NFL Players Who Could Have Spent Their Vacation Time More Wisely
It may seem like NFL players have things pretty easy—the official work year lasts only from June to January. Though so much time off seems like a blessing, being a professional football player is a 365-day job—a lesson many unfortunate players are still learning even late in their careers.
Vacation is a beloved institution—that special time each year when your work and responsibilities can all be left behind while you go and simply enjoy yourself to the fullest. Nobody cares what you do, where you go or who you're with.
Guess what? It doesn't work that way in professional sports—least of all the NFL.
NFL athletes are highly scrutinized from the moment they are chosen by a team, until well after they retire. There is a certain level of responsibility that comes with playing in the NFL—responsibility to your team, to your fans and to the league's image and rules.
Some athletes are still learning that even the most innocent of offseason activities can have dire consequences. Here are some NFLers that learned this lesson the hard way during the 2012 offseason.
5. Titus Young, Detroit Lions
Titus Young is a promising second-year wide receiver, but it is generally frowned upon to go around punching your teammates in the face (Pro Football Talk).
A simple dispute during OTAs turned into a confrontation that led to Young sucker punching teammate Louis Delmas. The incident ended with the Lions banning Young from a couple of days of organized team activities.
This is not the first time Young has let his temper get the best of him—he got a 15-yard penalty last season for hitting Malcom Jenkins during a game against the Saints in the Superdome.
Though the incident is long gone and unlikely to haunt Young very much, he will be more highly scrutinized this coming season thanks to his behavior. If he screws up, you can bet all fingers will be pointing to his "character issues."
His 2012 vacation might have been better spent if he took some anger management classes.
4. Mikel Leshoure, Detroit Lions
Mikel Leshoure is a second-year player who has yet to step onto an NFL football field thanks to a training camp injury in 2011.
He isn't off to a very good start in 2012, either.
Already cited twice for marijuana possession, Leshoure is now in some real legal trouble (Pro Football Talk). He has gotten off with minimal penalties, but is now in a 24-month drug treatment program through the NFL and is all over the media's "bad seed" radar.
For somebody who has yet to prove that he can even be useful to an NFL team, Leshoure is attracting attention for all the wrong reasons.
3. Nick Fairley, Detroit Lions
Another Detroit Lion? Well obviously we're talking about a team with some disciplinary problems.
Nick Fairley has been arrested twice this offseason, the first time for speeding and second-degree marijuana possession (Pro Football Talk).
Okay, so a lot of players get into trouble like that. What makes Fairley a huge problem is that he did the same thing again the next month. On May 27th, Fairley was arrested by Alabama State troopers outside Mobile Alabama after he passed a police car on I-10 at 1:13 a.m. traveling 100 m.p.h. in a Cadillac Escalade, according to Pro Football Talk.
He was charged with driving under the influence, having an open container while driving and eluding police.
He could surely figure out a better way to spend his time.
2. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints
Drew Brees is a stand-up guy and a fantastic member of his community. As a charitable person and terrific quarterback, he deserves the many accolades he has received over the years.
Having said that, he picked the wrong offseason to be a brat about his contract.
There is nothing wrong with wanting the security of a long-term deal, but it is difficult to feel sympathy for a multi-millionaire haggling emphatically over what amounts to less than 10 percent of his salary.
The Saints offered Brees a contract featuring an average salary of $19 million per year, but he has stuck to his guns, insisting on $21 million or more (Yahoo Sports).
He then took his contract dispute to the legal table, and has now secured a ruling in his favor about the franchise tag salary, backing the hard-pressed Saints into a corner.
Again, Brees has done nothing wrong, but maybe this hasn't been the right offseason for the Saints' best player to hold out, sue them and publicly trash the way they've treated him.
Don't they have enough going on? (ESPN) Do the fans really need to worry about him right now? He should be making the fans feel better about 2012, not worse.
Brees has been in the right about his contract, but he has handled it poorly from a public relations perspective. He isn't winning any hearts and minds this way.
Hey Drew, nobody feels bad for you buddy. Sorry.
1. Terrell Suggs, Baltimore Ravens
What Terrell Suggs does on his own time is his business. If he wants to play basketball in the offseason, that's his choice.
That still doesn't make it a good choice.
Suggs tore his Achilles tendon early in the offseason, allegedly during a basketball tournament (ESPN).
To hurt yourself doing something other than football is one thing; it happens to everyone after all. To lie about it , though, is just silly (AOL Sporting News).
The Baltimore Ravens are sitting in their title window right now—a team on the cusp of something great. The last thing they need is the reigning defensive player of the year missing out on most or all of the upcoming season for an injury that occurred in a basketball game.
Suggs might have been wise to exercise a bit more caution during the offseason. If the Baltimore defense suffers noticeably, it is going to be pinned on him, and rightfully so.
Though this does set up for another fun Skip Bayless-Terrell Suggs confrontation.