By Andrew Porter

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Jerry Rice, Muhammad Ali, Brett Favre, and even Michael Jordan. All stretched out their respective illustrious careers for a tad bit too long. For great athletes, it’s nearly impossible to say goodbye to the game they love.

Unfortunately, Ryan Howard — who will go down as one of the greatest Phillies’ ever — will be lumped into that category.

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Howard, 36, was benched for the next few games by manager Pete Mackanin prior to his team’s sixth straight loss on Wednesday. In May, Howard went 7-69 at the plate (.101), with 28 strikeouts.

Howard, who is 22-144 (.153/.214/.340) with eight homers and 19 RBI’s this season, isn’t quite ready to call it quits.

“I’m not going to quit,” Howard said on Wednesday via CSNPhilly.com. “That’s not in the vocabulary. That’s the easiest thing to do, quit and give up when things are hard. You really see what you’re made of when things are not going the way you want them to go. Things are real easy when you’re going good and everybody’s all behind you, and you see how things turn when things aren’t going so well. You’ve got to continue to battle. And that’s what I’m going to do.”

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Replacing Howard at first-place is 24-year-old slugger Tommy Joseph, who was promoted from Triple-A on May 13th. Joseph hit three homers in his first 13 games in the majors.

“I want to see Joseph and I thought it was the right thing to do,” Mackanin said. “Hey, we like him. We’ll see what he does.

“It’s not really so much about Ryan,” Mackanin continued. “It’s about seeing the younger guy who tore it up in Triple A and came up here to make a good first impression. We want to get a look at him. As we know, this season is about the future. We’re in the middle of a rebuilding process. Joseph, it’s like what we said about [Darin] Ruf last year. We had to find out about him to see if he fit in. Same way.”

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Howard is in the final-year of his five-year, $125 million contract. He has a $10 million buy-out after the season, on a $23 million 2017 option.