The 10 Best NFL Good Samaritans Ever
It seems way too common to see stories of NFL players getting in trouble, and in seeing those kinds of headlines many fans can become turned off by players and the game.
Despite the negative headlines, many players are out doing positive work off the field. Some players have even shown an ability to think quickly under pressure, acting as Good Samaritans in crisis moments.
Whether it's aiding at the scene of a car crash, helping a struggling swimmer or performing the Heimlich maneuver, these NFL players stepped up in order to save the day.
Here are 10 of the best Good Samaritan acts done by NFL players.
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Atlanta Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez, then a member of the Kansas City Chiefs, sprung into action in 2008 to save a man who was choking on a piece of meat at a restaurant.
"I tried to take a drink of water, but I couldn't swallow," said the man. "Then I couldn't breathe. That's a terrible feeling. I couldn't breathe. Then I guess I started to panic."
Gonzalez, who was sitting at the next table, came over and performed the Heimlich maneuver, dislodging the meat and saving the man's life. Gonzalez later said he had never been formally trained in doing the maneuver.
Interestingly enough, the choking victim was a lifelong fan of the San Diego Chargers, one of the Chiefs' major division rivals.
"I'm going to be yelling for Tony to catch the ball," he said. "I think all my friends will understand."
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New Orleans Saints defensive tackle Shaun Rogers may not always be on the right side of the law, but in July 2010 the big lineman was a big help to police as he notified them of a drunk driver.
According to reports, Rogers called police to inform them of an erratic driver. He then proceeded to stay on the line with police while tailing the car, which swerved off the road several times.
When the car finally came to a stop (on a busy highway with its tail still on the road), Rogers positioned his car and turned on his emergency flashers to prevent an accident with any oncoming drivers.
The man was later charged with DUI and operating an unsafe vehicle.
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According to reports, Cassel "ran to his neighbor's house, rang the doorbell, pounded on the front door and started to circle the house until he saw the woman who lives there come outside."
Amazingly enough, the homeowner was unaware that the home was on fire before Cassel's arrival.
Fortunately, nobody was hurt in the fire. Meanwhile, Cassel diverted attention away from himself for his effort in saving the day.
"I wasn't heroic at all," Cassel said. "I just ran up to the house and alerted them. The real heroes are the firefighters."
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Terrell Owens may have a reputation for being a headache in the locker room, but there's no denying that he was a class act when he aided ESPN writer Sam Alipour after he was hit by a car.
Alipour was hit as he stepped off a curb in Los Angeles during ESPY weekend in 2008.
According to Alipour, Owens was the first person to assist him at the scene. Helping Alipour off of the road, Owens would stay with him as they waited for a medical crew to get to them.
Owens would leave after the writer was seen to by medics, before any cameras could get on the scene (and even before Alipour had a chance to thank him).
The quiet heroism of Owens' actions may be best noted in Alipour's conversation with a medic that night.
"So, T.O. was nice, huh?" says the medic who took my blood pressure inside the ambulance. "Boy, you think you know somebody, but the media doesn't tell you the whole story. You never know how they really are."
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Carolina Panthers tight end Jeremy Shockey may be getting some flack for allegedly divulging details of the New Orleans Saints bounty program (a claim that has been refuted by Shockey, among several others), but there should be no shortage of people willing to spill the beans about the time he saved a teammate's life.
Shockey in August reportedly saved fellow Panthers tight end Ben Hartsock after a piece of pork tenderloin lodged in his throat in the team lunch room.
After one player's Heimlich maneuver failed, Shockey came over and hit Hartsock on the back. The hit was enough to jar the food out.
"He was in good spirits and he’s real thankful for Shockey," said Hartsock's agent.
Fortunately for all involved, the incident was something that could be joked about later: "Don't choke Hartsock" became a new line used by players in practice.
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Former Arizona Cardinals tight end Ben Patrick stepped up in a major way a few weeks ago as he rescued a family who were trapped in their overturned van.
Driving along an Arizona highway, Patrick noticed the overturned van, along with a smell of gasoline.
"My first thought was just to help the people on the inside," he said.
Patrick then began to pull people from the car, as more motorists came to assist him at the scene.
Fortunately, no major injuries were reported.
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The ailing neighbor's wife said McCoy, along with his father, swam about 300 yards across a lake to signal for emergency crews. Getting to the other side of the lake, McCoy climbed a steep, rocky incline to wave in help.
The neighbor, who had previously undergone three brain surgeries, stayed in the hospital for about a week before being able to return home.
"It was just a true hero story of how everybody came together and saved a life," the wife said.
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Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Tandon Doss aptly showed the strength of five men as he helped end a knife attack of a manager at a Five Guys restaurant in Baltimore.
According to reports, Doss, who had stopped in for a burger before a preseason game last season, intervened as two former employees began attacking the restaurant's manager.
Police say Doss may have saved the manager's life, who was later treated for a cut on his chin.
"I saw somebody start fighting, and I broke it up," Doss said. "That's all it was to me. ... I mean, it was two dudes on one. I was trying to help the situation out. I broke it up."
Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive lineman Ted Larsen was the hero as he saved three teen kayakers who had were struggling to keep control in rough waters.
According to reports, Larsen and his girlfriend were fishing off of his boat when he heard a Coast Guard call about a boater in distress. Learning that his ship was in close range to the listed coordinates, he navigated out and found the kayakers.
Pulling the kayakers onboard, Larsen took the three teens back to shore safely.
"They were just glad to have their parent's kayaks back and not sunk," he joked.
It was a very happy ending to a story that may have turned tragic without his assistance.
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The second Kansas City Chiefs tight end on this list, Leonard Pope sprung into action to save the life of a six-year-old boy who had started to drown while swimming at a pool party in Americus, Ga..
As possibly the only person at the party who could swim, Pope dived into the water fully-clothed ("cell phone, wallet and everything") and pulled the young boy out of the water.
“He never went unconscious, but in a matter of seconds I knew he wouldn’t be here with me,” the boy's mother said. “My baby would have died. He was already floating at the bottom of the pool. I was going to just go in and try to get him and take that chance. When I got ready to go in, Leonard dived on in.”
Interestingly enough, Pope may not have been at the party, which took place in June 2011, had it not been for the NFL lockout.
“The fact that he is normally at camp and could have been in Kansas City just proved to me that he was placed here to save my son from drowning, and I thank God that he was here,” the mother said.
Pope's efforts brought immediate connections to the heroism of former Kansas City Chiefs running back Joe Delaney, who died in 1983 while attempting to save the lives of three boys who were drowning.