Over the last decade, prominent sports figures have figured out a variety of ways to completely botch opportunities to retire with grace.

Tyson's epic fall from grace earned him the title of worst retirement in the past 10 years

Tyson spent the end of his career clinging to the ropes.

It seems to have become more the rule than the exception. Of course, freshest in our minds is the recent shenanigans from Brett Favre. He tearfully retired in March, got days of media coverage honoring him, and is now creating a firestorm in Green Bay, reportedly asking for his release so he can unceremoniously finish his career elsewhere.

In honor of Favre, I present to you my Top 10 worst retirements of the past 10 years.

10. Brett Favre

Favre will undoubtedly move up this list as his situation progresses, but even this early in the drama he can’t be left off for terrorizing the Packers with his recent antics. Besides, just the thought of him throwing a ton of interceptions in a Dolphins’ jersey next season certainly gets him in for now.

9. Emmitt Smith

One of the best running backs of all time just didn’t know when to hang them up. Of all teams he went to the Arizona Cardinals. The team accomplished nothing and he averaged less than 600 yards and 3.3 yards per carry during his final two seasons.

8. Junior Seau

Seau sobbed at a press conference announcing his retirement from football following his 2005 season with the Miami Dolphins. Four days later, he signed a contract to join the division-rival New England Patriots for the 2006 season.

7. Mark McGwire

McGwire and Sammy Sosa were kings of the baseball world with their home run chase in 1998. Then came the steroid scandal. All of a sudden, they both dropped off, but McGwire dropped like an anvil — he retired in 2001 after batting .187 and struggling with injury.

6. Karl Malone

Karl Malone was the Utah Jazz. He and John Stockton mastered the pick and roll for what seemed to be forever. In his final season with the Jazz in 2002-03, he averaged 20.6 points per game. But Malone chased a championship and played with the Lakers in 2003-04 and averaged a career-low 13.2 points. He didn’t even get his ring, as the Lakers lost to the Pistons in the NBA Finals.

5. Rafael Palmeiro

Who could forget Palmeiro shaking his finger at Congress in 2005, denying he ever used steroids. Five months later, he tested positive for steroids. Then he pulled the, “never intentionally used steroids” card. The rest of his season was a train wreck and his 500-home run, 3,000-hit milestone was tarnished. Although he’s not officially retired, he hasn’t played since.

4. Jerry Rice

The best receiver of all time just didn’t know when to let go. It didn’t seem right when he left the 49ers, but he put up back-to-back 1,000+ yard seasons in 2001 and ‘02 for Oakland. He wouldn’t let it end there. In 2004 he flamed out, leaving the Raiders after four games and finishing the season with the Seahawks. To pour salt on the wound, he attempted to make the Broncos squad in 2005, but it didn’t work out. The greatest receiver ever left the game scrapping to become a mediocre team’s third option.

3. Roger Clemens

The Ol’ Rocket sure messed things up, didn’t he? At this point, I don’t think he’s officially retired, but it’s obvious he’ll never play baseball again. Clemens’ name was dropped a whopping 82 times in last year’s Mitchell Report —examining steroid use in baseball — and rather than take it like a man and apologize, Clemens decided to fight it. What ensued was a public battle with his former trainer Brian McNamee, which not only made Clemens look like a huge liar and steroid user, but also exposed him as an adulterer … allegedly.

2. Michael Jordan

Perhaps the most complicated retirement of all time. Jordan’s first retirement came in 1993 after winning his third championship. He then tried baseball and played for the White Sox’s Double-A team in 1994, batted .200, couldn’t hit a curveball with a garbage can. Jordan un-retired from basketball in 1995. He led the Bulls to another three-peat, capped by his memorable shot — made after tossing Utah’s Bryon Russell to the side — to win the Bulls’ final championship in 1998. He then retired in 1999, with a seemingly perfect ending to his career. Nope, he came back as No. 45 for the Washington Wizards in 2001, played two seasons (the two worst of his career), and finally called it quits for good after the 2002-03 season … we think.

1. Mike Tyson

One of the scariest men to ever walk the Earth, Tyson was the ultimate champion. He beat his opponents to the canvas — usually in the first round — and was the youngest boxer to ever win the world heavyweight title. Then it all went terribly downhill. In 1990 he lost to Buster Douglas — an event about as shocking as Ron Paul winning the 2008 presidential election. In 1992, he was convicted of rape and spent three years in prison. In 1997 he bit off Evander Holyfield’s ear. In 2005, Tyson finally retired after losses to Danny Williams and Kevin McBride (I don’t know who they are either). He actually quit against McBride. The boxer once known as the “Baddest Man on the Planet” didn’t get up from his stool during his final fight.

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