NFL: The 11 Worst Excuses in League History
"The dog ate my homework" is probably the most well-known excuse in our society and reserved for children trying to cover up the fact that they were lazy.
But even so-called adults—and football players—have tried ways to bend the truth more than Superman bends a steel pipe.
It's safe to say the validity of these 11 memorable excuses in NFL history is flimsy at best, but they sure do make for fascinating stories.
11. Shawne Merriman
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When Shawne Merriman, then with the San Diego Chargers, violated the NFL's steroid policy in October 2006, he took the natural route that most athletes take when they get busted.
Merriman claimed his testing positive for the anabolic steroid nandrolone was the result of a tainted nutritional supplement he had taken on a regular basis.
The consequence for his violation was a suspension of four games and a reputation of having tried to cheat the NFL's drug prevention system.
It's amazing that excuses like this are commonplace in the modern sports world.
10. Albert Haynesworth
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Albert Haynesworth has been nothing but trouble for the Washington Redskins.
He caused a bit more of a mess at the W Hotel in downtown Washington, D.C. this past April. An African-American waitress there accused the defensive lineman of inserting his credit card into her cleavage and then proceeding to cop a feel.
Haynesworth denied such action with an unusual reason.
"I didn't touch her," he told police. "I don't even like black girls. I know what this is about, she is just upset I have a white girlfriend. I couldn't tell you the last time I dated a black girl. She was trying to get with me."
9. Jay Cutler
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OK, Jay Cutler may have actually injured himself during the Bears' NFC Championship Game defeat to the Green Bay Packers last season at Soldier Field.
But you'd be hard pressed to find many that still believe him.
In the third quarter, Cutler left the field with a bum left knee. It was reported afterward that he suffered an MCL tear.
Despite the news, the ripping of Cutler during and after the game for his lack of toughness in a game with such magnitude was merciless. But Cutler may have brought this wrath upon himself with an attitude that rubs many the wrong way.
8. Michael Vick
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The Philadelphia story in Michael Vick's saga has, so far, been a positive one both on and off the field.
As we all know, his time in Atlanta didn't end very well. His dog-fighting involvement that got him put in jail in 2007 overshadows an incident that occurred earlier that year.
The former Falcon signal caller was detained at the Miami airport when security scanners found a hidden compartment in his water bottle. That section of the bottle had the stench of marijuana and appeared to contain the residue of that drug.
But it wasn't for weed, Vick stated. Instead, it was a holding area for his jewelry.
7. Lawrence Taylor
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Involvement in prostitution won't get a person any closer to sainthood. Doing the deed with someone who has yet to graduate high school is a whole different story.
For Hall of Fame linebacker Lawrence Taylor, this is just the latest in a tainted post-career life.
L.T. was arrested in 2010 for having sex with a 16-year-old girl and was charged with felony third-degree statutory rape.
In January 2011, the 51-year-old Taylor admitted in court to having sex with a prostitute who turned out to be a Bronx runaway that was actually three years younger.
"She told me she was 19," he said.
Yeah, that's so much less creepy.
6. Michael Irvin
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In sticking with the introduction and bringing up childhood themes...didn't we all have imaginary friends when we were young?
Michael Irvin apparently had one up to at least 2005, and it had a serious drug problem. The former Dallas Cowboy wideout's story goes as follows:
After being pulled over by Plano, Texas police during a traffic stop, a drug pipe was found by officers in the vehicle Irvin was operating.
The "Playmaker's" next move was to say the pipe belonged to a friend of 17 years who left a Houston rehabilitation center and came to his house for Thanksgiving. The name, however, was not revealed (Nate Newton, perhaps?).
Irvin was charged with misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia.
5. Brandon Marshall
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Athletes have found a lot of weird ways to get injured. Future Hall of Fame pitcher John Smoltz allegedly suffered burns on his upper body because he ironed his shirt while wearing it.
Brandon Marshall's tale is a good one as well.
While a member of the Denver Broncos in March 2008, Marshall suffered an arm injury that required stitches. Initial reports were that he put his arm through a television screen.
However, reports surfaced soon after that Marshall slipped on a McDonald's bag, which made him put the arm through the TV set.
There's no need to speculate on if this was true...because he admitted it wasn't a few days later.
4. Shaun Rogers
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When Shaun Rogers went to Cleveland Hopkins International Airport, he probably went through the basic procedures all passengers encounter when they approach the terminal: Do I have my shampoo and toothpaste in a separate plastic bag? Do I have my ticket and boarding pass ready? Have I told security there's a loaded .45-caliber gun in my carry-on luggage?
The latter was not included in Rogers' thought process—and in today's ultra tight watch in airports, this can only be classified as super-moronic.
While with the Browns in April 2010, he was stopped at a security checkpoint when officials spotted a handgun in his bag (with bullets in the chambers).
That was allegedly a surprise to Rogers, who didn't think the weapon was loaded when he was preparing to board the plane.
3. Vinny Testaverde
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In 1986, Vinny Testaverde claimed the Heisman Trophy at the University of Miami. In April 1987, he was selected No. 1 overall by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Testaverde's attempts to salvage this fledgling franchise didn't work, as he went winless in the four games he started that season.
The 1988 campaign saw Testaverde start 15 games. In all, he threw for 13 touchdowns and had a league-topping 35 interceptions. There has to be a good reason for this, right?
Apparently, Testaverde's sight was like the beginning of The Wizard of Oz. He claimed that color-blindness was the main cause of his ill-fated pass attempts.
Testaverde went on to wear the colors of six other NFL franchises in his lengthy career, but he probably couldn't tell you what they were.
2. Plaxico Burress
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As Plaxico Burress tries to rehabilitate his image and attempts to make his way back into the NFL, it's not hard to forget how he got himself into this mess.
On Nov. 28, 2008, the former New York Giants wide receiver suffered an accidental, self-inflicted gunshot wound at a Manhattan nightclub. Having the gun—loaded, of course—in his pants is dumb in itself, but the fact that he did not have a permit for the weapon raises the stupidity meter to a whole new level.
Another amusing little nugget from this matter occurred shortly after the incident, when Burress told the hospital he was taken to that he'd been shot at an Applebee's restaurant.
It was no laughing matter to Burress, who received a two-year jail sentence and has missed two seasons of football.
1. Brian Cushing
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No matter has prompted more ridiculous excuses than steroids and human growth hormones.
Many of these "reasons" have come from baseball, but the most laughable explanation in football was from the mouth of Brian Cushing.
In September 2009, the Houston Texans linebacker tested positive for human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG), a fertility drug that is on the NFL's banned substance list. The report of this test surfaced in May 2010 and resulted in him being suspended for the first four games of the following season.
Cushing challenged this suspension, stating he tested positive for HCG because he has a medical condition resulting from "overtrained athlete syndrome."
HCG is widely taken by steroid users to help restart natural testosterone production.
If only Cushing could find a drug that could help restart his brain and make him think of a better excuse.