In terms of awful, deplorable, dirty, horrific and disgraceful behavior, 2014/2015 was a terrible year for the National Football League. Ray Rice,. Adrian Peterson and a few other did some other despicable things. But of course, we only remember the biggest names and the most terrible crimes.
Adrian Peterson and Ray Rice were top tier running backs, while some names were briefly mentioned, received a round of "tsk tsk's" and then went back to whatever roster spot they occupied on the roster prior to their acts.
Think about the notoriously cringe-worthy people in NFL folklore; let's say Ray Carruth and O.J. Simpson are some of the biggest dirtbags. Carruth tried to have the woman carrying his child murdered and O.J. was somehow acquitted but then went on to rob and take a guy hostage in Las Vegas, which was his ultimate undoing. But they are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to NFL players who did horrible things. Michael Vick was the most high profile animal abuser in the league but is he the only one? Not by a long shot. The same goes for murders, robberies, assaults, spousal abuse and sexual crimes. We hear and remember the prominent names but for every one who becomes notorious, five others return to the sidelines, keep their heads down and continue to let the dough roll in.
For your reading pleasure we have compiled a list of some of the league's lesser known scumbags, just, you know, for fun. Keep in mind that victim-less drug offenses such as possession will not appear here, same as stupidity crimes like saying "bomb" in an airport; just crimes that actually hurt people, committed by less renowned players will be featured.
20 Prince Shembo
The 2014 fourth round pick of the Atlanta Falcons starts off our list. He looked decent but not remarkable in his rookie year, racking up just under 60 total tackles (solo and assists) and was considered a promising developmental option for the team. Recently, he was arrested for felony animal cruelty for kicking his ex-girlfriend's Yorkshire Terrier. That's a ten pound dog with a leash on, maximum. It bit him, so he kicked it, killing it.
If that wasn't bad enough to land him on this list, he was accused of sexual battery back in college. The young lady who accused him of the crime, Lizzy Seeberg, would later commit suicide. Back in high school, Shembo was suspended for chucking a desk at a teacher who confiscated his phone. This example of human waste is more than a very fitting start to this article.
19 Lance Rentzel
This is a name that will be very familiar to older NFL fans, but not so much to those under 50. Rentzel was drafted by the Minnesota Vikings in 1965 out of Oklahoma and would play for the Dallas Cowboys and L.A. Rams throughout his ten year career. He caught for over 1,000 yards in 1968 but was arrested in 1970 for exposing himself to a ten year old.
He was married to Joey Heatherton, one of the most beautiful women of the time, so what he was doing trying to pick up children, we may never know. It was not the only time he had done something of this manner, having been arrested and pled guilty to a similar charge in Minnesota years prior, but this event was swept under the rug. His celebrity wife would divorce him shortly thereafter. There were bumper stickers circulating at the time that read "Keep it in your pants, Lance."
18 Lawrence Phillips
Phillips was a running back in the NFL during the late '90s, playing for the St. Louis Rams, Miami Dolphins and San Francisco 49ers. He played college ball for Nebraska, where his powerful running style earned him nearly 3,000 yards and 30 touchdowns in three years, averaging 6.2 yards per carry. His skills were less dominant in the NFL, as he became a disappointing first round pick for the Rams.
In college, he encountered problems with the law and he essentially became a loose cannon both during and after his pro career. While at Nebraska, he pled no contest to assaulting his girlfriend. While in St. Louis, he was caught drunk driving and shortly after joining the Dolphins, he knocked out a woman who refused to dance with him one night in a club. After his career in the NFL was essentially over, he beat his girlfriend and before he was tried, he ran over three teens with a car (not his). This landed him in prison for thirty years, but just a couple of months ago, he was accused of murdering his cellmate. He will face life in prison.
