10 Oldest Active NFL Players (Updated 2021)

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 2021 (following the 2020 NFL season).

Please note that any free agents who were unsigned at the time of this writing (the end of the 2020 season) were not included on this list.

10. Ryan Fitzpatrick (November 24, 1982 – Present)

Current Age (as of March 2021): 38 years, 3 months, 9 days
Current Team: Miami Dolphins
Current Position: Quarterback
 Years Active: 2005 – Present (16 years)

Ryan Fitzpatrickimage credit: Wikimedia Commons

Ryan Fitzpatrick is currently the quarterback for the Miami Dolphins, but he has spent his 16 years in the NFL playing for numerous teams. After studying economics at Harvard and playing for the school’s football team, Fitzpatrick was selected by the St. Louis Rams in the seventh round of the 2005 NFL Draft. Fitzpatrick only stayed with the Rams for two seasons and was traded to the Cincinnati Bengals in 2008. Following his short time with the Bengals, Fitzpatrick played for the Buffalo Bills, Tennessee Titans, Houston Texans, New York Jets, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and now the Miami Dolphins.

As a member of the Buccaneers in 2018, Fitzpatrick became the first quarterback in NFL history to throw 400 yards or more in three straight games. Although Fitzpatrick has been in the NFL for quite a long time, he has never been with a team that made the playoffs.

Did You Know?

As a Harvard alum, Ryan Fitzpatrick is incredibly intelligent and he holds the record for the highest  Wonderlic Test score ever achieved among NFL quarterbacks – the Wonderlic Test is assessment used to measure the cognitive ability and problem-solving aptitude of prospective employees for a range of occupations. Fitzpatrick completed the test in nine minutes and scored 48 out of 50 points.

9. Sam Koch (August 13, 1982 – Present)

Current Age (as of March 2021): 38 years, 6 months, 21 days
Current Team: Baltimore Ravens
Current Position: Punter
 Years Active: 2006 – Present (15 years)

Sam Kochimage credit: Wikimedia Commons

Sam Koch has been a punter with the Baltimore Ravens since 2006. While he was in high school, Koch played many different positions, including punter, tight end, offensive lineman, and defensive lineman. Koch also played basketball, baseball, and soccer. Although, Koch played football while attending the University of Nebraska, he was the team’s backup punter for his first few seasons. As a senior, Koch put together the best campaign ever at his position in school history, as he broke the single-season punting average mark with a 46.5-yard average in 2005.

In 2006, Koch was selected by the Baltimore Ravens in the sixth round. Koch has been with the Ravens since then and currently has a two-year extension with the team.

Did You Know?

Sam Koch is known for developing several different punting variations that are now used by other punters.

8. Andy Lee (August 11, 1982 – Present)

Current Age (as of March 2021): 38 years, 6 months, 23 days
Current Team: Arizona Cardinals
Current Position: Punter
 Years Active: 2004 – Present (17 years)

Andy Leeimage credit: Wikimedia Commons

Andy Lee is a punter with the Arizona Cardinals and has been playing in the NFL for 17 years. Like all of the other players on this list, Lee played multiple sports in high school; he participated in baseball and basketball in addition to football. Lee attended the University of Pittsburgh and was the team’s starting punter for three seasons. His senior year in college, Lee was a semi-finalist for the Ray Guy Award, given to college football’s top punter.

After a solid college football career, Lee was drafted by the San Francisco 49ers in the sixth round of the 2004 NFL Draft. Lee stayed with the 49ers for a decade before going on to play with the Cleveland Browns and Carolina Panthers. He has been with the Arizona Cardinals since 2017.

Did You Know?

Andy Lee is a three-time punting yards leader during 2005, 2007, and 2018 seasons.

7. Ben Roethlisberger (March 2, 1982 – Present)

Current Age (as of March 2021): 39 years, 1 day
Current Team: Pittsburgh Steelers
Current Position: Quarterback
 Years Active: 2004 – Present (17 years)

Ben Roethlisbergerimage credit: Wikimedia Commons

Ben Roethlisberger is the long-time quarterback of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Roethlisberger grew up playing basketball and football and made a name for himself while playing college football. Going into the 2004 NFL Draft, Roethlisberger was the second-highest touted quarterback behind Ole Miss’ Eli Manning. Roethlisberger was selected 11th overall during the first round of the draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers. He has remained with the team since then, starring as its quarterback.

Roethlisberger has been one of the most efficient passers in the history of the NFL. He currently is ranked 7th all-time in NFL career passing yards. Additionally, Roethlisberger is the only player with consecutive post season games of 4+ touchdown passes. He is one of six quarterbacks in NFL history to have beaten at least 31 of the current NFL teams

Did You Know?

