With NFL teams stacked high full of players originating from New York to Tonga, it makes sense that the offseason activities of pro football players are as diverse as their backgrounds.
American football is a grueling sport and many a player wants nothing more than to kick back and relax after a tough season of games. There are several, however, who are more enterprising with their leisure time and even start-up second careers.
Let’s take a look at some of the fascinating pastimes of legendary NFL pros.
2011’s Defensive Player of the Year, Terence Suggs, is one player who’s been bitten by the acting bug. The former Cardinals linebacker is now embedded into the cinema industry, notching up screen time as an actor and as a producer.
He’s appeared in movies including Ballers and The League but his efforts go way beyond that. In 2008, Suggs founded his own independent production company, Team Sizzle Worldwide, and has even co-written two feature-length films.
With poker in US legal in both brick-and-mortar venues and some online gaming platforms, it’s no wonder that the pastime has soared in popularity with professional athletes as much as it has the general public. In fact, here in the ranks of the NFL, there are several players with a fondness for card games.
Green Bay Packers wide receiver, Sammy Watkins, is just one of the many passionate poker players off the field in the current ranks. However, Richard Seymour is the most prominent name that springs to mind when you think of poker-playing pro footballers.
The Pro Football Hall of Fame member spent no less than 12 seasons competing in the NFL. Upon retirement, he switched to playing poker full-time and worked his way up to competing on the live tournament circuit. According to the Hendon Mob website, “Big Sey” has earned over $645,000 competing in poker games.
Ok, so while there are cooler sports out there than ping pong, you can’t deny that there’s something quite fascinating about watching a burly American Football player picking up the paddle.
Aaron Donald, who plays defensive tackle for the LA Rams, gave supporters a sneak peek at his skills during filming for the Hard Knocks TV series. He and former defensive end Eugene Sims teamed up to take on a pair of collegiate players, who frankly didn’t stand a chance. While everyone was rightly impressed by his prowess, it turns out that table tennis has been a passion of Donald’s for years and he’s quite the master at it.
Lauded as the best kicker in the NFL, Justin Tucker is used to making the headlines. In recent years, however, he’s been making news for more than just his skills on the field.
The Baltimore Ravens team member wowed opera fans around the globe when he stood up at a performance of the Concert Artists of Baltimore to deliver a pitch-perfect rendition of Ave Maria.
This wasn’t just a fluke performance; Tucker has been as dedicated to music as he has football since his college days. He even attended the Butler School of Music, where he honed his bass-baritone range by learning to sing in Czech, French, German, Italian, Russian, Spanish and, of course, Latin.