15 Current NFL Players Who Will Make Awesome Future Head Coaches
Many NFL players that go on to become coaches do so because they can't stand being away from the game. It has consumed their life from middle school until the end of their playing career, and nothing else will fill that void.
But there are other qualities required to become an exceptional head coach in the league. You must be able to inspire, motivate and teach.
The players on this list possess at least one of those qualities and therefore have the possibility of becoming respected coaches.
Honorable Mention: Kyle Vanden Bosch, Detroit Lions
Kyle Vanden Bosch of the Detroit Lions has played a large role in the turnaround taking place in Motown.
On midnight of the opening day of free agency in 2010, Lions head coach Jim Schwartz was in Kyle's driveway preparing to pitch Detroit as his next playing destination. Schwartz had coached Vanden Bosch with the Tennessee Titans and knew the impact he could have on his young team.
Vanden Bosch has not disappointed. He has taught the young Lions what work ethic is, and he often ends plays in practice 30 yards downfield attempting to strip the ball carrier.
The only thing holding him back from coaching is his intensity. It is difficult to keep your team composed when your coach is losing it.
15. Greg McElroy, New York Jets
New York Jets quarterback Greg McElroy may never become a big name in the NFL, but he has been a winner his entire life.
He led his high school team to the Texas 5A state title while breaking the single-season record for touchdown passes with 56. He then went on to lead the Alabama Crimson Tide to the national championship a few years later.
McElroy tested well on the Wonderlic Test, as he had either a 48 or 43. These results place him in the "super genius" or "genius" category.
It's obvious that he has the intelligence and leadership to become a solid head coach.
14. Chris Harris, Detroit Lions
The former Chicago Bear turned Detroit Lion comes across as a thoughtful man. Chris Harris may say things you don't like, but they will generally be well-reasoned insights.
His Twitter feed can provide you with analysis that illustrates his understanding of the game.
He was named to the All-Pro team as recently as last year, so he will be able to garner the respect of the players. This is a crucial trait, because if they don't respect you, they will not listen.
13. Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals
Andy Dalton has been having a solid rookie season statistically. More importantly, he has the Cincinnati Bengals in first place and the top spot in the AFC.
He has displayed the type of leadership that caused the Bengals to grab him in the second round of the NFL draft. That trait served him well, considering he left TCU as the winningest quarterback in school history.
As his career unfolds, he may add quite a few accolades to his resume. These will only bolster his credibility should he become a head coach.
12. Ryan Clark, Pittsburgh Steelers
Ryan Clark has had to fight to make it in the NFL. He started out on the New York Giants practice squad and only played special teams during his time on the active roster.
He continued to work and is now the starting safety for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
His toughness is beyond reproach. He has sickle cell anemia, which caused complications during a game against the Denver Broncos.
He also understands the intricacies of football. Combined with his toughness, he will be able to get the message across to his players.
11. Terrell Suggs, Baltimore Ravens
The fiery Baltimore Ravens linebacker is one of the leaders of their feared defense.
Terrell Suggs has no problem riling up the troops and preparing them to play at their highest level. Additionally, his playing resume will lend integrity to the choice of him as a head coach.
He will come across as a Rex Ryan-type coach who is not afraid to be quoted. Players put everything on the line when they believe their coach has their back, and Suggs most definitely would let them know that he does.
10. Ryan Fitzpatrick, Buffalo Bills
Ryan Fitzpatrick is a natural-born leader. He has been a catalyst of the Buffalo Bills return to relevancy.
Few players get more respect than a franchise quarterback. Fitzpatrick has worked his way up from a seventh-round pick to journeyman quarterback to the face of a franchise.
In addition, he is a Harvard man. He obviously has the intelligence to go along with the work ethic.
9. Ray Lewis, Baltimore Ravens
Ray Lewis has been the backbone of the Baltimore Ravens defense for over a decade.
He quarterbacked that defense to a Super Bowl championship. Since then, he has inspired those around him to maintain that high level of play as the defense is always among the best in the NFL.
His animation and fiery attitude are comparable to former San Francisco 49ers head coach Mike Singletary. Singletary's run as coach may not have lasted long, but Lewis has the skills to put together a decent head coaching career.
8. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
Aaron Rodgers' 2011 seasons will go down as one of the most dominant ever. He is on pace to break multiple records, and the Green Bay Packers have yet to lose a game.
His performance has been so masterful because he completely understands the offense. This football intelligence sets him apart as a possible head coaching candidate.
He also has a chip-on-his-shoulder attitude, which means he will be able to relate to the players and motivate them.
7. Hines Ward, Pittsburgh Steelers
The word "warrior" is thrown around too often in the sports world, but it seems to aptly describe Hines Ward.
The Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver has been called one of the dirtiest players in the league because he actually goes out and hits people. Defensive players don't like being shown up by wideouts.
However, he is also a great player who won a Super Bowl MVP award. His resume is another one that will grab players' attention and allow him to lead.
6. Tim Tebow, Denver Broncos
Tim Tebow may not have a long career as a starting quarterback in the NFL, but this won't affect his chances of coaching later on.
He has been a winner throughout his high school and college days, winning two national championships while at Florida. He also was the first player to win a Heisman trophy as a sophomore.
Tebow has not run conventional NFL offenses, so he will probably need a skilled offensive coordinator to call plays.
However, players will play hard for him because of his tireless work ethic. That is the type of thing that players truly respect.
5. Jeff Saturday, Indianapolis Colts
Jeff Saturday has been the anchor of the offensive line that has protected Peyton Manning for over a decade.
The Indianapolis Colts center has a Super Bowl championship and multiple Pro Bowls on his resume. Additionally, he is the one who must make all the protection calls, which demonstrates his ability to grasp the nuances of the game.
Saturday was also a prominent member of the labor negotiation team for the players' union during the lockout. He is respected among his peers and obviously would be able to hold the players' attention as a head coach.
4. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints
Drew Brees is the centerpiece of the New Orleans Saints' rise to relevancy. He has an amazing command of Sean Payton's offense and has led them to a Super Bowl win.
More than that, he has been vital to the recovery efforts of the city itself. Brees has become the face of the city as well as the franchise.
His size was always used to dismiss him, but his heart and work ethic have made him a member of the elite club of NFL quarterbacks. If Payton ever steps down after Brees' playing career ends, the front office will not need to look far for his replacement.
3. Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers
Philip Rivers is in the midst of a slump, but that shouldn't denigrate what has been a stellar career thus far.
The son of a coach, Rivers clearly understands the game of football, and his career stats back that up.
2. Peyton Manning, Indianapolis Colts
Peyton Manning's importance to the Indianapolis Colts is on full display this season. Without the franchise quarterback, the Colts have looked lost and unmotivated.
Manning is the quintessential coach on the field. He has run the offense for years and essentially is the offensive coordinator.
He tirelessly studies the game and has turned multiple receivers into big-time performers. His stern demeanor is reminiscent of Tom Coughlin of the New York Giants.
1. Charles Woodson, Green Bay Packers
There is nothing that Charles Woodson needs to accomplish at this point in his career.
He won the Heisman trophy and a national championship as a member of the Michigan Wolverines. He was named the 2009 Defensive Player of the Year and continues to maintain a high level of play late into his career.
In order to succeed at his age, you must have a deep understanding of the game, because you cannot overcome mistakes with sheer athleticism anymore.
His most impressive trait has been his leadership. His tutoring is partially responsible for Tramon Williams' rise as a player.
Lastly, the speech he gave last year after the NFC Championship game will send shivers down the back of anyone who has ever played a sport.