There is no question that the National Football League has both many great role models on the field, while the league in general supports and donates to various different causes. Role models that come to mind are Cam Newton, Drew Brees and Russell Wilson, while the NFL’s continued partnership with breast cancer awareness causes and military support and just a few of the names and foundations that the league helps with.
However, just because the NFL is full of great people and support, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t any bad apples in the bunch.
It was has come to light over the last year or so, there are many football players that have bad tendencies and personalities off the field. After Ray Rice was seen punching his girlfriend in an Atlantic City elevator, more cases of domestic violence from NFL players came to light.
And it isn’t only hitting women that the talent has a problem with.
There are many NFL players that believe they are either invincible or above the law, as a good amount of players that will be featured on the list were charged and/or arrested with driving while intoxicated, possession with different types of drugs and putting innocent people in harms way.
The biggest problem with all of this? While there are a great number of players who do bad things, many of them not only continue their playing careers, but also get rewarded strictly on what is done on the field, while disregarded the player’s trouble history.
With that being said, check out the top 15 players that should be kicked out of the league.
15 Josh Brent
Former Dallas Cowboys defensive tackle Josh Brent is in a different position than the rest of the players that will be named on the list. Although he is currently retired from the game, he does hold a job in the organization’s scouting department.
However, due to his actions off the field, Brent shouldn’t be a part of any department in the NFL.
His case has become famous over the years. Back in the middle of the 2012 season, Brent was driving drunk with teammate Jerry Brown in the passenger seat. After driving over 130 miles per hour on a road that had a speed limit of 45, Brent – with a reported blood alcohol content of .189 – flipped and crashed his car, instantly killing Brown.
Listen, I’m all for people getting second chances. The thing is, what many people don’t know is that Brent already had his second chance. The year before the Cowboys took Brent in the 2010 supplemental draft, he was caught driving under the influence by police.
14 Justin Cox
Although no NFL team currently employs defensive back Justin Cox, he is still on the free agent market – yet he shouldn’t be allowed to sign with any other team after his actions.
When it comes to Cox, his run-ins with the law didn’t begin while playing professionally; that came during his time with Mississippi State. After playing a majority of the year as their starting safety, Cox was arrested on domestic violence charges and was suspended for the final three games of the college season.
While Cox wasn’t drafted due to character issues, the Kansas City Chiefs decided to give him a chance, signing him to their roster as an undrafted free agent. What did Cox do to thank them for the opportunity? He was arrested for domestic violence, trespassing and burglary less than three months after he joined the Chiefs. The team released him the following day.
13 Ray McDonald
Similar to Justin Cox, Ray McDonald is eligible to sign with any team that offers him a contract. And just like Cox, McDonald shouldn’t even have the opportunity to do so due to his actions in his personal life.
As a member of the San Francisco 49ers, McDonald was a quality player along the team’s stout defensive line. However, that doesn’t put him above the law.
During his eight-year career in the NFL, McDonald was questioned, charged and/or arrested on four separate occasions, all for serious offenses. The first came in 2010, as McDonald was pulled over and detained due to suspicion of driving under the influence. Just two years later, McDonald was arrested due to an outstanding warrant for a drunken driving case.
Unfortunately, in 2014, it got even worse.
In August of that year, McDonald was arrested on a domestic violence issue after his wife showed the police multiple bruises across her body. Just four months later, McDonald was questioned in a sexual assault case where he was arrested on rape by intoxication. After signing a contract with the Chicago Bears in March of this year, McDonald was involved in yet another domestic violence case, as he arrested on charges of domestic violence and child endangerment.
To put it simply, McDonald should never play for another NFL team again.
12 Josh McNary
While the charges on Josh McNary were dropped, many believed that it was due to an outside settlement, not because he didn’t commit the crime.
Currently playing linebacker for the Indianapolis Colts, the two-year veteran was accused of a very serious case in January of 2015.
In an incident that happened just a month before, McNary was charged with one count of rape, one count of criminal confinement and one count of battery after meeting and fraternizing with a woman at a local bar in downtown Indianapolis.