17 Ray McDonald
This is a big name for religious NFL fans and 49ers enthusiasts, but to the casual fan, Ray McDonald is not a household name and his notoriety is nowhere near that of Adrian Peterson, Greg Hardy and Ray Rice. He was implicated in two domestic disputes in early and mid 2014, and later was accused of sexual assault in December. It was shortly after this that he was let go by the 49ers. If you still have a shred of respect for this "gentleman," the victim of his incident in May 2014 was pregnant at the time. While hitting a women is a problem to begin with, those carrying children are to be protected with particular diligence; especially from hulking defensive ends with anger issues. He was signed by the Chicago Bears a couple of months back, but was involved in another domestic violence case in May and was cut from the team after being accused of child endangerment.
16 Michael Boley
Boley was drafted in 2005 and played four years for the Atlanta Falcons, four with the New York Giants and a single season in Cincinnati. He won a Super Bowl with the Giants and has a career total of just under 700 tackles. He is currently a free agent due to personal issues, such as his 2008 incident in which he beat his wife and his 2013 accusation of child abuse. While full details were never released, Boley pled guilty to the charges. While most people are still torn on issues such as spanking, beating is pretty much the universal calling card of a scumbag.
15 Gene Atkins
Atkins played safety for the New Orleans Saints from 1987 to 1993 and then for the Dolphins until his retirement in 1996. He is one of the former players who has been in the spotlight from time to time due to head injuries and is said to be suffering from early signs of dementia.
His wife accused him of beating her several years ago, and during this incident he punched a police officer in the face. He was also accused of firebombing a business associate but those charges were dropped. While his history of head injuries is probably a factor of his behavior, wailing on a woman and trying to knock out a cop are not excusable by any means.
14 Nate Webster
A winner of Super Bowl XXXVII, Nate Webster was a member of the outstanding Tampa Bay Buccaneers team that won it all back in 2003. He played college ball for Miami and throughout his nine years in the NFL, he was mostly used as a backup. His troubles started back at Miami, as he was charged with battery after knocking an ex-girlfriend to the ground, dragging her into a car and driving off.
A couple of years ago, Webster was convicted of four counts of unlawful conduct with a minor, for having a sexual relationship with a fifteen year old girl. During the years leading up to his accusation, he threatened her and her family with death if she ever told anyone about their involvement.
13 Kevin Allen
Having played one very lackluster season with the Philadelphia Eagles, Kevin Allen has been called one of the worst NFL players of all time. In terms of his moral character, much of the same can be said. The 300 lb offensive tackle beat and raped a woman back in 1986 while his friend beat her companion to the point of unconsciousness.
He was sentenced to 15 years but was released from prison after just under three, returning to football, though he never played in the NFL again.
12 Chris Terry
Continuing the theme of massive offensive linemen who did terrible things, Chris Terry played for the Panthers, Seahawks and Chiefs between 1999 and 2007, finding little success and being cut prior to the 2008 season. He had numerous drug violations during his career, and was arrested for drug violations and firearm crimes in 2010. In that same year, according to reports, he brutally beat his wife, before trying to suffocate her... all in front of their children. Absolutely horrific.
11 Dave Meggett
Back in the 1990s, Dave Meggett was somewhat of a Darren Sproles type of running back. He was a short, but lightning fast player who contributed on the ground, though the air and in the return game. He was a two-time Pro Bowl selection who gained nearly 14,000 all-purpose yards, but his off-field "activities" have been his undoing.
Late in his career, according to ESPN, he assaulted a sex worker in Toronto, and years later he was convicted of beating and sexually assaulting his then-girlfriend. In 2010, however, he burglarized a woman's home and raped her, earning himself a thirty year prison sentence.
10 Ausar Walcott
Back in 2013, he was a rookie linebacker for the Cleveland Browns, but he made a stupid decision and nearly beat a man to death outside of a nightclub. As of February, he was set for a July trial and while he was originally charged with attempted murder, the charge was lessened to assault, according to NorthJersey.com. He encountered a similar problem back in college at Virginia, when he was arrested and nearly expelled from the school for assault and battery.
9 Josh Brent
Drafted by the Dallas Cowboys back in 2010, Brent was a nose tackle from that year until 2014, but retired just a couple of months ago, after serving a few months in prison for intoxication manslaughter. After finally receiving a starting position on the team in 2012, he was driving his car drunk one night, flipped and crashed it, killing his passenger and teammate Jerry Brown, according to CBC.
