The Most Refreshing Personalities in the NFL
When we come across NFL stars with down-to-earth personalities, it is refreshing and comforting in many ways. With today's 24/7 media cycle, it seems too many arrogant and egotistical players are given coverage because of their penchant for acting out.
At the same time, there are other players who seem to go too far in the other direction, abhorring any attention and instead coming off as robotic at times.
It's refreshing when a player says or does the right thing because they want to, not because they have to. It is also refreshing when a player is simply humble and continues to work hard once he's found success. But it is especially refreshing when a player is relatable to a normal fan.
Seeing players who have stayed true to themselves while their fame has risen can reaffirm our own passion for the game of football and the brave men who play it.
Here are the 15 most refreshing personalities in the NFL today.
Patrick Willis is very genuine despite his notoriety around the NFL. It is sobering to hear him tell the story of his childhood and how he became one of the best linebackers in the league today.
The San Francisco star's upbringing was unbelievably challenging, but it is refreshing to see how he overcame extreme adversity and is staying humble in the face of his stardom today.
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After three mediocre seasons in the NFL, Brian Hartline finally broke out in 2012. He caught 73 passes for 1,083 yards and signed a new $31 million contract to stay in Miami.
Instead of taking his big paycheck and partying in South Beach all summer, Hartline headed back home to Ohio to work the drive-thru at his convenience store. It is refreshing to see a rising talent working an unglamorous offseason job simply because he enjoys it.
Considered a once-in-a-generation football talent, Luck is actually a soccer fan who lived in Europe as a child before settling in Texas for high school. It is refreshing to see such an accomplished young star have interests outside of football and try to give back to his fans (fair warning: video will make you tear up).
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There is a lot of mystery still surrounding Ed Reed, but what we do know is fascinating and awe-inspiring. Reed may be a living legend, but he has embraced the shadows throughout his decorated career.
This story by Kevin Van Valkenburg of ESPN gives us a very in-depth look at the future Hall of Fame safety. It is refreshing to see how Reed has stayed humble and is "willing to help everybody, from the [starters] down to the rookies," as former teammate Corey Graham said in the article.
Jason Witten is a universally well-liked player on one of the most divisive teams in any sport in America, which says a lot about his personality in the first place.
The tight end won the 2013 Walter Payton Man of the Year Award, which recognizes a player for his charity work. It is refreshing to see how Witten used a positive influence like his grandfather to learn how to become a great man and generous star.
Torrey Smith's remarkable story has been well-documented; the night after his brother died in a tragic motorcycle accident, Smith decided to play against the Patriots and caught two touchdowns in a momentous Baltimore victory.
Smith took care of his siblings as a child, and is now emerging as a leader on the Ravens and in his community. It is refreshing to see a player wear his heart on his sleeve while remaining respectful and dignified.
Jared Allen is one of the most talented and interesting players in the league right now. The defensive end is an outdoorsman, comedian, entertainer and football player all wrapped in one.
There have been countless great interviews, funny quips before games, night-ops golfing and grocery-store shenanigans at Thanksgiving. It is refreshing to see a player flaunt his big personality while staying down to earth at the same time.
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Calvin Johnson is on pace to be one of the greatest receivers in NFL history and seems larger than life on the field. But when he isn't playing football, Johnson comes off as a regular guy with normal interests like art and baseball.
He grew up with demanding parents who placed a premium on humility, education and hard work, and it is refreshing to see how unassuming a guy with the nickname "Megatron" is once he takes off the pads.
The Manning Brothers
Peyton and Eli Manning have three Super Bowl rings and a massive amount of other awards between them, but when they are together they still come off as a couple of goofy brothers.
They have each separately hosted episodes of Saturday Night Live, and their Direct TV advertisements are absolutely hilarious. It is refreshing to see two accomplished quarterbacks from a famous family acting like regular brothers who joke around and make fun of themselves.
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After winning the Butkus award at Boston College, being the ninth pick in the draft and then winning the Defensive Rookie of the Year Award all in roughly one calendar year, Luke Kuechly had plenty of reasons to celebrate this offseason.
Instead, the hard-nosed linebacker went back to school. He took classes at BC, living on campus as a normal student working toward his degree. It is refreshing to see a gritty young player like Kuechly heading back to school to finish his education.
If you were going to raise a young kid to play football and handle themselves the right way, Kam Chancellor would be a great example to use.
Chancellor is a ferocious hitter and great leader both on the field and in his community. The veteran safety will speak his mind and has been the voice of reason on a boisterous Seattle defense. It is refreshing to see a high-profile player doing little things to help both his team and his hometown.
Joe Thomas has been one of, if not the best player at his position since entering the league in 2007, yet he has managed to mostly stay out of the spotlight. But he has made headlines recently by discussing his hatred of losing and desire to win with the Browns.
Thomas has also been lauded for his admirable work with troops in Afghanistan, the NFL's brain injury center, and charities around Cleveland. It is refreshing to see a future Hall of Fame player professing his desire to win with the team who drafted him and doing so much work to help others.
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Arguably the most underrated defensive player in the NFL, Cameron Wake has flown under the radar even while dominating at his position for three straight seasons and gaining a reputation as one of the hardest working players in the league.
This amazing Grantland story shows how Wake went from undrafted and working at Bally's fitness to CFL star and finally an NFL Pro Bowler. It is refreshing to see how a player built himself up from the bottom and stayed humble once he reached the top.
Last but certainly not least is quarterback Joe Flacco, whose "dull" personality has taken on a life of its own over the past few months. In a New York Times article that featured his father Steve describing him as such, Flacco is portrayed as a somewhat regular, goofy guy whose sense of humor is revealed in these great wedding photos.
Flacco has been in the media more often since winning the Super Bowl this past February, and his true personality has really broken through. It is refreshing to see a player stay true to himself even while he is at the pinnacle of his sport.