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NFL's oldest defensive player returning for one more year

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The oldest defensive player in the NFL will be back for another season in 2018.

The Minnesota Vikings announced Monday they have re-signed cornerback Terence Newman to a one-year deal. The upcoming season will be his 16th in the NFL.

Newman will turn 40 in September, making him the oldest defensive player in the league.

The only players older than Newman who are set to return in 2018 are Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri (45), Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson (43), Falcons kicker Matt Bryant (42), Seahawks kicker Sebastian Janikowski and Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, who will turn 41 in August.

Newman was drafted by the Cowboys with the fifth overall pick in the 2003 NFL draft. He played in Dallas for nine seasons.

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He then played three years with the Bengals and has spent the last three seasons with the Vikings.

In his career, Newman has 42 career interceptions, which is second-most among active players. DeAngelo Hall has 43, but he is currently a free agent, so it’s not yet clear if he’ll be playing next season.

Newman’s 42 interceptions are good for 67th on the all-time list.


Newman, a two-time Pro Bowler, is a valuable member of the Vikings defense, which is one of the best in the NFL. He played in all 16 games last season, and started seven of them. Newman had one interception and 25 total tackles.

Vikings coach Mike Zimmer recently said that in a pass-happy league, you can never have enough cornerbacks.

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“A famous old coach called me this morning and said that one of the reasons he likes me is because he understands that you can never have too many cornerbacks,” Zimmer said last week, according to ESPN. “There’s a commercial on TV right now where the lady asks this guy how many guns he needs, and he says just one more. That’s how we feel about corners — just one more. So as many times as we can find guys that can cover around here, the more we want.”

The Vikings added to their depth at the position by drafting University of Central Florida cornerback Mike Hughes in the first round of last week’s NFL draft.

Newman will be leaned upon to mentor Hughes, as well as the rest of the group, including Trae Waynes, Mackensie Alexander and Xavier Rhodes.

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“I probably would not have been making the plays I’ve been making, and been playing the way I’ve been playing, if it wasn’t for (Newman),” Alexander said in January. “He’s been pushing me. He’s obviously seen the talent, and all those kind of things that got me here, and he wanted me to be a better (player). He always said I had all the ability in the world and it was really just my thought process and the mental part of the game that I needed to grow from.”

The Vikings made it to the NFC Championship Game last season, losing to the eventual Super Bowl champion Eagles. With newly signed quarterback Kirk Cousins set to start under center, the Vikings are among the favorites to win it all in 2018.

That would be a great way for Newman to go out.

“I’m in the sunset,” Newman said last year at training camp, according to Scout.com. “When I go, the only person that will probably know is the person that calls me and says, ‘Hey, do you want to play?’ That’ll probably be the only person that knows.”

“Seriously. It’s not going to be a big spectacle. It’s just going to be I’m gone. I don’t need any pats on the back. When I’m done, I’m done.”

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Dave is a lifelong sports fan who has been writing for The Wildcard since 2017. He has been a writer for more than 20 years for a variety of publications.
Dave has been writing about sports for The Wildcard since 2017. He's been a reporter and editor for over 20 years, covering everything from sports to financial news. In addition to writing for The Wildcard, Dave has covered mutual funds for Pensions and Investments, meetings and conventions, money market funds, personal finance, associations, and he currently covers financial regulations and the energy sector for Macallan Communications. He has won awards for both news and sports reporting.
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