With the NFL draft a thing of the past as well as top free agents having already signed with their new respective teams and training camps still a few months away, this time of year on the NFL calendar, it is a bit of a lull for fans and players alike. For fans, there’s an eager wait and anticipation for the new season to kickoff. For most players, it’s offseason workouts, possibly resuming training after being cleared by doctors, or spending quality time with family and friends. However, the dead point of the NFL calendar seems to be problematic for some players around the league as they find themselves in the news for less-than-favorable reasons. Despite all of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s best efforts and intentions by suspending players in an attempt to curb further tarnishing of the shield, players still find themselves in a world of trouble.
Since January 2013, there have been 16 current NFL players arrested. Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle, Andre Smith got arrested and charged with carrying a loaded gun at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport; the one-too-many drunk-driving arrests, such as Tennessee Titans tight end Brandon Barden and Seattle Seahawks backup quarterback Josh Portis, as well as the all embarrassing and demeaning domestic-battery charges that have been handed down to Pittsburgh Steelers running back Chris Rainey, Bengals defensive back Robert Sand and Arizona Cardinals linebacker Daryl Washington to name a few. Now, without having all the particulars in each of these cases, it’s still amazing how NFL players, knowing that Goodell is more than willing to drop the Hammer of Dawn on them like an ultimate weapon from Gears of War, still find themselves in these positions.
There are many reasons as to why this may be the case. Troubled players could believe that they are above the law, it could simply be a lapse in judgment on their parts or succumbing to supposed “friends” talking them into going along with whatever shady business that at the end of it all results in finger printing and TMZ getting a hold of mug shots. Regardless as to the why or how these men find themselves in these vicarious situations, they must face facts: firstly, they’re fortunate and secondly, blessed to put on an NFL uniform. Recently-retired Rolando McClain and free-agent wide receiver Titus Young, both of whom have had a rash of arrest, should know and understand all too well that despite all the talent and ability in the world, if they don’t get their lives in order than not only will they continue to be on the outside looking into the NFL but it’s possible that they could end up like former players Lawrence Phillips or Ryan Leaf.
In closing, all troubled players they must realize that playing professional football isn’t a promise, it’s a privilege.