Paul Rabil made the decision that it was time to hang up the cleats and focus on the advancement of the PLL. After his retirement, we found out the knee injury he was dealing with required surgery. Even though he says he is retired, Rabil has dropped a subtle (and a not so subtle) hint at a possible comeback. Could Rabil be eying a 2023 comeback? Let’s explore the idea.
“I say this with unending gratitude and the heaviest of hearts, my time has come. After 23 years of playing this beautiful game, I’ve decided to retire.”
– Paul Rabil, PLL President
This statement sent shockwaves throughout the lacrosse world. After a bounce back 2021 season, Paul Rabil decided to end his playing career. Rabil decided it was time to focus on the growth of the PLL and his new endeavor, “Goals for Greatness”. At that time, it seemed for certain that Paul Rabil’s playing career was officially over.
During the 2022 season, Rabil was able to sit back and enjoy the PLL as a spectator for the first time after playing for Atlas and Cannons during his PLL career. However, there is only one team that he refers to as “we” when speaking about them, and that is the Cannons. During the PLL Seattle weekend, I was on the sidelines during the Cannons game against the Whipsnakes and Rabil was actively rooting for the Cannons to win, and looked disappointed when their playoff hopes ended. Now I can’t speak on all of the other weekends, but Rabil seemed more like a player on the sideline than a spectator during the game. He could still be heavily invested because he plans on playing with Cannons next season.
Fast forward to the premiere of “Fate of the Sport.” For those who watched the documentary, you may have noticed at the end of the film Rabil makes a comment about playing in 2023. While it may have been just a comment, it’s interesting that it was in the film and even more interesting that it was the final scene before the credits. Not only that, Rabil has documented his rehab as well as continued his shooting videos on his YouTube page. Why would Rabil be keeping up his typical offseason videos if he wasn’t planning on playing again?
The other subtle hint was during his YouTube video discussing the PLL headquarters moving where he says, “I’m just a sports executive… just a sports executive… for now.” What does that mean? Why did he have to say it like that? If Rabil did come back to the PLL, it wouldn’t be the first time an all-time great came back. Gary Gait, John Grant Jr. and Casey Powell retired from professional lacrosse at one point, only to return to the game within a few years.
Now I could be completely wrong, but I just have this feeling that we haven’t seen the last of Paul Rabil as a player. He was still a productive player, and silenced his doubters with 26 points in 9 games. With the lack of scoring from the Cannons offense, the team could definitely use Rabil. Maybe Rabil joins another team as one last chance at winning a PLL title. Either way, Rabil has caught my attention with some of his comments this offseason. We will see if this “potential” comeback happens.