There are always interesting facts about any person's life story. In the NFL, there are great stories and little tidbits of information about many of the league's stars that few have noticed and many would find interesting.
An athlete or coach's high school or college path seems to always have a uniqueness that any person can appreciate.
Whether it be an injury, a different position, a small school in Illinois or other events, the people in this slideshow have parts to their story few fans know about.
Here are seven interesting facts you didn't know about current NFL players and coaches.
In a Blind Side-like manner, Maclin was raised by a surrogate family in Kirkwood, MO. The family discovered him playing little league football.
Before his days at the University of Missouri and with the Philadelphia Eagles, Maclin was also featured in a 2002 Sports Illustrated article. It was about the Thanksgiving rivalry between Kirkwood High School and Webster Groves High School in Missouri.
Before his great career with the Florida Gators, Tebow was a heralded high school player out of Nease High School in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.
His team showed up on the MTV show Two-A-Days in 2006, which featured the Hoover, Alabama Buccaneers. In this episode, Hoover defeated Nease 50-29 despite Tebow’s 398 yards passing and 54 yards rushing.
Before Rodgers became an NFL star and Super Bowl MVP, he almost walked away from football.
Aaron Rodgers received one scholarship offer from the University of Illinois coming out of high school. At that point, Rodgers almost walked away from the game to pursue a law degree.
Luckily for Packers’ fans, Butte Community College in California convinced Rodgers to play quarterback for them. Rodgers had one great season there and then three for the Cal Bears.
The rest is history.
Hillis was Darren McFadden and Felix Jones’ fullback at the University of Arkansas. Arkansas’ vaunted “Wild Hog” running package was deadly, having three future NFL players in its backfield in 2006 and 2007.
Hillis would be drafted in the seventh round of the 2008 NFL Draft as a fullback by the Denver Broncos. After injuries at the running back position, Hillis became the feature back in Denver. He then continued his rise to fame with the Cleveland Browns, earning Madden 2012 cover honors this year.
Both Brees and Tomlinson are from Texas. They played together in a few Texas high school All-Star games in 1996. They were Heisman Trophy finalists together in 2000. Brees and Tomlinson were then drafted by the San Diego Chargers in the 2001 NFL Draft.
San Diego made Tomlinson the fifth overall selection in the first round and Brees the 32nd choice overall.
After Brees left for New Orleans, the two were again connected, as they shared the 2006 NFL Man of the Year Award for their philanthropic work.
Few people realize that the Eastern Illinois Panthers have a rich football tradition.
Current Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo was a star player there from 1999 until 2002. He won the Walter Payton award there as the nation’s top player during his senior season.
The tradition doesn’t stop with Romo.
Two current NFL head coaches and one former head coach have EIU ties. Super Bowl-winning coaches Sean Payton (Saints) and Mike Shanahan (Redskins) are graduates of Eastern Illinois. Former Vikings head coach Brad Childress also graduated from the school.
In 1994, an injury to Tennessee quarterback Todd Helton gave Peyton Manning a chance to play quarterback. He never relinquished the position and became a college and NFL legend.
Helton didn’t do badly for himself either. He went on to a possible hall-of-fame career with the Colorado Rockies in Major League Baseball.