Although he is still an active NFL player, the case could be made that he doesn’t deserve to continue with his current job.
11 Will Hill
Yes, Will Hill has excelled on the field even though he has weaved in and out of legal trouble. However, the actions he committed during his down time don’t justify his success.
During his time in college with Florida, as well as his NFL tenure with the New York Giants and Baltimore Ravens, Hill encountered substance abuse problems, as he was suspended for a combined 14 games because of it.
However, what was even sadder for Hill was his lack of paying child support.
Although Hill was earning a six-figure salary, the safety refused to pay a little over $9,000 in child support, which led to his arrest. While his acts weren’t violent like others on the list, neglecting one of your children is just as bad.
10 Ben Roethlisberger
Many people view Pittsburgh Steelers star quarterback Ben Roethlisberger as one of the best players at his position in this generation. However, that should excuse him from the terrible acts he committed in his earlier years in the NFL.
During both the 2009 and 2010 off-season’s, Roethlisberger was accused not once, but twice of sexual assault. Although he came out of both accusations a free man, the fact that he had two separate cases against him could be telling.
Sure, Roethlisberger was never arrested. However, even being involved in those situations is a huge cause for concern.
9 Marcell Dareus
Similar to Will Hill, Buffalo Bills defensive tackle Marcell Dareus didn’t commit any crimes that directly related to harming another person. However, Dareus’s actions could have injured people if they were on the road.
His first arrest since joining the NFL came in May of 2014, where Dareus was arrested after being pulled over for speeding, which led to police finding drugs in his car.
I guess he couldn’t learn from his first mistake.
Just three weeks after he was arrested for felony drug possession, Dareus was accused and charged with reckless endangerment after he crashed his car into a tree while drag racing in upstate New York.
Of course, the Bills only care about his on-field dominance, as they gave him $60 million in guaranteed money, the most in the NFL for a non QB.
8 Jerome Simpson
There are some people in life that simply don’t learn from prior mistakes; San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Jerome Simpson, unfortunately, falls under that category.
Each time Simpson had trouble with the law, they all involved substance issues.
The first time Simpson was arrested came when he was a part of the Cincinnati Bengals in 2012, where he was arrested and indicted on charges of trafficking marijuana, as it was found out that two-and-a-half pounds of the drug was delivered to his home.
While playing for the Minnesota Vikings, Simpson was arrested twice: once in 2013 and again in 2014. His second charge came when police found his vehicle stalled, in which he was charged with a DUI after failing sobriety tests. His third came after he was caught possessing marijuana and having an open container in his vehicle.
Naturally, the 49ers signed him to a two-year deal this offseason.
7 Sheldon Richardson
While New York Jets player Sheldon Richardson has been one of the most dominant forces along the defensive line over his first two years of his career, his true colors may have come to light before the 2015 season began.
Sure, it isn’t rare these days for players to get suspended for four games due to marijuana; but that isn’t the reason why Richardson has a place on this list.
Less than two weeks after Richardson’s suspension was announced by the NFL, he was caught speeding close to 140 miles per hour, evading police in the process. If that wasn’t bad enough, there were things even more troubling once the officers were able to get to Richardson’s car.
Not only was there an odor of marijuana and a gun found underneath the drivers seat, there was a 12-year-old boy in the back seat of the car as well.
It’s one thing to put yourself in harm's way. But when others – including a minor – are involved in drugs and speeding cars, it shows that you are not responsible.
6 Chris Culliver
Like the situation with both Ray McDonald and Aldon Smith, Chris Culliver – now a former member of the San Francisco 49ers – was released after being arrested on serious charges.
Back in March of 2014, Culliver was involved in a hit and run incident – and it didn’t end there.
Not only did Culliver hit and injure the bicyclist, but he also decided to leave the scene of the crime. However, after an eyewitness attempted to stop Culliver from leaving, the cornerback took brass knuckles out of his car and threatened the witness until he was able to leave the scene.
The fact that he was going to not only leave the bicyclist hurt but also threatened a witness says something about Culliver’s character.
