On any given Sunday, there are 1,696 active players on NFL rosters. For the past few weeks, a handful of them have been accused of or found guilty of enough legal and moral wrongs to make fans write off everyone associated with the league. That’s not fair. While the NFL has its share of bad apples and they may well be ruining the bunch, it also has plenty of good eggs worth saving from the frying pan and this confusing metaphor.
If the life of a professional athlete—the money, the pressure, the women—allows for a sort of arrested development, then it also allows players to be the sort of adults they wanted to be when they were 5 years old. For some players, that’s a problem. For other players, it’s great. The league is thick with eccentric dudes pursuing peculiar hobbies. If it keeps them out of trouble it works for us.
Here are a handful of players whose jersey you won’t be trying to trade in anytime soon.
Nate Irving (LB, Broncos) because when his teammates were going out in Manhattan before last February’s Super Bowl, he insisted on staying in his hotel room and playing Pokemon.
Lance Briggs (LB, Bears) because he wrote—or, your know, co-wrote, in the way celebrities co-write things—his own comic book.
Andrew Luck (QB, Colts) because he plays the slightly geeky board game Settlers of Catan, which is actually pretty mainstream and not as esoteric as some people think it is, but is definitely a strange hobby for a franchise quarterback in a state thick with blondes.
John Moffitt (OL, Seahawks) because he can and make an old woman’s day.
Bernard Pollard (S, Titans) because he’s an amateur inventor whose first product, a tray that goes over small sinks to increase counter space, is boring but pretty damn useful.
Arian Foster (RB, Texans) because he’ll call attention to lazy sports reporters' asking lazy questions by providing lazy answers. Also because he wants to sell shares in himself and he doesn’t want to tank the stock.
Martellus Bennett (TE, Bears) because he’s spent years designing a theme park called Dinosaur Land, which has a man-size French toast mascot who carries around a hot syrup gun. He’s also trying to publish a book tentatively titled Martellus Bennet: Human Fortune Cookie.
Connor Barwin (LB, Eagles) because he takes the bus to work.
Larry Fitzgerald (WR, Cardinals) because he once conducted the Phoenix Symphony Orchestra. Also because his father would have to cover the story if he screwed up.
Rich Ohrnberger (OL, Chargers) because he’s not afraid to publicly admit sexual frustration.
Jason Hatcher (DE, Redskins) because he can admit when his kids make him cry.
Alfred Morris (RB, Redskins) because he still drives the 1991 Mazda he bought from his pastor for $2 (though it has gotten a few upgrades).
Pat McAfee (P, Colts) because he makes regular appearances on Bob & Tom and even though he’s a bit of a ham, at least he’s trying.
Photos by Nam Y. Huh / AP/ Corbis