I'd have some sympathy for Brent if it was a case of a single mistake but it was his second DUI in three years.
8 Dwayne Goodrich
The Cowboys second rounder pick from 2000 didn't have much of a career, as he was arrested in 2003 for a hit and run that killed two people. The kicker was that the two people killed were trying to rescue a man who was trapped in his car after an accident.
Sources say that even after hitting the two Good Samaritans, Goodrich did not even slow down a bit. He was released from prison back in 2011 after almost eight years behind bars.
7 Darrell Russell
Defensive tackle Darrell Russell was drafted from USC second overall by the Oakland Raiders back in 1997. He earned two Pro Bowl appearances in 1998 and 1999, but was eventually banned from the league for multiple drug offenses. He was killed in a car wreck back in 2005.
In 2002, however, he and two friends were accused of drugging and raping a woman. The charges were ultimately dropped as prosecutors did not have enough evidence to go to trial, but she claimed that justice had not been done and THERE WAS A VIDEOTAPE, that clearly showed Russell as having been the guilty party.
6 Keith Wright
This man may not be known for his abysmal three years in the NFL, but Keith Wright has the distinction of being the dirtbag on this list with the largest prison sentence. He was drafted by the Texans in 2003, played on four practice squads over the next couple of years, but was no longer in football after a brief stint with NFL Europe in 2006. In 2012, he was sentenced to 234 years in prison for burglary, sexual assault, kidnapping and armed robbery, for a brutal home invasion that had taken place back in 2011.
5 Donte Stallworth
Drafted 13th overall by the Saints back in 2002, Stallworth went on to have a decent career as a number two and three wide receiver. Back one morning around 7:30 am in March 2009, he struck a pedestrian with his car, while still drunk and high from the night before. There has been a great deal of sympathy for Stallworth in recent years, but I have just one thing to say: of course he feels bad and of course he's saying he's a changed man, but he killed a man.Fine, he has PTSD (apparently) but Mario Reyes, the man he killed, died at the hands of a drunk driver. The focus on how "tough things have been for Stallworth" is my reason for including him here, as much as the circumstances of the act itself.
4 Leonard Little
Back to the defensive line, the St. Louis Rams' quarterback hunting machine from 2001 to 2006 (between 7 and 15 sacks in each of those years) killed someone while driving drunk back in 1998. He was given four years probation and some community service. But again, he had a few drinks and caused someone's death, so that punishment seems a tad light, no? As if that wasn't enough, in 2004, he was arrested again for speeding while driving under the influence. He was sentenced to two years probation this time. Aren't penalties supposed to increase in situations like these?
3 Jim Dunaway
Like some other names on this list, many fans will not know who Jim Dunaway is. Well, my young readers, think of him as the O.J. Simpson that the league and media forgot. A few years after the O.J. trial was over, Dunaway, a defensive tackle who played for the Buffalo Bills and Miami Dolphins, was going through a divorce with his wife. She had recently been awarded a large plot of land that the two owned, along with alimony and half of Dunaway's pension. Then one day, she was found with her head bashed in, drowned in her pool. Dunaway was acquitted of murder, but was successfully sued by his children who held him responsible, according to Bleacher Report.
2 Eric Naposki
Naposki was a linebacker who played in 1988 and 1989 for the Patriots and Colts before being cut and playing for a few seasons in NFL Europe (World League of American Football). In 1994, he was seeing a woman named Nanette Johnson, who was the girlfriend of a wealthy, divorced, older gentleman. The two conspired to kill her husband and collect his life insurance policy. They got away with it for fifteen years, until 2009 when the investigation was reopened. He and Johnson are both serving life in prison with no possibility of parole.
1 Robert Rozier
Rozier was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals back in 1979 but played just one season in the NFL before being signed to the CFL and then cut once again. A couple of years later he would join a religious cult known as "The Brotherhood," who had an initiation rite of killing white people. He was arrested for the murder of seven people, but served just ten years after testifying against the cult. He was released in 1996 and was arrested for check fraud in 1999. For this he was sentenced to 25 years, as it was strike three (he had a drug charge from earlier in life).
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