5 Aldon Smith
There’s no denying that when on the field, Aldon Smith is potentially the best pass rusher in all of football. However, his inability to stay on the field due to off-the-field issues is a major cause for concern.
During his time in the NFL, Smith has been charged one time and arrested four times on multiple accounts.
It started out relatively small – by his standards – in 2012, as Smith was arrested on charges of suspicion of drunk driving in Florida. The following year, his questionable decisions became more serious, as he was arrested on DUI and marijuana possession charges after he crashed his car.
When Smith’s struggles with the law continued in 2013, things got more serious; after being stabbed at a house party, Smith brandished a weapon that he had illegally. That resulted in being charged with three felony accounts of illegal possession of an assault weapon.
The final two arrests continued his downfall that led him to being cut by the San Francisco 49ers. In 2014, Smith made a bomb threat after being selected to be screened a second time at an airport. Finally in 2015, Smith was arrested after driving under the influence and vandalism.
Because character issues are the least of their worries, the Oakland Raiders gave Smith a sixth chance, signing him to a one-year deal this offseason.
4 Daryl Washington
Yes, while on the field, linebacker Daryl Washington of the Arizona Cardinals is one of the most productive players at his position. However, the fact that his character issues constantly comes into light show what kind of person he is when the pads are off.
After the Cardinals rewarded him with a six-year contract extension after the 2012 season, Washington was suspended for the first four games of 2013 because he violated the league’s substance abuse policy. If that wasn’t bad enough, Washington yet again failed the league’s substance policy, this time suspending him for the entire 2014 season.
However, during the 2013 offseason, Washington had a very serious charge that was put on his record. The linebacker was arrested on domestic violence charges, as he not only grabbed the victim around the neck, but also through her on the ground, resulting in a broken collarbone.
3 Joseph Randle
Coming into the 2015 season, the Dallas Cowboys running back Joseph Randle was announced as the starter, as DeMarco Murray signed with the Philadelphia Eagles.
However, Randle’s questionable past – and present – made him go from first on the depth chart to possibly not on it any longer.
The rusher’s first incident with disobeying the law started last season, as he was charged with the laughable crime of stealing men’s underwear and cologne from a department store. Right after the NFL season concluded, Randle was again arrested, this time for unlawful possession of marijuana.
Unfortunately for the Cowboys, Randle’s troubles continued, most recently over the last couple of weeks. After abruptly leaving the team because he had fears of his girlfriend’s safety, it was revealed that the NFL was reviewing a case of domestic violence involving Randle, which could result in a suspension.
2 Greg Hardy
According to Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and head coach Jason Garrett, Greg Hardy’s aggression on the sidelines is due to his leadership and fiery attitude. However, there are many people who would beg to differ.
Although he emerged as one of the best defensive ends in the entire game of football with the Carolina Panthers, Hardy’s off the field incident raised many red flags about his character.
During the 2014 offseason, Hardy was arrested after he threw his girlfriend onto a futon that was had multiple loaded guns, strangled her and threatened to kill her. Although he was originally suspended for the first 10 games of the NFL season, the decision makers inexplicably shortened it to four games, to the dismay of many.
It was obvious that Hardy didn’t learn, as questionable pre-game comments mentioning guns and Blake Bortles and Tom Brady’s wife left a bad taste in many viewers mouths.
1 Pacman Jones
Pacman Jones has always possessed the talent to be a premiere cornerback and returner in the NFL. However, his troubled and extensive off-the-field issues have plagued him throughout his career.
Over the course of his nine seasons in the NFL, Jones has been arrested, cited or charged on nine separate occasions.
Between 2005 and 2006, Jones was charged with counts like assault, assault on a police officer, marijuana possession, vandalism and being drunk in public. However, in 2007, he was involved in one of the worst incidents involving an active player – one that resulted in a suspension throughout the entire 2007 season.
While out at a strip club in Las Vegas, Jones brandished and eventually used a weapon after an argument, which resulted in a man being paralyzed.
His struggles with the law still continued after that, as he was arrested for disorderly conduct and hitting a woman.
Can you believe that this man still has a job? Oh wait, I can. It’s the NFL.