Although they can add an additional element to a recreational game, flags are rarely a good thing when talking about professional football. Red flags can be particularly worrisome when heading into a fresh NFL season.
We're not talking about the kind of flags that can penalize a team on the football field (those are yellow...and sometimes pink). We're also not talking about the red challenge flag (which rarely seems to go your team's way).
We're talking about the type of red flags that have the potential to negatively impact a team's entire season.
In this instance, we're talking about red-flag players. Those players that have the potential to be great but that also carry a heightened risk for injury, off-field issues or suspension.
After all, having a truly special player can dramatically increase an NFL team's chances of advancing to the postseason and beyond. However, that player cannot do a whole lot of good if he is too busy causing distractions or is unable to consistently find his way onto the football field.
Over the next few pages, we will examine the biggest red-flag players heading into the 2014 season.