Work is a place where your surrounded by many different people and personalities. Sometimes the personalities work out while others may clash at times. Once in a while, you have to work with someone you may not like and remain productive, because it’s all about the betterment of everyone as a whole. Athletes are the same way in professional sports players are competitive and want to play their best to help their team win every game they play. Sometimes there will be fights in the locker room or practice between teammates because of execution, or an teammate doesn’t like what another teammate.
Sometimes friendships occur on a team because players get along after they had a fight at a practice, locker room, or in game. Every player wants to help their team also win a championship at the end of the day and if a player coming into the team doesn’t like a certain player there could be an issue. It could also be a distraction for the team if teammates don’t get along. In this article I take a look at former NFL teammates who hated each other, and still do, and seven who made peace since their feud escalated.
15. Hate Each Other: DONOVAN MCNABB AND TERRELL OWENS
The first example of teammates who hate each other takes us to the Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagles had a pretty good quarterback in Donovan McNabb and had a powerful wide receiver but a loud mouth in Terrell Owens. Terrell Owens always wanted the ball thrown to him, and got mad when it didn’t get thrown to him. In the Super Bowl against the Patriots he didn’t do much and was probably because of the relationship he had with the quarterback.
On FS1’s Undisputed in 2017 Terrell Owens was a guest and said how his feud with Donovan McNabb started. “There was a game, I can’t remember what it was we were playing the Giants, or the Browns or whatever the case maybe, but throughout the course of the practice, there were designed, specific play for myself. Open wide open I didn’t get the ball. I could hear the teammates in the sideline, ‘Why didn’t he throw the ball?’ “So I go back to the huddle and I was like Dude I was open. And you know his response was to me? ‘Shut the F up”
14. Friends: PEYTON MANNING AND VON MILLER
For Peyton Manning and Von Miller these teammates are examples of competitive athletes who have a desire to win. Peyton Manning know matter what team he’s on is the captain of his team and the leader at the time he was playing. Von Miller and Peyton Manning weren’t on the best of terms at one time because Miller decided to go to the club and Manning almost sent Miller home in 2013 when Manning was on the Denver Broncos. It was during a week 16 matchup against the Texans, Miller would end up playing in that game and tear his ACL.
The little fights they would have because again Manning was the captain on whatever team he was on, they were still great at their position. In Super Bowl 50 Peyton Manning would earn his second Super Bowl title and it was thanks in part to Von Miller and the Denver Broncos defense. Peyton Manning Von Miller were a big part of that championship season for the Broncos and it let Manning retire from the NFL on top.
13. Hate Each Other: BRANDON MARASHALL AND JAY CUTLER
Next on this list is two teammates who had some issues with each others personality. Brandon Marshall played three seasons with the Chicago Bears. In those three seasons he had 3,524 yards and 31 touchdowns before going to the New York Jets in 2015. Brandon Marshall has said in an interview that there was chemistry between him and the Cutler but Marshall probably wanted the ball thrown more to him.
Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall both got drafted by Denver in 2006, so you would think they would get along. Jay Cutler hasn’t really spoken about his former teammate and Marshall has said that they haven’t talked in two years. Rich Eisen asked Marshall if him and Jay Cutler were cool in an 2016 interview, Marshall just laughed out loud.
12. Became Friends: CAM NEWTON AND JOSH NORMAN
Football is a rough sport. In training camp it’s hot and players have all those pads on so it can get pretty uncomfortable. In the 2015 season, Cam Newton, the Carolina Panthers franchise quarterback got into a fight with conerback Josh Norman. It all started when Norman intercepted Newton and then stiffed armed him in the end zone.
Newton grabbed Norman’s helmet and started yelling at him then they both ended up on the ground. After that practice neither Norman and Newton spoke to the media but Cam Newton did acknowledge to teammates that they are all a family. The Panthers didn’t let that distract them from what they were trying to do. Cam Newton and Josh Norman resolved their differences and it was just a misunderstanding.
11. Hate Each Other: PEYTON MANNING AND Mike Vanderjagt
Mike Vanderjagt was a great and accurate kicker for the Indianapolis Colts. Vanderjagt had an attitude problem and a temper that was a distraction in the Colts locker room. Mike Vanderjagt after missing a field goal in 2006, which reportedly he took out his frustrations on a middle school student so this guy has anger issues. He even had issues with Peyton Manning after a 2003 playoff loss questioning Manning’s leadership. Manning responded with calling him an “idiot” who got “liquored up and ran his mouth.”
