NFL QB Marino Retires

July 7, 2008 - 8:02 PM

(CNSNews.com) - Quarterback Dan Marino, the most prolific passer in NFL history and a certain future inductee into the Pro Football Hall-of-Fame, retired on Monday after a 17-year career with the Miami Dolphins.

The only missing piece from his Hall of Fame resume: no NFL championship. He leaves pro football not knowing what it feels like to win the Super Bowl.

"I can say I have been blessed with a career greater than I could imagine,'' Marino, 38, said at a news conference in the team meeting room in Davie, Florida. "Most of all, I am going to miss Sunday afternoons.''

Marino said health and family were the main reasons for leaving the game and the team he has been loyal to since entering the league.

He holds several league passing records: touchdowns (420), yardage (61,361) and completions (4,967). In 1984, his second season, he threw for 5,084 yards and 48 touchdowns, both still league records.

Marino's only Super Bowl appearance came in that second year, and it ended in a 38-16 loss to San Francisco. Marino spent the next 15 years trying unsuccessfully to return to the title game.

"That was the burning desire. That is what I played for,'' Marino said. "That has been a dream of mine my whole career. I wanted to know - as a player - how it feels to win a Super Bowl.''

He wanted to go out like John Elway and retire as a Super Bowl champion. However, after choosing to become a free agent in February, he reluctantly rejected an offer to play for the Minnesota Vikings.

Dolphins owner Wayne Huizenga said the team will retire Marino's number 13, build a statue for Marino and name a street after him near Joe Robbie Stadium.

Marino's final bid to win a Super Bowl ended with a 62-7 playoff loss at Jacksonville, the most lopsided defeat in Dolphins history. Coach Jimmy Johnson retired the next day.

"This is a day of celebration of a great career,'' said Marino's former head coach, Don Shula. "You just want to applaud.''