The NFL is filled with outlandish personalities and extreme participants.
As violent as the sport is (which we all love), the league has yet to embrace tattoos.
It is understandable, to a certain extent. The NFL makes ridiculous paper through advertisements, and the average potential advertiser may not be very pleased that so many of the players are inked up.
Those in the not-close-to-desensitized part of the public, which is obviously still a huge and important demographic for companies, still see tattoos as signs of thugs, gangsters, rockers and social outcasts.
Just think about it. NBA video games, despite the league's enforcement of a dress code to clean up the sport's image, has had true-to-life tattoos on their players' bodies since NBA 2K on Dreamcast. On the contrary, it is 2013, but Madden still does not allow tattoos in the game. Real-life physics does not mean real-life skin.
Regardless of whether the NFL embraces them, the league's players will continue to rock their stories proudly. This is a right every person has.
Let's look at a few notable NFL players who don some of the most ink in the league.
Jonathan Joseph has changed the Houston Texans defense.
The second-best man-coverage corner in the game sticks to receivers like ink on skin.
I guess it is only fitting that he is covered in ink as well, though the South Carolina Gamecock product may have competition from another alum: Chris Culliver.
Joseph makes the list because, as much growth as Culliver has shown, Joseph is just a better player.
As one of the fastest players in the NFL, Mike Wallace puts fear in opposing secondaries. He is the best deep threat in NFL and has been waiting to be paid accordingly.
While he waits to put ink on a new contract, Wallace continues to put ink on himself.
The Cincinnati Bengals' Rey Maualuga is a sideline-to-sideline linebacker with immense talent.
But the two most noticeable things about the backer out of USC are his long Samoan hair and those intricate, powerful Polynesian tribal tattoos.
Vernon Davis is an absolute physical specimen. He is the fastest player at his position in the NFL. He caught the game-winning touchdown to lift the 49ers over the New Orleans Saints in the divisional round in January.
He's been in the end zone four times in four games in 2012.
San Francisco's star tight end has also been in the shop more than a few times since he entered the league.
He is also the first member on this list who has a sibling who was left off. His brother, Vonte, also has an assortment of body art.
Virginia has grown its fair share of tattooed star athletes. DeAngelo Hall fits the bill.
It started with Allen Iverson. Michael Vick and Brandon Flowers are two other names that immediately come to mind as well.
Hall is a ball-hawk who gets his hands on the football,though, at times, that is his biggest fault.
All that being said, he is on this list for one reason. It's all in the ink.
Donte Whitner is an intimidating presence on the football field, one of the many physical pieces on San Francisco's 11-man wrecking ball.
Off the field, Whitner has tattooed himself more than he tattooed Saints running back Pierre Thomas in 2011's NFC divisional playoff game.
The New England Patriots' star tight end Aaron Hernandez has been rocking a bunch of ink since his days as a Florida Gator.
Hernandez commemorates his father with his favorite quotes: He has "If it is to be, it is up to me" and "Some do, some don't" tatted on him.
The Bristol, Conn. native starting getting tattoos in high school, which is more and more common nowadays.
Maurkice and Mike Pouncey were two noticeably-tattooed lineman since they were manning the offensive front at the University of Florida. Maurkice is the better player, which is why he finds himself on this list instead of his brother.
According to Aaron Hernandez, he and the Pouncey brothers were best friends at Florida. It is obvious that they had similar hobbies.
Patrick Willis is a monster between the lines. Patrick Willis is, well, Patrick Willis.
He seems to understand the concept.
His “I’M” and “ME” (inked on the inside of his biceps) tattoos ensure that Willis is sure of his identity.
He’s been known to impose his will on opposing ball carriers, which can be summed up by the “Strong Willed" that is tattooed on his right chest.
The football on his left chest, which holds his jersey number, has the words “Prototype” tattooed under it.
Willis is definitely a prototype.
Philadelphia Eagles receiver DeSean Jackson has gotten his fair share of ink.
Most notable amongst his tattoos are his two arm sleeves, which bare several symbols giving shoutouts to his hometown.
Jackson has the words “South” and “Central” on the inside of his right and left biceps, which is an obvious ode to South Central Los Angeles, Jackson’s hometown. He also sports a Washington Nationals’ logo on his arm, which symbolizes “West Side.”
Jackson also has “No Struggle” and “God’s” on his right hand and “No Progress” and “Gift” on his left.
Obviously, it spells out “No Struggle, No Progress” and “God’s Gift.”
Jackson’s speed is definitely a gift from God.
Johnson is obviously ta-tatted up. Arms, check. Torso, check. Back, check.
He is just incredibly self-centered, and I mean that merely because of his tattoo choices:
He has a Steve-O-esque portrait of himself on his left shoulder. Who in the world tattoos their own face on themselves? I mean, besides Steve-O. I never understood why. But it’s not my story to tell.
Johnson also has “CJ” and “2K” on his traps, accompanied with wings. He can certainly fly, with his 4.24 speed.
He also dons “Cause I’m a Star” across his chest. Right below the phrase is an illuminated star.
For someone who seems to have lost the skill that once matched his self-promotion and conceit, Johnson sure did mark it up when he got on top.
WHY SO SERIOUS?
Big ups to everybody on the list.
Tattoos tell stories. I don't care if they change the way people perceive me. I am what I am, and it is what it is. We all have a story to tell. I've never been ashamed to share mine. It's my struggle.
Many NFL players overcame insurmountable obstacles to get where they are. Their tattoos are their story. Let them tell it.