It’s obvious that Vanderjagt had a problem with the whole Colts system not just with Manning. At that the time in 2003 when Vanderjagt questioned Mannings leadership it was certain Vandejagt wanted things to go his way. Unsurprisingly, neither have indicated they feel any differently about each other today.
10. Became Friends: ELI MANNING AND TIKI BARBER
Eli Manning has the same amount of Super Bowl wins has his brother Peyton. But according to his former teammate Tiki Barber he lacks leadership in the locker room. In a 2007 interview after Tiki Barber retired from the NFL to go into T.V. Manning made some comments saying “I guess I’m just happy for Tiki that he’s making a smooth transition into the T.V. world.”
Eli Manning and Tiki Barber had the disagreements but wide receiver Amani Toomer at the time in 2007 said “I thought Tiki and Eli were pretty good friends.” As a quarterback you should have a good relationship with your offense especially your running back. They probably were pretty good friends but maybe Tiki Barber thought Eli was trying too hard to be like his brother Peyton instead of being himself. But just as recently as 2017 Tiki Barber went on Eli’s defense and said to the New York Post “As much as it pains me to say this, Eli can’t do it anymore I don’t mean that as a knock to Eli. I mean that as a knock to all the inferior players around him. He can’t make them great doesn’t mean he’s a bad quarterback. It just means he’s at a point where he can’t do that any longer.”
9. Hate Each Other: GENO SMITH AND IK ENEMKPALI
The New York Jets have to be one of the most dysfunctional teams in professional sports. All of the off field drama and the locker room mess that goes on in there is awful. One prime example is IK Enemkpali who was a linebacker for the Jets broke Geno Smith’s jaw in the locker room. Apparently Enemkpali had purchased a $600 plane ticket for Geno Smith to come to his football camp.
Geno Smith never showed for personal reasons and when Enemkpali didn’t get paid when he wanted to he made sure Smith paid for it by breaking his jaw. By Smith having his jaw broken he would miss a lot of time and lose the starting quarterback position to Ryan Fitzpatrick. Enemkpali would play in Buffalo with former head coach Rex Ryan. What a colossal mess. Smith should’ve just paid Enemkpali back.
8. Became Friends: JOE MONTANA AND STEVE YOUNG
Steve Young and Joe Montana were in direct competition with each other over the starting job in San Francisco and both have said that things got very heated with Montana trying to keep his starting job with Young breathing down his neck. While the two aren’t exactly friends today, they’ve acknowledged that looking back, it was more of a professional rivalry than it was anything personal:
“It was one of those things where I didn’t care if it was Steve Young, Steve Bono, Steve DeBerg — I had a whole bunch of Steves — it didn’t matter who it was for me. It was my job that I felt I had to make sure they stayed over there watching me as long as possible. But it’s a competitive relationship. … I didn’t feel bad for him.”
7. Hate Each Other: RILEY COOPER AND CARY WILLIAMS
Riley Cooper went to a Country Music Concert in 2013, and he was caught on video using a racial slur to a black security guard. In a fight at Eagles practice, Cooper and Williams got into it because Williams didn’t like Cooper’s comments at the concert. Cooper downplayed the fight at practice saying that him and Williams were just going back and forth in the heat of the moment.
That put a damper on their season as it became a distraction, very much an embarrassment for the league and the Eagles organization. Riley Cooper had 2,418 yards and 169 receptions in his five years as a wide receiver with the Eagles. Cary Williams had 118 tackles as an defensive back for the Eagles. Williams wouldn’t come out saying he regretted fighting his teammate and he was very likely just doing what many other teammates of his wanted to do.
6. Became Friends: AARON RODGERS AND BRETT FARVE
As a quarterback you never want someone to take your job from you. We’ve seen that with Joe Montana/Steve Young, Drew Bledsoe/Tom Brady, and Brett Favre/Aaron Rodgers. Brett Favre wanted to keep playing for the Packers but Green Bay had different ideas; have a new fresh young quarterback to take over.
