How NFL Players Are Spending Their Offseasons
The vacation is one of the most underrated benefits of being alive, especially in an era when technologies like smartphones and laptops have made "the office" more of a concept than a place. The fact some people don't even have the option is cruel and unusual punishment.
What constitutes a vacation isn't as important as being physically and mentally removed from "business as usual." The value of a vacation is measured in how you feel after it's over.
The NFL season is only a few months long, but between OTAs, training camp and the grueling, physically punishing nature of the work itself, the offseason is as close to an extended vacation as an NFL player gets. And like the rest of us, some players go all out and others take a more subdued approach, or pursue interests outside football. Then, there are the guys who never truly "leave the office."
Football fans have the opportunity to get a glimpse into how their favorite players spend the offseason, when they use social media apps like Instagram to share images and thoughts about life away from the game.
This is how NFL players are spending their offseason.
A.J. Klein, Carolina Panthers
Panthers linebacker A.J. Klein and his girlfriend, Kimberly, spent the first few weeks of March on a Caribbean cruise. Port stops along the way included San Juan, Puerto Rico, and the stunningly beautiful island of St. Kitts. The trip was certainly a welcomed change from the weather in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, where Klein spent much of the early offseason snowmobiling.
DeAngelo Williams, Pittsburgh Steelers
Following the season, running back DeAngelo Williams was released by the Panthers, the only team he’d ever played for since being drafted in 2006, making him a free agent. He wasn’t on the market long before heading to Pittsburgh, where he signed with the Steelers.
Aside from dealing with official business in the offseason, Williams has gleefully attended a WWE event, traveled abroad for an international NFL event and found some time for hunting-type activities. The one thing that’s been his constant companion throughout all of the hoopla is his beloved selfie stick, which seems to accompany him everywhere.
Roman Harper, Carolina Panthers
Damontre Moore, New York Giants
Patrick Willis, Recently Retired
In March (former) 49ers linebacker Patrick Willis, who has been among the best defenders in the league since his rookie season in 2007, shocked many when it was announced he was retiring from the NFL at the age of 30. Whatever you may think about the decision, there’s no question that Willis has already embraced his new life of leisure. He’s spent the last few months mostly focused on fishing and good food.
Ryan Clady, Denver Broncos
Broncos offensive tackle Ryan Clady, like so many other professional athletes, has been bitten by the golf bug and spends the offseason fine-tuning his golf game. He’s also been traveling, having recently returned from what looks to be a gloriously blissful vacation to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.
Tim Tebow, Free Agent
A few days ago former Heisman-winning quarterback Tim Tebow wouldn’t have even qualified to be on this list, since he hasn’t been on a roster since 2012. But having recently worked out for the Eagles, it seems there’s at least a chance he might return to the field at some point. Though from the looks of his Instagram posts, he’s been devoting more time to his golf swing than working on his passing accuracy.
Fred Jackson, Buffalo Bills
For veteran Bills running back Fred Jackson, this offseason, like most others, has been all about spending time with the family. Recently he and his adorable son, Ace, hit up a Sabres game together, just a few weeks after treating the kids to front-row seats to Disney on Ice.
Victor Cruz, New York Giants
The offseason of Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz actually started last October, when he went down with a season-ending injury. Although he’s devoted much of the last six months to rehabbing his knee, Cruz found some time to travel to, among other places, Tokyo and Miami. He also attended a few high-profile events, including the Vanity Fair Oscars party and GQ’s All-Star party.
Eric Ebron, Detroit Lions
The Lions don’t have to worry about tight end Eric Ebron showing up to OTAs and/or training camp out of shape this year. Although he occasionally takes time to kick back on the couch and watch college hoops, he balances that r&r out with plenty of time in the gym. Even when he’s at the beach, Ebron is working out.
Justin Britt, Seattle Seahawks
All that sweet free time the offseason provides recently allowed Seahawks offensive tackle Justin Britt to finish a tattoo sleeve on his left arm he’s been working on for a while. Aside from paying to be furiously stabbed with needles, Britt has been hitting the beach with his bros, spending time with family and squeezing in workouts here and there.
Geno Atkins, Cincinnati Bengals
Bengals defensive tackle Geno Atkins has been enjoying the offseason, having recently returned from an action-packed vacation to Hawaii, where he went snorkeling and off-roading. Not that he needed to escape any nasty winter weather—Atkins spends his days relaxing on Miami beaches and his evenings at Heat games.
