football at Purdue University, where he was also one of the most decorated players in Purdue and Big Ten Conference history, establishing two NCAA records, 13 Big Ten Conference records, and 19 Purdue University records.

Did You Know?

Drew Brees holds the record for most career passing yards, which is currently at 77,416 yards.

2. Tom Brady (August 3, 1977 – Present)

Current Age (as of March 2020): 42 years, 6 months, 30 days
Current Team (as of post 2019 Season): New England Patriots
Current Position: Quarterback
 Years Active: 2000 – Present (20 years)

Tom Bradyimage credit: Flickr via Kieth Allison

Tom Brady is considered to be on the greatest quarterbacks ever in NFL history and has spent his entire professional career with the New England Patriots. The Patriots drafted Brady in 2000 as the team’s backup quarterback. The following season, Brady was promoted to starting quarterback, a position he has held ever since.

Brady is a highly respected player and has been elected as captain by his teammates every year since 2002. As such a prolific and exceptional player, Brady has set many records, including having 203  regular season wins. Brady is also the first quarterback ever to lead his team to five Super Bowl wins.

Did You Know?

Tom Brady has played in a record nine Super Bowls, winning six of them.

1. Adam Vinatieri (December 28, 1972 – Present)

Current Age (as of March 2020): 47 years, 2 months, 5 days
Current Team (as of post 2019 Season): Indianapolis Colts
Current Position: Placekicker
 Years Active: 1996 – Present (24 years)

Adam Vinatieriimage credit: Flickr via Jeffrey Beall

Adam Vinatieri is currently the oldest active player in the NFL at 47 years old. Vinatieri is known for kicking long distances as well as kicking consistently. Although his longest career field goal is only 57 yards (7 yards short of the record), he has put up an impressive 2,378 points in his career.

Although he is just a few years shy from turning 50, Vinatieri shows no signs of slowing down. Vinatieri once again extended his contract with the Indianapolis Colts,which marks his 23rd season in the NFL. Of all the current active players, Vinatieri has the greatest chance to surpass George Blanda (26 seasons) and hold the record for longest NFL career in history. However, Vinatieri was placed on the Colts’ injured reserve in early December 2019, and there have been no current updates on his future in the NFL.


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There are 3 comments

    1. Shane Lechler was cut right before the start of the 2018 season, which means he is technically not active even though he hasn’t officially retired. He’s currently a free agent.


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