There was a point where they didn’t get along, but today Favre has nice things to say about Rodgers to prove they’ve made peace. Favre telling espn.com in August “Why stop at 40? …. What is Aaron 33? I would think that barring any injury he knows how to protect himself, six or seven years from now is a long time to think that far down the road. But there’s no reason to think he couldn’t play at a high level- until I’m not going to say 43,44, it’s up to the individual, and I don’t see any decline in his game unless he doesn’t want to play anymore.”
5. Hate Each Other: RICHIE INCOGNITO AND JONATHAN MARTIN
This story of these two guys made headlines across the country. Former Dolphins offensive lineman Richie Incognito was bullying and harrassing his teammate Jonathan Martin so much that Marin had a breakdown and then left the team. Richie Incognito would call Martin several bad names often and even used a few gay slurs. Incognito thought he was a tough guy and bigger than everyone else.
The abuse and harassment was so bad nobody cared about the performance on the field. Seems like Miami waited for the incident to get to the press to finally suspend Incognito. Despite the controversy, Incognito was not blackballed by the NFL entirely, as he went to sign with another team, the Buffalo Bills. Martin played one final season with the San Francisco 49ers in 2014 and never really recovered from the bullying. They still hate each other today and don’t expect that to change anytime soon.
4. Became Friends: Johnny Manziel And Josh Gordon
Johnny Manziel and Josh Gordon find themselves in similar situations; in limbo. While there’s some hope that a team will take a chance on Josh Gordon whenever his suspension is lifted, all hope seems to be lost for Manziel, who is more likely to go to the CFL.
Manziel and Gordon formed a bond over their time in Cleveland, and even as both are still struggling in finding NFL jobs, they said they still have each other’s back:
“It’s difficult to take people inside that relationship, but that’s one of my good friends,” Gordon said. “I’m always going to be there to support him and that’s what I’m trying to do and that’s what he wanted to do for me. We’re definitely two different people headed down two different paths and we’ll all reach our outcome at a different point in time.”
3. Hate Each Other: STEVE SMITH AND KEN LUCAS
The year is 2008 and the Carolina Panthers were having practice. It was a hot August day and for wide receiver Steve Smith and defensive back Ken Lucas their tempers were high. Steve Smith punched Ken Lucas in the face on the sideline and Smith was sent home, Lucas got a broken nose. The fight occurred after a special teams drill and nothing really came out at what provoked the fight.
Things like this happens on teams is never a good sign, usually means there’s a disconnect with some players. It seems like at the time the Panthers didn’t want to use anything as an distraction and downplayed the incident it seemed. In 13 years with Carolina Steve Smith had 836 catches and 67 touchdowns. Ken Lucas played in four seasons with the Panthers had 13 interceptions and 203 tackles.
2. Became Friends: JEREMY SHOCKEY AND BRANDON SHORT
As a rookie in the NFL in 2002 Jeremy Shockey was new to the NFL atmosphere and the locker room. On Shockey’s first day of training camp veteran linebacker Brandon Short stood in front of the team at their ranting camp facility at the University of Albany’s cafeteria and said to Shockey “Name, School and singing bonus son. Then sing.” It was a tradition then for the Giants to do that to an incoming rookie but Shockey didn’t like the idea. He instead said his name and “Miami’ then mumbled $3.3 million.
Short didn’t like that so he asked Shockey to repeat his name, school, and sing. Shockey would eventually swing at Short for getting him on his nerves, but today they laugh about the incident and still friends. Shockey said “Bullying is common sometimes in the NFL locker rooms sometimes it can get excessive and other times it just boils over into nothing. It’s common though for the rookies to take the older players out and get bullied a little by the veteran players.”
1. Hate Each Other: MICHAEL IRVIN AND EVERETT MCIVER
The Michael Irvin and Everett McIver incident happened in 1998, when Michael Irvin stabbed then teammate Everett McIver with scissors before training camp. McIver was just ready to get a haircut in the barber’s chair when Irvin, who was waiting in line, yelled “seniority” “punk get the F out my chair.” McIver got up from the chair and shoved Irvin. Irvin then grabbed the scissors who then stabbed McIver’s neck. Irvin was on probation anyway for a drug bust so this incident did not help him.
Jerry Jones would downplay the incident and say it was “horse play.” Not sure having grown men use scissors to stab someone in the neck is horse play. They didn’t let them distract them on the field and wouldn’t comment on the incident shortly after it happened. They came to a six-figure settlement in 1998 which would prevent McIver from putting charges on Irvin and them from ever talking about the incident even to this day.
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