Deshawn Shead, Seattle Seahawks
Always a popular offseason destination, Seahawks cornerback DeShawn Shead also spent a few weeks in Hawaii. He and his fiancé, Jessica, who Shead actually proposed to via the Jumbotron at Century Link Field in Seattle last season, are currently expecting their first child together. No better time to kick back and relax poolside at a luxury Maui resort.
Justin Forsett, Baltimore Ravens
In addition to signing a lucrative extension in Baltimore, coming off his breakout season, Ravens running back Justin Forsett has been hanging out with various groups of folks. The (above) photo was taken recently at a fan event, but Forsett has also made time for his teammates and the troops.
Cole Beasley, Dallas Cowboys
Pierre Garcon, Washington Redskins
Instagram ID: pierregarcon
The definitive highlight of Washington wide receiver Pierre Garcon’s offseason was the trip to Dubai he took in February. The beaches were glorious, the views were epic and the Lamborghinis were plentiful. Garcon also managed to squeeze in a trip to South Florida, that despite devoting much of his time to growing the pizza franchise he’s invested in.
Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Green Bay Packers
Packers safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix’s offseason has been pretty low key. It seems that he spends most of his time doing what any other 22-year-old (with a lot of money and a lot of free time) would do—hanging out. He’s been hanging out with his boys, his woman, his son and the rest of his family. Clinton-Dix also finds time to do the occasional charity work and veg out in front of the television.
Lawrence Timmons, Pittsburgh Steelers
Blake Bortles, Jacksonville Jaguars
Coming off his rookie season in Jacksonville, this offseason Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles has been enjoying all that Florida has to offer in the winter. Not that surfing, golfing and grilling in the winter sunshine are anything new to the guy—Bortles has lived in Florida all his life.
Reggie Bush, San Francisco 49ers
Newly signed Niners running back Reggie Bush usually spends part of every offseason traveling, and this one is no exception. He and his wife, Lilit Avagyan, went to Playa Del Carmen, Mexico, in February, and has since been checking out the scenic vistas closer to his new home in Northern California. Bush has also spent some quality time with his daughter and recently celebrated his 30th birthday.
Malcolm Butler, New England Patriots
He may not have been the official MVP of Super Bowl XLIV, but Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler’s game-saving/winning interception will go down as one of the most critically clutch plays in NFL history. You have to assume that’s why this guy got an invite to the Grammys in February.
Antoine Bethea, San Francisco 49ers
Connor Barwin, Philadelphia Eagles
Eagles linebacker Connor Barwin recently returned from a trip to Haiti, where he volunteered with an energy company, installing solar panels on a maternal health clinic. Earlier in the offseason he visited Penang, Malaysia, with some bros and then traveled to Arizona for the Pro Bowl.
Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks
With two straight trips to the Super Bowl, and one win, Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson is a bona fide superstar at this point—and he keeps an offseason schedule to match. Just two days after that crushing last-minute loss to the Patriots, Wilson was making the rounds at Seattle Children’s hospital, visiting obviously delighted patients. Just weeks later he was back at it again.
Substantial charitable efforts aside, in recent weeks Wilson has also been palling around with Evander Holyfield, supporting the troops, cultivating a new hobby, working on his golf game and (for some reason) he spoke at the Microsoft convention in Atlanta. He also finds time to hang poolside, getting quality time in with his massive dogs at home.
Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals
In his Instagram bio, Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald gives his status as an NFL player second billing to world traveler. He definitely saw some of the world this offseason, having recently posted the above photo from outside St. Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow, Russia. While stateside, Fitzgerald has also gotten in some promotional work with EAS and Rolls Royce.
Jamaal Charles, Kansas City Chiefs
Coming off another great season, Chiefs superstar running back Jamaal Charles has been living it up this offseason in his native Texas. In early March he was invited to the state senate building, where his daughters were on hand to see him receive a key to the city. Even more recently Charles has been hanging with the cool kids at SxSW in Austin.
Odell Beckham Jr., New York Giants
Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., coming off his first season in New York in which he was named the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, would probably win an award for having the most awesome offseason if it existed. He’s been hanging with A-listers in their own fields like UFC legend Chuck Lidell, rapper Lil Wayne, and Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour.
Beckham has also been traveling quite a bit, with stops in London for the NFL UK Fan Forum and Phoenix for the Pro Bowl and NFL Honors ceremony. And you’ll notice from the picture above, the kid travels in style at all times.