The NFL is a playground for an assortment of gigantic adults. It's an arena for colossal men from all walks of life. The NFL, for the most part, would like you to believe the men who run around on Sundays, Mondays, Thursdays, and sometimes Saturdays are a collection of well behaved, upstanding members of society. More often than not, players in the NFL stay within the lines of law. Or do they?
If nothing else, the NFL has one of the greatest public relations departments of any organization on the entire planet. The reason for this: they have to. The "heroes" we adore on Sundays are not the kind of guys we want our daughters canoodling with. If I'm not being clear, the NFL has its fair share of criminals.
Throughout the years we have been exposed to some of the criminalistic activities brought to light concerning NFL players. We all know Michael Vick was the ring leader of an underground dog fighting and gambling ring. We all know Ray Rice smacked his wife unconscious in an elevator and then dragged her out of the elevator. But what about some of the lesser known offenders? Let's take a look at some of the Sunday heroes who crossed over the lines of morality who maybe you didn't know about.
15 Nick Fairley
Nick Fairley is the former first round stud from the University of Auburn. The Lions selected him 13th overall in the 2011 draft class. Fairley is the winner of the Lomardi trophy, which goes to the best lineman or linebacker in all of college football. He was an All-American, SEC Defensive Player of the Year, and he helped Auburn win a National Championship game. These kinds of accolades certainly merit the honor of being selected in the first round. However, a few games into the 2012 NFL season Fairley had more arrests than he had quarterback sacks. He had two arrests and one sack. The first arrest stems from marijuana possession. Apparently Nick was driving around in his Cadillac Escalade blazing doobies. Cops pulled him over after someone called reporting suspicious driving. The second arrests came when Nick tried to escape the cop who was pulling him over. Nick reached speeds over 100mph. He was arrested and charged with a DUI. Nick must of had a good lawyer cause the charges were lessened to reckless driving.
14 Rolando McClain
Next we have another recipient of the All-American award. Rolando McClain earned this honor while playing linebacker at the University of Alabama. Rolando also received the Lombardy trophy for his excellence at the linebacker position. He helped Alabama to a SEC Championship as well as a BCS National Championship in 2010. Rolando was under the tutelage of Coach Nick Saban while at Alabama. This is a bit of an oddity, as Nick Saban coached players tend not to embark on criminalistic activities. Saban, for the most part, runs a tight ship. Or maybe they just have amazing public relations people. Anyways, Rolando's first year in the NFL was the start of his misconduct. On December 1, 2011, he was arrested and charged with third-degree assault, menacing, reckless endangerment, and discharging a firearm inside the city limits. The charges were later dropped after Rolando reached a financial agreement with the victim. Rolando got arrested two more times as well. He was pulled over for his windows, which had too much tint. He gave the cop a false identification during the stop. In 2013, he was arrested again for disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.
13 Matt Prater
Kickers have one job. All anyone expects of Matt Prater is to kick. Sometimes that is kicking off to the other team, while other times he has to kick the ball through a couple of skinny yellow posts. Perhaps it was the stress of this one thing that led Matt to his struggle with alcohol. Or maybe he just really likes the taste of beer. Before the start of the 2011 season, Matt was arrested and charged with a DUI and fleeing the scene. Matt began that unlawful evening when he met a young lady at the fine establishment of Shotgun Willies located in Greenwood Village outside of Denver, Colorado. Matt and his new female friend would have a few drinks and then decide they should get a hotel room together. While in route to said hotel, Matt would ram his Chevy Blazer into someone's sedan. Matt would then leave before the police arrived. Matt's female friend would give this testimony to the police while waiting for a cab in the hotel lobby. Apparently the hotel was full that night so Matt decided to leave his new friend and head to the nearest La Quinta Inn. Police would track Mr. Prater down and discover his drunkenness. Matt would later regret the events of the evening. But what about the waitress from Shotgun Willies? What happened with her? Maybe they will meet again one day and Matt will let her come to the La Quinta with him.
12 Jerome Simpson
Jerome Simpson played his college ball at a smaller school, Coastal Caroline. He was voted All-American in 2006 and 2007. He would go on to be drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals where he played four years. After that he would have a stint with the Vikings and the 49ers. Simpson's NFL career was never anything to rave about. He never eclipsed the 1,000 yard mark, and the most touchdowns he ever scored in a season was four. Perhaps, these below average numbers led Jerome into another career endeavor. In September of 2011, police tracked a package that was ultimately delivered to Jerome's home. The package contained 238 pounds of marijuana. The police, however, did not have a search warrant and were unable to make any arrests that day. The police would return some time later, with a warrant this time. They seized another shipment that contained over 600 pounds of marijuana and marijuana paraphernalia. Jerome was arrested. The maximum sentence is 1-5 years in jail. Jerome would plead it down to 15 days in jail along with community service and some fines.
