"I just feel like it's time," Testaverde told The Associated Press before boarding the team bus for the airport. "Obviously at 44 it does get a little bit tougher as the weeks go by. I'm glad I'm able to do it on my own terms and walk away from the game not only healthy, but to experience some of the things I've been through."
Testaverde was out of the league until the Panthers, desperate for quarterback help after injuries to Jake Delhomme and David Carr, signed him on Oct. 10. Four days and only three practices later, Testaverde became the oldest starting QB to win a game when he led the Panthers to a victory at Arizona.
Vinny is just too old to be in the quarterback position in football. His body wore down late in this season, and he was sidelined by back pain and a right Achilles tendon injury that kept him out of games and practices the past month. Testaverde's final game will come where his pro career started.
Testaverde had a remarkable career. As the 1986 Heisman Trophy winner at Miami, Testaverde was the No. 1 overall pick by Tampa Bay in the 1987 draft. He got off to rocky start, throwing 13 touchdown passes and 35 interceptions in his second season with the Buccaneers, his first as the full-time starter.
Testaverde weathered the criticism for three more seasons before moving to Cleveland. After the franchise moved to Baltimore, Testaverde made his first Pro Bowl in 1996.
Testaverde made the Pro Bowl two years later with the New York Jets, when he had 29 touchdown passes and only seven interceptions. He was the New York Jets savior who came in under Bill Parcells and led his team to the NFC Championship 1 year after a horrible season. They were winning that game at half and if it wasn't for John Elway and the Broncos they would have been in the Super Bowl that year. Late in his career he played with Dallas and New England.
Testaverde ranks sixth in the league for career attempts (6,701), completions (3,787) and yards passing (45,233). Testaverde has thrown 275 touchdown passes and 267 interceptions.
Testaverde also holds the NFL record by throwing at least one touchdown pass in 21 straight seasons.