Call it the anti-Disney.
Because the League is rife with stories of wasted talent.
Throughout its history, there have been shining examples of dim bulbs who were too lazy to make the most of their considerable physical gifts. Whether they lacked the discipline to train adequately, to learn the playbook, to conform to reasonable codes of conduct or to just get on the damn field, one of the few constants as the NFL evolved from novelty to national pastime has been the shameless waste of talent.
Though players like Jeff George, Maurice Clarett and Randy Moss have come and gone, there are still plenty of their like-minded brethren to carry the standard.
Or make that substandard.
Here are the 10 laziest players in the NFL today:
It's been almost a month since the Cincinnati Bengals' Jerome Simpson got tapped by the long arm of the law, which means it's been almost a month since a Bungle has been in hot water with the authorities.
C'mon fellas, where's the effort?
From everything I've read, this kid is supposed to be the savior, but Tim Tebow's been in the NFL for more than a year now and take a look around.
The Denver Broncos still stink.
Millions of Americans are still out of work.
The global economy is still in the pooper.
And Israel still can't get along with Palestine.
What the hell, man?
Move it or lose it, Timmy.
I feel a little bad about this one because it's kind of a cheap shot.
Considering that Terrence Cody used to look like this, well, he probably deserves credit for working harder than usual to shave off those unsightly curves.
Still, Mt. Cody rocks a pretty considerable gut and—considering his profession—that's gotta be the result of diet, which is a kind of laziness.
Nobody said all those calories have to be empty ones.
The timing is less than perfect on this one as Pittsburgh Steeler fans will happily inform anyone within earshot that Rashard Mendenhall had himself quite a day in Week 6, rushing 146 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries.
Even better, he didn't fumble.
But therein lies the rub—Mendenhall has had a reputation for fumbling the pigskin since early in his career and yet the problem still came up to bite the Steel Curtain last year in the Super Bowl when Rashard coughed up the ball on the first play of the fourth quarter.
That sort of inattention to detail, from a guy who should always know he's wearing a target for such ball-hawking shenanigans, can only be attributed to lack of concentration.
And that's just another word for lazy.
Plus there's that whole 9/11 conspiracy nonsense, which would imply he's been too lazy to pick up a newspaper in the last decade...
One side effect of steroid use is violent emotional outbreaks, or so we're told.
Another is being labeled "lazy" because the steroid user is looking for a shortcut to acquire results presumably achieved on the up-and-up by other competitors.
Merriman appears to be suffering from the former in the picture above and I'm slapping him with the latter thanks to his positive test for anabolic steroids back in 2006.
Forgive and forget, you say?
It's a deal...once performance enhancers are a thing of the past.
Until then, users shouldn't get to skate.
Why Merriman and not the Houston Texans' inside linebacker Brian Cushing, who also tested hot for PEDs?
Because Shawne's altercation with Tila Tequila—all three feet of her or whatever—puts him over the top. I mean, putting your hands on someone who's literally a third your size? And a female at that?
You could call Brandon Marshall lazy because the wide receiver has some of the most staggering physical tools in the NFL yet he's been largely underwhelming during his still-young career. After establishing a formidable pairing with Jay Cutler while a Denver Bronco, Marshall has almost completely disappeared as a Miami Dolphin.
Sure, some of that can be blamed on shoddy quarterback play and a generally moribund franchise.
But Brandon has the kind of gifts that should be able to shine to some degree in any situation, provided there's a minimum of effort and desire.
For whatever reason, there doesn't seem to be much of either in all Marshall's impressive packaging.
And now he's wisely shooting his mouth off, promising to get ejected in the second quarter of a Monday Night showdown with the AFC East division rival New York Jets.
You can call it passion; I'll call it what it is.
That's Heisman Trophy winner Matt Leinart in the background there, watching as the Houston Texans' starting quarterback Matt Schaub does a little in-game research.
So after setting the college football world afire and earning himself first-round money as the Arizona Cardinals' No. 10 pick in the 2006 NFL Draft, Matt has done exactly...squat.
Of course, lots of first-round picks fizzle out and enjoy short, nondescript careers in the League—after all, the professional game is a damn sight different than the pseudo-amateur version. But it's the way the former USC Trojan has gone about his flame out.
He showed some promise after a prolonged holdout and actually played decently at times in the desert. Then, Leinart hit a little rough stretch on the injury front and that was, apparently, too much to overcome. Given the physical tools Matt possesses, the fact that he's shown the NFL game isn't totally beyond him, the fact that so many other pro players are able to work through poor health to regain their former stature and the damaging rumors about Leinart's affinity for living the fast/loose social life early in his career, I've gotta believe the QB's failing is one of dedication rather than ability.
And that makes him lazy in my book.
Really, take your pick here.
Plaxico Burress can be called one of the NFL's laziest players for any number of reasons.
He's been known to threaten a holdout, then develop a convenient injury to keep himself off the field. Then, there's the whole gun-down-the-pants thing, which is a solution to an inconvenient gun problem that only the laziest of souls would consider.
But the clincher is the report from prison guards that Plax couldn't even be troubled to keep his spacious cell clean.
Something tells me it's against prison rules to let your cell devolve into a state comparable to a hole in hell.
Which means Burress is a special kind of lazy.
If you know anything about Cromartie, you can probably guess this has nothing to do with this performance or persona on the football field.
Viewed strictly as an athlete, Antonio gives you little about which to complain. He's not quite as good as his defensive backfield mate with the New York Jets, Darrelle Revis. But few would argue the assertion that Mr. Revis is the best cornerback in the NFL.
So no shame there.
Nope, this is all about Cromartie's off-field exploits.
At last count, Antonio has fathered nine children with eight women which means he's too lazy to put on a condom.
Amazingly, that's only good enough for No. 2 on this list and that means No. 31 owes a big thank you to...
Albert Haynesworth apologists will tell you the big fella is misunderstood, that he was placed in an untenable and unfair situation in Washington when the Redskins demanded he move from his ideal position to play nose tackle in the 3-4 scheme.
And they'll tell you the whole can't-pass-the-sprint-test that kept him off Mike Shanahan's field in the Nation's Capital was just another part of an insidious campaign meant to smear the good name of "Fat Albert."
You know, that good name that was established when the then-Tennessee Titan stomped on the un-helmeted head of Andre Gurode...
I've got another theory—Haynesworth is too selfish and lazy to exert the absurd amount of energy it takes to be an effective NFL player unless he gets all the glory he deserves and more.
Regardless, if you sign a $100 million contract and barely see the field?
Congratulations, you're unquestionably the laziest player in the NFL.