11 Sebastian Janikowski
Sebastian Janikowski has been one of the few mainstays on the Oakland Raiders over the last decade and half. They drafted him in 2000, and he has been with the team since. He is without a doubt one of the best kickers in NFL history. Sea Bass, as the fans call him, is cut from a different mold than the common kicker. The way he lines up to kick the ball almost looks effortless. By effortless, I mean it looks like he is barely trying. He takes the fewest steps away from the ball before a kick than any other kicker. Then, with the leg made of thunder, he booms the ball like no other kicker you have ever seen. Perhaps his kicking style gives way to his less than admirable actions over his kicking career. In 2001 he was arrested on suspicion of carrying GHB. That's the "date rape" drug. Throughout his career he has accrued a couple DUI's on his record. He's been arrested in multiple bar fights. He was under investigation for false imprisonment when he held a woman against her will, according to her testimony. Most of the charges were dropped against Sebastian, minus a few of the DUI's.
10 Everson Griffen
Everson Griffen is a fourth round draft pick out of the University of Southern California. He was selected by the Vikings, who he currently plays for, with the 100th overall pick. In 2015, Griffen was selected to his first Pro Bowl after tallying 10.5 sacks. In 2014 he had 12 sacks, and this year he is off to a good start with six sacks. In Week 3 of this year, Griffen had three sacks against the Packers. However, Griffen's statistical accolades are somewhat overshadowed by his trouble with the law. During his days at USC, Griffen was pulled over for a traffic violation. He reportedly assaulted the cop, who reacted by using his taser. The 260 pound defensive end was subdued, needless to say. Two days later, Griffen was arrested for drunk driving. On the bright side, Griffen has reportedly cleaned up his destructive actions. Griffen is seen as a leader on the great Vikings defense. (Pictured Above: Scene of the crime.
9 Charles Woodson
We all know who Charles Woodson is. He's that guy who wears those ascots and pocket squares, while reporting NFL game happenings, during halftimes. He's that guy who called out Barack Obama for being a Chicago Bears fan. He's that guy who owns his own winery in Napa Valley, California. They make two varietals, a Cabernet Sauvignon and a Cabernet Franc. He's quite posh. And if I'm not mistaken he also played football. I'll have to look into that. One other thing: Woodson had himself a couple minor run-ins with the law. One such instance has Woodson drunk in a woman's car and refusing to leave at 4am. He was arrested and released the following morning. Sometime later, Woodson was arrested for drunk driving and driving with a suspended license. I wonder why the license was suspended. Perhaps it was alcohol related. Perhaps Charles was partaking a bit too much in the Cabernet Sauvignon...
8 Donte Whitner
Thank God that football exists, especially for people like Donte Whitner. People like Whitner need outlets to filter their aggression and energy. For the most part, football is a perfectly suitable means of aggressive expression. Whitner is the kind of safety that aides in the league consistently changing rules to better protect players. Teammates and media dubbed him Donte "Hitner." Unfortunately for Donte, football was only able to absorb so much of his energy and aggression. In April of 2009, Whitner was arrested outside a House of Blues when police were called to stop a "near riot." As part of the police arrests, Whitner was cuffed and jailed for aggravated disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. The police were forced to use their tasers in order to subdue Whitner. A few years earlier, Whitner had another brush with the law when his then girlfriend reported him of harassment at her home.
7 Aqib Talib
Aqib Talib is another guy that could/should/might be in jail if it wasn't for his Pro Bowl style efforts of football play. In August of 2009, Talib battered a taxi driver. He was charged with resisting arrest and simple battery. In 2008, Talib attended the NFL Rookie Symposium. This is a gathering of the most recent batch of rookies entering the NFL. The NFL goes over the codes of conduct and gives a general introduction into the life of becoming an NFL professional. At the symposium, Talib got into a fist fight with his teammate Cory Boyd. The fight began during the breakout session where players were given tutelage concerning finances. Talib's largest infraction came when he fired a gun at his sister's boyfriend's head. Fortunately, he missed. Talib was arrested and posted a $25,000 bail. The charges were later dropped due to the sketchy nature of the victim's story. Talib is currently balling in Denver where he recently enjoyed a Super Bowl victory.
6 Jared Allen
Next, we have another victim of grandpa's old cough medicine. Jared Allen has been named first team All-Pro four times, and he's been selected to five Pro Bowls over his 12 year career. He amassed 136 quarterback sacks during his playing tenure. That sack total makes him 11th all time. He holds the record for most consecutive games with a sack when he did it 11 times in a row. Jared Allen's legal trouble comes by means of the bottle. He was arrested on three different occasion for driving under the influence (DUI). Two of them were only five months apart when he was living in Kansas. The third time occurred in Idaho. Who hangs out in Kansas and Idaho? I guess Jared Allen does. It seems general alcohol abuse is a theme amongst some NFL players. It's also a theme amongst general humanity. At least NFL players have some excuses. They are probably just trying to numb the pain of pounding each other day in and day out.
