When did they know it was time to retire?

Cliff Floyd (30), a member of what was then the Florida Marlins, hits a pop fly during the fifth inning against the Detroit Tigers on Saturday, June 22, 2002 at Pro Player Stadium. (Richard Patterson/Miami Herald/TNS)

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Cliff Floyd (30), a member of what was then the Florida Marlins, hits a pop fly during the fifth inning against the Detroit Tigers on Saturday, June 22, 2002 at Pro Player Stadium. (Richard Patterson/Miami Herald/TNS)

Some players retire. Some are retired. And some try not to be retired even when they are.

One simple question — when did you know it was time to retire? — can bring the most interesting answers.

Cliff Floyd, Marlins outfielder: "When I was missing that ball I used to crush, I knew. At first, I was fouling it off. Then I was just missing it. My last at-bat was a (home run) in San Diego. You never say, 'That's it.' That's not how you're made up. But I was released in June. I went home and waited for the phone to ring but really hoped it wouldn't ring. I knew I was done."

Mark Duper, Dolphins receiver: "I knew it was time to retire when I started trying out for other teams and I didn't have the desire to go back and fight for a job. We didn't have guaranteed contracts. You had to fight for a job every year. I got tired of fighting. This day and age, you could play forever. They don't practice. We got hurt in practice and the reason we got hurt is because we were going full speed. I was in Philadelphia, not wanting to do that any more, and said, 'I'm done.' "

Benito Santiago, Marlins catcher: "I had enough of the travel. Getting on planes. Staying in hotels. I got sick of that. Plus, I'd done everything I wanted to do. You just get a feeling it's time and you have to listen to it. I knew it was time."

Denis Potvin, Hall of Fame defenseman: "The quick answer is I started enjoying practicing more than the games. That got me concerned. Then at the time, I think I was 36 in 1988 and the only older player in the league was Larry Robinson, who had gone from Montreal to Los Angeles and struggled. I didn't want to have that kind of year. And with the Islanders franchise in transition I announced at training camp it'd be my last year. My last year was really great. It was wonderful. I'd go into various buildings and teams would give me a ceremony before the game. More importantly, it allowed me to breathe, to enjoy everything. I had a ball. I scored 19 goals that year. Maybe the best comment I get from people is, 'Denis, you could've played another couple of more years.' That's how I knew my decision was right. I left in love with hockey."

Juan Pierre, Marlins outfielder: "I didn't retire. No one called. That's what I tell everyone and it's true. I went home and worked out in the winter and was ready to come back the next year. No one called. That was it. I was retired. That made it easy for me."

JoAnne Carner, Hall of Fame golfer: "It's golf. I don't have to retire. So I never have. I'm 79 and, right now, I'm going up to the Women's Senior tournament to play. I still enjoy playing, so I figured, why retire?"

Alex Fernandez, Marlins pitcher: "My shoulder blew out. I was finished. I came back after one surgery and won Comeback Player of the Year. After that, I blew it out again and had no chance to comeback. If it'd be Tommy John (injury) or something like that, I could have. But after hurting it once, I knew I was on borrowed time. Everything happens for a reason. I truly believe that. I was blessed in my career."

Charlie Hough, Marlins pitcher: "When teams weren't making any outs against me. My legs were so bad. I've had three hip replacements so far. I just wasn't designed for running around. And at that age I was, 45 or 46, you can't train like you need. Without my legs, I had too much strain on my arm and shoulders. You know what? When I walked off the mound for the last time, I said, 'Some kid is going to have the chance to go pitch in the big leagues.' That's how I got there. Some veteran didn't do well, and they called up me. So I was fine with walking off the mound at the end. I'd done all I could."

Mike Lowell, Marlins third basemen: "For me, it wasn't baseball-wise. I thought I could still play. My hip deterioration was a huge factor. When I came back from hip surgery, the strength in my back leg was so bad it was, I guess the word is, demoralizing. I'd hit a ball and think I got it well and it would go to the warning track. But I thought I could get back from that. Honestly, what made me retire is where my kids were. Maybe in a roundabout way the hip was a reason and it gave me the push. But the biggest thing for me is I knew I wanted to be with my kids more than I wanted to keep playing at that point."

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