NFL's 11 Crappiest Role Models
NFL players are role models.
They may not choose that role and may even ask to be taken from that role. However, their prominent places in the game and media make them almost a lock to be given an immense spotlight on their actions.
Some of them use this spotlight for good, bringing light to their positive qualities and good causes off the field. However, others burn in the glare and heat that this light shines their way.
These players, for a variety of reasons, may not be the best role models for young kids.
Here are 11 of the NFL's worst role models.
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New York Jets rookie quarterback Greg McElroy may seem to be a nice guy, but the rookie is learning a valuable lesson that we can all take something from.
Don't rip your teammates/coworkers, and if you do, make it as direct as possible (and not to the press). If somebody has to say something, it's best done by a more experienced member of the team.
McElroy earlier in the week said several members of the Jets team were selfish and had shown a "corrupt mindset," quitting on the team late in the season.
Even if his accusations are true, it did nothing to help the team, it only served to divide and cause hurt feelings.
Fortunately, many have already criticized McElroy for his statements, including veteran teammate Nick Mangold. He will get a stern warning, in private, of how to best address concerns about the team
Adam "Pacman" Jones
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It's hard to be a football player when you're actions off the field keep you away from the game.
With a criminal rap sheet that could probably stretch the length of the field, Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Adam "Pacman" Jones may not be the best inspiration as to how to go about doing business.
In addition to several arrests, lawsuits and NFL suspensions sent his way, Jones has not been able to get his act together.
Most recently, he taunted Houston Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson on the radio, calling him less talented than the Bengals A.J. Green. Johnson, probably not a huge fan of Jones' statement, proceeded to burn for a long touchdown score in the two team's wild card playoff matchup this past weekend.
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Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh was a tough addition to this list. Let me explain:
Off the field, Suh may be one of the most charitable people around. His $2.6 million donation to his alma mater, the University of Nebraska, put him in the top 10 of celebrity donations.
However, on the field Suh has built a reputation as one of the dirtiest players in the league. It may not be always deserved, but public incidents like stomping an opponent in a nationally televised game on Thanksgiving Day have created a perception with both fans and (more importantly) referees.
In other words, it's good to be generous with your money, especially for charity. However, it's bad to chokeslam defenseless players and stomp opponents.
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Football is a team sport, and in order for this to work, you need to have players willing to step up and be good teammates.
In this case, Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson has not lived to this ideal. In addition to being a non-presence in big games this season, he's found himself suspended for stupid things like sleeping through a team meeting (he later said his alarm clock didn't go off).
When he does get on the field, he's killed his team with stupid penalties. Most memorably, a 50-yard catch was ruled off after Jackson was flagged for taunting.
Poor stuff from a guy who insisted he was due a big pay day in his new contract.
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Though it's important to recognize the community service and positive actions Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick has made since his incarceration for fighting dogs and interstate gambling, it's also critical that what he did is not forgotten.
In his time running Bad Newz Kennels, several dogs were killed, maimed horribly or injured while participating in dog fights run by Vick and his associates. Those dogs who managed to make it out alive were forever traumatized.
While a person should not be identified only by the worst decisions they've made in their lives, it's important to keep his actions and the suffering it caused in our collective memory.
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Attention all aspiring football players: Quitting on your team like New York Jets wide receiver Santonio Holmes is not an acceptable way of doing business, especially as a team captain.
With the way Holmes handled himself to end the year, I'm not sure how he'll be able to return to the organization for the 2012 season.
Focus on the game, Buffalo Bills wide receiver Stevie Johnson. It may not be serious to you, but it certainly means a lot to your team's coaches, teammates and fans.
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He may have been cleared of legal responsibility for the crash, but Washington Redskins wide receiver Donte Stallworth has to live with the fact he killed a man in 2009 while driving back from a club in Miami.
Stallworth, who had consumed alcohol that evening, struck Mario Reyes, who was crossing the street following the end of his shift at a construction site, where he worked as a crane operator. At the time of the crash, Stallworth had a blood alcohol content of .126 over Florida's legal limit of .08, and was speeding 10 miles per hour over the posted limit.
Though he may still feel remorse for what happened, he was very fortunate to miss out on major jail time (serving less than a month in prison).
If you want a perfect model for young players of how not to hit an opponent, look no further than this hit from former New England Patriots safety Brandon Meriweather.
Making the tackle using only his helmet, Meriweather put both himself and then-Baltimore Ravens tight end Todd Heap at a serious (and unnecessary) risk of major injury.
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While it's easy to joke about what Plaxico Burress was thinking when a firearm he was holstering in the side of his sweatpants went off, it's also important to remember that for this he lost nearly two years of his life in prison.
His story should serve as a solid reminder of the high price that can be paid when you don't think clearly.
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How the mighty have fallen.
Owens has been and probably could continue to be a productive NFL wide receiver. He's been the standard at the position while healthy (or even unhealthy as was the case in his only Super Bowl appearance).
However, Owens has also had a nasty reputation of being a headache in the locker room. In addition to feuding with multiple quarterbacks, Owens had an ability to create controversy no matter where he went. That kind of problem made it tough for any team to take a chance on him with his injury, regardless of the talent and production he could have brought.
The lesson here: Your ability to be a teammate off the field is just as important as your skills on the field.