5 Kenny Britt
Kenny Britt snuck into the first round of the 2009 NFL Draft when he was selected with the 30th overall pick by the Tennessee Titans. Kenny's best statistical year came in 2010 when he snagged nine touchdowns. Britt's future was looking bright. Then he embarked on a long streak of legal mishaps. To be exact, Kenny had nine legal mishaps since joining his current team, the Rams. His first was a DUI that he received when he attempted to pass through a security at an Army base. Later he was arrested for tampering with evidence and obstruction after attempting to hide a marijuana cigar. Almost a year later, Kenny was arrested when he tried to flee the police. He was also cuffed for three outstanding traffic citations. It's been since 2012 that Kenny has found himself in the clutches of a police officer. For their sake, let's hope he and the others keep it that way.
4 Vincent Jackson
I'm starting to think some of the players need to use the millions of dollars they are getting paid to hire a personal chauffeur to drive them around at all times. Driving under the influence is a running theme for lots of the guys. Maybe the NFL could start including it in their contracts. I guess it comes down to how much these guys want to be babied. I get it. They are human too. They make mistakes just like the rest of us. Anyways, Jackson has himself a pair of DUI's and another arrest for driving with expired tags. The latter comes with a fun little story. Prior to the Chargers playing the Steelers in the 2008 divisional round of the playoffs, Jackson was pulled over because he was playing his music too loud, his tags were expired, and he was driving with a suspended license. Jackson was put in hand cuffs. That's probably about the time he plead his case that he was on his way to the football game. The cop, being a fan perhaps, still impounded Jackson's car, but he allowed Jackson to call a friend to pick him up. Who do you think he called? Well, he called his quarterback. Philip Rivers, the dear, dear boy, drove over and gave his a receiver a ride to the game. The two hooked up again on a different kind of drive when Rivers hit Jackson for a 48 yard touchdown on the Charger's opening possession.
3 Marshawn Lynch
The "Beast" is no stranger to breaking the rules and paying hefty fines. Lucky for Marshawn Lynch, the bulk of his fines came from the NFL rules and regulations he chose not to obey. As part of being an employee of the NFL players agree to make themselves available to the media for a certain amount of time every week. Lynch routinely ignored this rule and was in turn routinely fined. He paid as high as $50,000 just so he didn't have to answer questions from the press. But Lynch's disdain for questioning is not why he makes the list. Lynch has accumulated a few run-ins with the wrong side of the law over the years. At 3:30 am in 2008 Lynch was driving the streets of Buffalo when he hit a lady in his Porsche. Lynch chose to keep on driving. The law would call this a hit and run. Lynch denied knowing he hit someone. Lynch also had a DUI that was later reduced to reckless driving. Also, while in California, Lynch was pulled over and arrested for marijuana possession and a misdemeanor weapon charge.
2 Jonathan Babineaux
Jonathan Babineaux is a defensive tackle selected by the Atlanta Falcons in the second round of the 2005 NFL Draft. He actually has four interceptions over his career, which is pretty impressive for a defensive tackle. The season after signing a $25,000,000 extension with the Falcons, Jonathan was charged with marijuana possession. He and his buddies were in his Cadillac Escalade when they were pulled over for having expired tags, no tag light, and windows tinted too dark. The cop would find three bags of weed totally 40 grams, or about 1.5 ounces. This amount of marijuana happens to fall into the felony category. Jonathan's other run-in with the law also resulted in potential felony charges. In 2007, he was arrested for killing his girlfriend's dog. Jonathan's story details that he was training the dog when the dog hit its head on a wall. The police investigation into the matter would not result in enough evidence to convict Jonathan, and the charges were dropped.
1 Von Miller
The other day I watched a TV piece detailing how Von Miller is basically the greatest human being on the planet. I'm being a little sarcastic, but the NFL's mini documentary on Von Miller and his upbringing drew quite a lovely picture of the NFL's best defensive end. Did you watch the Super Bowl last year? Miller was voted MVP for what is possibly the best individual defensive performance in a Super Bowl. As it turns out Miller is a pretty good guy, as far as I can tell. However, he should consider staying away from the driver's seat of any automobile for basically the entirety of his life, or at least until he is done playing football. The exact amount of traffic citations are unknown, but he has more than his fair share. His arrests were for driving with a suspended license and failure to appear in court. So not only is Von driving like a maniac, he also ignores the repercussions. Luckily, Von and the Broncos have compiled a team of highly trained and highly expensive lawyers to weather Von's legal troubles so Von can continue weathering opposing quarterback's win percentage.