There have been plenty of reactions to Paul Rabil’s retirement announcement, bringing an end to the playing days of the co-founder and face of the Premier Lacrosse League. Some might say this was a long time coming, others will point to an excellent 2021 season and stress that Rabil has plenty left in the tank. For me, I was hoping to see at least one more season out of him to see if he could get a PLL title for his resume.
But alas, the curtain is closing on a remarkable lacrosse career. We want to take a moment to celebrate some of Paul Rabil’s contributions to the game of lacrosse.
Paul Rabil Retires: Marking His Contributions to the Game
As a professional lacrosse player, it’s hard enough just to give up a traditional 9-to-5. But Paul Rabil took that one step further, focused his entire life on lacrosse, and leveraged his personal brand to gain endorsements. He was able to become lacrosse’s first million-dollar man and paved the way for other athletes and endorsements in the sport.
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Commitment to Fitness
During the MLL days, there were guys who trained in their free time, and there were a select few who TRAINED. What I mean is, very few people took the off-field part of the game as serious as Paul Rabil did, and thanks to him posting many of those workouts to YouTube, we can give you a glimpse below.
He essentially helped set the bar for what a pro lacrosse player could look like (and no, he wasn’t alone in this).
Glory to Hopkins
As a freshman, Paul Rabil was a Third Team All-American and helped deliver the school’s first national championship since 1987. Over the next three years, he added two more national championship appearances and a title in 2008.
So, in four years, Paul Rabil was a crucial part of bringing Hopkins two national crowns, scored 111 goals as a midfielder, and was a four-time All-American. He left the Hopkins program much better than he found it, and that’s an understatement.
The Most Obvious
It would be impossible to not mention Rabil’s greatest contribution to the game, which is still in progress: his role in the creation of the Premier Lacrosse League.
Paul Rabil retires from the sport having been instrumental in vastly improving the legitimacy of professional lacrosse. He has, without a doubt, enhanced the opportunities for all current and future players to play lacrosse full-time and as a true career.
A PLL statement about Paul Rabil’s retirement explained that he will remain with the league to continue building it as a co-founder and will work on Goals for Greatness, among other projects. Even though we won’t see him on the field, he will still undoubtedly be around the game. What exactly that means remains to be seen, but it doesn’t sound like he’s disappearing from lacrosse any time soon.
In 2018, Kyle Harrison told Sports Illustrated this about his former Hopkins teammate:
“He’s bigger, faster, stronger,” Harrison said. “Smarter. More efficient. Someone at his size within our sport, it was the first time it had all come together.”