In 2006, at the age of 23, Ben Roethlisberger became the youngest Super Bowl–winning quarterback in NFL history, leading the Pittsburgh Steelers to a 21–10 victory over the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XL.

6. Jason Peters (January 22, 1982 – Present)

Current Age (as of March 2021): 39 years, 1 month 12 days
Current Team: Philadelphia Eagles
Current Position: Offensive Tackles
 Years Active: 2004 – Present (17 years)

Jason Petersimage credit: Wikimedia Commons

Jason Peters is currently an offensive tackle for the Philadelphia Eagles, the team Peters has been with since 2009. In high school, Peters was a football and basketball star, but went on to play college football for the University of Arkansas. Although Peters was projected to be an early fourth round pick by Sports Illustrated in 2004, he went undrafted. However, Peters was signed by the Buffalo Bills that year and Peters stayed with the Bills until 2008.

Despite being placed on the injured reserve in December 2020, Peters’ current one-year contract with the Eagles is still active.

Did You Know?

Jason Peters began his career as a tight end, but was taught to play offensive tackle under the tutelage of Buffalo Bills’ offensive line coach Jim McNally.

5. Andrew Whitworth (December 12, 1981 – Present)

Current Age (as of March 2021): 39 years, 2 months, 22 days
Current Team: Los Angles Rams
Current Position: Offensive Tackle
 Years Active: 2006 – Present (15 years)

image credit: Wikimedia Commons

Andrew Whitworth is one of several players on this list who is currently 39 years old and will be turning 40 during the 2021 NFL season. Whitworth was first drafted in 2006 and played with the Cincinnati Bengals until 2016. Since 2017, Whitworth has been with the Los Angeles Rams. In 2020, Whitworth signed a new three-year contract with the Rams.

Before joining the NFL, Whitworth played football in high school and participated in the first-ever U.S. Army All-American Bowl game on December 30, 2000. After high school, Whitworth attended Louisiana State University to play college football.

Did You Know?

Besides football, Andrew Whitworth is an excellent golfer and often hosts a fundraising golf tournament in Louisiana and serves as a motivational speaker to youth groups in both Greater Cincinnati and in Louisiana.

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

Current Age (as of March 2021): 39 years, 6 months, 17 days
Current Team: Detroit Lions
Current Position: Long Snapper
 Years Active: 2004 – Present (17 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 260 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.

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

Current Age (as of March 2021): 39 years, 11 months, 21 days (will be turning 40 in a few weeks)
Current Team: Dallas Cowboys
Current Position: Long Snapper
 Years Active: 2005 – Present (16 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. Currently, Ladouceur is the last active Cowboy that played at Texas Stadium, the last active Cowboy to have played under head coach Bill Parcells, and one of just two active Cowboys (alongside Sean Lee) to have played under head coach Wade Phillips.

Did You Know?

L.P. Ladouceur holds the Dallas Cowboys record for most consecutive games played, which is currently 253.

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

Current Age (as of March 2021): 42 years, 1 month, 19 days
Current Team: New Orleans Saints
Current Position: Quarterback
 Years Active: 2001 – Present (20 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.

At the time of the this writing, there are rumors that Brees is planning on retiring this year; however, there has not yet been an official announcement.

Did You Know?

Drew Brees holds the record for most career passing yards, which is currently at 80,358.

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

Current Age (as of March 2021): 43 years, 7 months
Current Team: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Current Position: Quarterback
 Years Active: 2000 – Present (21 years)

Tom Bradyimage credit: Flickr via Kieth Allison

At the age of 43, Tom Brady is currently the oldest active player in the NFL and is one of the oldest quarterbacks ever. Prior to 2020, Brady had spent almost his whole 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.

In early 2020, following the 2019 NFL season, Brady announced that he was not re-signing with the New England Patriots, ending his 20-year tenure with the team. A few days later, Brady signed a two-year contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, a team with a reputation for losing. Proving that he is the greatest quarterback in NFL history, Brady led the Buccaneers to a Super Bowl victory over the Kansas City Chiefs.

Did You Know?

In addition to holding the record for most Super Bowl wins (seven) for any player in NFL history, Tom Brady holds several age related records, including: being the only quarterback to win a Super Bowl in three separate decades, oldest player to be named Super Bowl MVP and win a Super Bowl as the starting quarterback (at the age of 43), and the oldest NFL MVP at age 40 in 2017.


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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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