Jeff Gordon Returns; 6 More Athletes We’d Like To See (Temporarily) Come Back

during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pennsylvania 400 at Pocono Raceway on July 29, 2016 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania.

Good to see you again!

Jeff Gordon, one the most prolific drivers in NASCAR history, returned to the track last weekend, taking over in relief for an injured Dale Earnhardt Jr. The circumstances are less than ideal (get well soon, Junior!) but it’s still a great thrill to see to see Gordon behind the wheel once more.

Announcing his retirement after last season, Gordon has insisted that this is a temporary venture, which is perfectly acceptable. We’ve seen many great NASCAR drivers try to extend their careers far too long, so it’s good to see Gordon won’t make coming out of retirement a regular thing. Gordon was competitive in driving Earnhardt Jr.’s #88 Chevrolet to a 12th place finish last week in Indianapolis.

Seeing Gordon come out of retirement and compete got us thinking…what other former sports superstars should mount a semi-comeback? Here’s who we’d like to see….

Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson scores his third touchdown of the day with a 1-yard leap into the endzone late in the second quarter as the San Diego Chargers defeated the San Francisco 49ers by a score of 48 to 19 at Monster Park, San Francisco, California, October 15, 2006. (Photo by Robert B. Stanton/NFLPhotoLibrary)

LaDainian Tomlinson

The fact Tomlinson constantly ran into bad luck come playoff time cause people to forget how truly fantastic of a runner he was. At the time of his retirement, Tomlinson, who nearly hijacked the initialed nickname from Lawrence Taylor, was 5th all time in rushing yards and 3rd all time in total touchdowns. At 37, he’d no longer be the superstar rusher he once was, but I’m still willing to bet there would be a few defenders shaking their heads in fury at the former Charger.

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 01: Calvin Johnson #81 of Detroit Lions catches the pass during the NFL game between Kansas City Chiefs and Detroit Lions at Wembley Stadium on November 01, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images)

Calvin Johnson

Man, an NFL game hasn’t even been played since Megatron decided to hang it up, but we already miss him. A rare burst of light in the murky abyss that is Detroit Lions football, Johnson retired at 30, and he will be sorely missed. Surely some NFL team could lure him out of retirement? In Johnson illustrious career, he played in, sadly, only two playoff games, both losses in the Wild Card round. Console yourself with this amazing compilation of Calvin catches here.

BOSTON - MAY 07:  Shaquille O'Neal #33 reacts after sinking a basket against  the Boston Celtics in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Semifinals of the 2010 NBA Playoffs at TD Banknorth Garden on May 7, 2010 in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Shaquille O’Neal

When the league finally gets rid of a controversial defensive tactic that was name after you, you just gotta celebrate by reentering the league, right? With Hack-A-Shaq mostly dead, we need Shaq back now more than ever. Plus, you know he’d love one more ring to match Kobe, so why not join up with the Warriors, who recently welcomed in Shaqtin’ A Fool MVP JaVale McGee to enter their proceedings?

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 24:  Ricky Hatton of Great Britain in action with Vyacheslav Senchenko of Ukraine during their Welterweight bout at the MEN Arena on November 24, 2012 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Scott Heavey/Getty Images)

Ricky Hatton

A former light welterweight title holder, the British fighter Hatton won his first 43 matches, gaining a raucous fanbase that followed him across the globe. Hatton’s undefeated streak ended with a 10-round TKO again Floyd Mayweather in 2007, and a year and a half later in 2009, he suffered a 2nd-round KO loss to Manny Pacquiao. Hatton had a failed comeback bid in 2011, but there are still those who believe that Hatton might still have it. Plus, who doesn’t want to hear “Walkin’ in a Hatton Wonderland” again?

STUTTGART, GERMANY - APRIL 29:  Justine Henin of Belgium plays a forehand during her second round match against Yanina Wickmayer of Belgium at day four of the WTA Porsche Tennis Grand Prix Tournament at the Porsche Arena on April 29, 2010 in Stuttgart, Germany.  (Photo by Alex Grimm/Bongarts/Getty Images)

Justine Henin

Known for her single hand backhand, Henin captured several Grand Slam titles between 2003 and 2007, four of which were won on the clay courts of Roland Garros at the French Open. Even more shocking was the fact Henin accomplished this by the time she turned 25, at which point she retired from the game. Henin made a brief return in 2010, showing she still had by advancing to the final of the Australian Open, but retired once more due to injury the next year. Already considered one of the best female players in history, it would be great to see one of the sport’s younger legends come back, if at all possible.

KANSAS CITY, KS - APRIL 20:  Mark Martin, driver of the #55 Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota, looks on in the garage during practice for the NASACAR Sprint Cup Series 400 at Kansas Speedway on April 20, 2012 in Kansas City, Kansas.  (Photo by Tyler Barrick/Getty Images)

Mark Martin

Another NASCAR driver, one of the biggest heartbreaks in the sport is that Mark Martin never won a title, though he was a runner-up five times. A 2017 NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee, Martin has also come out of retirement several time over the course of his career, managing to post decent numbers no matter his age, and no matter the car he drives. Come on racing gods….all we ask is one more full season with Martin, in a good car, that finally ends with him hoisting a Cup title in Victory Lane.

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