Teach Your Children Well: The Top 10 Role Models in the NFL

Bailey Brautigan@BBrautiganFeatured ColumnistAugust 16, 2010

Teach Your Children Well: The Top Ten Role Models in the NFL

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    Today, more than ever, professional athletes are household names, and the youth of America has many sports figures to look up to.

    While the NFL has a few shady characters, professional football players make the best role models for today's youth. The game of football teaches teamwork, sportsmanship, and dedication to kids, but there is an elite group of NFL players that stands out from the rest.

    The best way to lead is by example, so let's take a look at the ten NFL players that have all the qualities that we look for in a role model.

10. Rocky Bernard

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    Women have been fighting throughout history for equal treatment, and Rocky Bernard is somewhat of an activist for women's rights. He punched his ex-girlfriend in the forehead during an argument, and before you jump all over him for punching a female, just keep in mind that this is what decades of equal rights activism has been trying to accomplish.

    If two men get in a heated argument, it is not uncommon for them to duke it out physically. Bernard is simply so forward-thinking that he knew that his ex-girlfriend deserved to be respected enough to be treated just like a man would be.

    As a woman, I thank you, Rocky, for continuing to fight for equality.

9. Gerald Sensabaugh

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    Gerald Sensabaugh was arrested for driving without a license, and some would say that he was "breaking the law." Sure, the law states that everyone needs a driver's license to operate a motor vehicle, but Sensabaugh didn't let this stop him.

    Anyone who has ever had to take a driving test knows that they are completely unnecessary. Sensabaugh simply does not believe in the bureaucracy that exists in our country, and he took a stand.

    In the face of adversity, when everyone was telling him that he couldn't drive, he grabbed the keys, put them in the ignition, and said, "Yes I can!"

8. Jared Allen

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    Some people drink.

    Some people drive.

    Jared Allen can do both at the same time. So what if driving while intoxicated is "illegal"? Allen is simply better at multi-tasking than the average person. In fact, Allen was arrested twice within five months for DUI, so we know he has to be a very busy man.

    Kids need to learn better time management skills in order to get ahead in the world, with their homework, social lives, college applications, etc., and Jared Allen is showing America's youth how to balance their busy schedules.

7. Chad Ochocinco

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    Some kids lack the self-confidence and creativity to effectively express themselves. Chad Ochocinco sets an outstanding example of the right way to celebrate himself as a person.

    Ochocinco has been called cocky, fined for excessive celebration, and criticized for his attention-seeking antics, but Chad simply has high enough self-esteem to pat himself on the back for a job well done.

    Especially when nobody else wants to give him credit.

6. Terrell Owens

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    We all knew that kid from grade school who shared all of his toys, and guess what? They ended up broken, and he turned into a pushover.

    Terrell Owens is not this kid. In fact, TO knows that there is such a thing as too much sharing. He believes that he should get the ball on every play, and he stands up for himself when things don't go his way.

    Several teams have found themselves dealing with TO-related drama, but this is simply because they don't understand that Owens is nobody's doormat.

    We all know that Chad Ochocinco gets TO's philosophy, so he will be willing to give up almost all of his touches in order to support his teammate.

5. Albert Haynesworth

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    It seems like people have been taking the "healthy living" philosophy a bit too seriously these days. We need to teach kids that there is much more to life than being "in shape."

    Albert Haynesworth has been criticized for not being able to pass simple conditioning tests, but he is really just ahead of everyone else in the NFL. We've all seen "that guy" at the gym with his protein shakes and chiseled abs, and Haynesworth is just as sick of him as we are.

    So what if he is a professional athlete? Life is too short to worried about athletic ability all the time.

    Haynesworth speaks for all of America when he says, "Yes. I would like fries with that!"

4. Santonio Holmes

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    Even though Santonio Holmes may have had a rough past, he has cleaned up his act, and he has something very important to teach the youth of America: an appreciation of the arts.

    In April, Holmes was confronted by authorities after a flight because he refused to turn off his iPod when asked by a flight attendant. 

    We all know that the anti-MP3 player rule is just so we stay bored and order more drinks and snacks during a flight. Holmes was simply enjoying some music, and the uncultured monsters that are employed by airline companies just didn't understand his genius at work.

3. Ben Roethlisberger

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    "If at first you don't succeed, try try again."

    When did our nation's youth forget this classic philosophy?

    We all know someone that hasn't, and his name is Ben Roethlisberger.

    Ben has an appreciation for women, and he is simply trying to find "the one." Some girls were unimpressed by his charm, but he didn't let that stop him.

    Even after experiencing the pain of rejection, Ben was able to pick himself up and try a different approach to wooing the opposite sex.

    I know, as a woman, that we can be tricky creatures, and many of us play hard to get. Ben wouldn't take "no" for an answer, and it can be so sexy when men take control of the situation.

2. Plaxico Burress

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    Teamwork is something that is highly valued in today's society, and Plaxico Burress knows a thing or two about "taking one for the team."

    When his gun started slipping down his leg from his waistband in a New York City nightclub, Burress simply did not want anyone else to get hurt. Instead of letting the gun drop and perhaps injure another person, Burress allowed the gun to shoot him in the leg.

    He was since sentenced to two whole years in prison for the incident. It's really a shame how we treat our nation's heroes.

1. Michael Vick

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    "Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver, and the other's gold."

    Mike Vick knows a thing or two about staying in touch with old friends, and kids can really learn from his example. It seems that with the popularity of social media and other forms of technology that children are losing the capability to cultivate lasting relationships.

    Michael Vick has not lost touch with any of his longtime friends. In fact, while having his most recent birthday party, he invited everyone he wanted, regardless of legal restrictions.

    Even though the terms of his probation do not allow him to associate with convicted felons, friendship simply means that much to Michael Vick.


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