For most NFL fans, that original dream of becoming a big time quarterback, wide receiver, or running back never really dies.
Everyone always wishes they could have made it, and for the precious few who do, there is a lot of adoration and money involved.
But those two ingredients seem to make a couple of folks forget how lucky they are to be living the dream and instead do the unthinkable...
Some hold out from practice, others threaten to go play baseball, and there are some who skip their entire rookie seasons to head back into the draft.
This is a list of the guys who took it just a little to far when fighting with management over the Benjamins, and made our collective stomachs churn in disgust.
At least temporarily.
The worst part for some fans is wondering what could have been if these guys simply would have shown up and played.
Kelly Stouffer didn't have a particularly memorable career, but he did manage to elevate the term hold out to a completely new level of, "Wow...that guy is a dick!"
After being drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in the first round of the 1987 NFL Draft, Stouffer proceeded to sit out the entire season because of contract disputes.
It was a career move he never recovered from.
While his four year stint in Seattle (which started in 1988 because he decided he wanted a year of unpaid leave INSTEAD of playing in the NFL) started off promisingly, he regressed at a Ryan Leaf-esque pace back down to third string in the next few years.
He could have been a lot if he had just played ball.
It should be pointed out that he did take the quarterback position to a new level of bad ass when he stepped in as the third stringer, broke his nose, and then threw a touchdown.
Strangely, he reappeared on the Carolina Panthers practice squad in 1996.
Anybody know what he is up to these days?
Albert Haynesworth is a big, rich, sweaty hold out.
The guy is proof that money kills talent. He hasn't been going to any of the Redskins training events this off season and is still hoping for a trade.
Good luck with that, Albert.
No one else in the league is interested in taking on his contract and it seems that Dan Snyder has accidentally weighed down the Mike Shanahan regime with it.
What is really annoying about Haynesworth is that he is a very talented player. He could literally build a gold swimming pool and fill it with one hundred dollar bills, and he still is acting like a malcontent.
The Tennessee Titans jumped off of that train at exactly the right time.
I'd heard DC changes people, but for Haynesworth, it definitely hasn't made him better.
I have to start out by giving Cornelius Bennett some props.
He was one talented football player, amassing five Pro Bowl appearances, the 1986 Lombardi Award, and the honor of being named to the 1990s NFL All Decade Team.
However Bennett was unable to agree in contract terms with the Indianapolis Colts when they drafted him in 1987, so he was sent to the Buffalo Bills in a package deal that brought the Colts Eric Dickerson from L.A.
While the Colts were saddled with injuries and further contract disputes with Dickerson, Bennett was leading the Bills defense to a strong of Superbowl appearances (four of them, in fact).
Then he went over to Atlanta and took them to a Super Bowl.
He ended his career in 2000 after ironically signing with the Colts, but fans are always going to have to remember what could have been with this guy.
In hindsight, it is really painful to say goodbye to a five time Super Bowl player (he isn't the only Colts draftee on this list with five Super Bowl appearances, either).
A lot of folks have long forgotten that Emmitt Smith was a hold out, but in 1989, he skipped all of the preseason before signing with the Dallas Cowboys five days ahead of the season.
And then he went on to become the NFL's all time leading rusher.
What is annoying about Smith is that it is kind of an obnoxious little dent in his otherwise shining armor.
He was definitely a a bargain as the 17th overall pick (people passed on him because they thought he was too small for the NFL, whoops) but the move seemed like a response to being insulted at the draft.
Emmitt is sitting pretty in the shade now though.
I think Drew Rosenhaus is the real culprit here, but Terrell Owens is the master of being obnoxious on camera.
My favorite T.O. tantrum occurred in 2005 when he ran around Philadelphia demanding money from everyone (literally everyone) and took a little bit of time off to do some sit ups in his driveway.
The guy is, in my opinion, the reason that Philadelphia never won a Superbowl during the Donovan McNabb era.
Owens did eventually show up to play, but we all know how well that went.
The circus that follows him everywhere is probably the main reason he is still a free agent.
That, and I'm sure Rosenhaus wants a lot of money.
Michael Crabtree is better than Darrius Heyward-Bey.
I said it. It's out there.
Don't hate me for it, Al Davis.
But the way he behaved after getting drafted actually gave Raider Nation a cause to celebrate for skipping on him.
Michael Crabtree's experience with the San Francisco 49ers left many thinking he would actually hold out until the following season and re-enter the draft.
This was a classic case of a very talented player forgetting how lucky he was to be playing football and instead haggling over the gigantic sum of money that had been offered to him.
Eventually, he caved when he realized no one else would come close to offering him a huge contract the following year if he returned to the draft.
Eli Manning is the guy who refused to play for the San Diego Chargers because he simply didn't like them. I think?
Has it ever actually been clarified what Eli's problem was with San Diego?
Either way, the Chargers ended up with Philip Rivers, Shawne Merriman, and Nate Kaeding and the New York Giants got Eli Manning.
Somehow, Eli Manning won a Super Bowl (I'm still not quite sure I understand how that happened) while the Chargers manage to fall apart in, or right before, the AFC Championship game every year.
And in a statistical comparison, Philip Rivers is probably the better quarterback.
I think the mystery, and the high-profile nature of Eli Manning (and his refusal to play for San Diego), forced him way up on this list.
JaMarcus Russell is the biggest NFL Draft bust ever.
I have him heads and shoulders beyond Ryan Leaf. There isn't even a comparison.
Russell was taken with the first pick and signed the largest rookie contract in the history of the NFL after a long (and frustrating) hold out period.
The guy then managed to do nothing for the team while eating every meal at McDonald's for the next three years until being cut.
It is hilarious, in hindsight, to think that this guy had the contract leverage to hold out (unless you're an Oakland Raiders fan, then it is probably really sad).
Somehow he did, and he managed to score a lot of money out of it, in return for his services. Which amounted to nothing.
If you have never heard him talk, go to Youtube.com (after finishing this article) and look him up in an interview. It is amazing to me that Oakland didn't see this coming.
Oh wait, Lane Kiffin did, and he got fired for speaking against Russell.
Everything about this guy's situation is obnoxious.
A lot of people have forgotten that John Elway was drafted by the Baltimore Colts in 1983.
He basically did what Eli Manning did, only he dragged it out longer and then became an NFL legend.
John threatened to go play professional baseball if he wasn't traded, and eventually, the Colts gave in (sending him to the Denver Broncos).
Elway then went on to become my childhood idol, going to nine Pro Bowls, five Super Bowls, and winning two Lombardi Trophies.
People often forget how incredible his career actually was.
Over 15 years (a very long time in the NFL), a third of his seasons resulted in Super Bowl appearances.
Quarterbacks just aren't built with those intangibles anymore.
However, from the perspective of Colts fans, this guy is one of the most annoying of all time. Losing him gave the Denver Broncos a big chunk of the 1980s and 1990s that could have belonged to Baltimore/Indianapolis (there is a whole new can of worms).
Well, Elway threatened to go play baseball for a year, but Bo Jackson actually did go play baseball.
After being selected by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1986, Bo Jackson responded by signing up with the Kansas City Royals (who were the defending World Series Champions at the time).
Since the Buccaneers had told him to choose football or baseball, he seemed to have made his choice (after making Tampa Bay waste the first overall pick in that draft).
He then re-entered the NFL draft later and played with the Los Angeles Raiders.
Jackson had interesting careers in both football and baseball, but you just can't top what he did to Tampa Bay.