When it comes to the National Football League, we see a lot of people seemingly playing the part of tough-guy only to be softies off the field. Obviously, people have a game face or attitude, but there is a real person that we have to separate from all of that.
It is what we see off the field that makes you a jerk in real life. If you’re a nightmare in the locker room, do terrible things off the field, or you’re simply just a jackass … you’re probably on this list. Now, of course this list has to do with people who currently play in the NFL, or consider themselves eligible to play. That means retired players are not on the list. However, some free agents are possible.
While the NFL has plenty of people who could fit the list, we were just able to pick our top fifteen. Enjoy.
15. Richard Sherman
Richard Sherman is a nightmare to deal with on the field. He is arguably the best cornerback in the league, and he was not given nearly enough credit coming out for the NFL Draft a number of years ago. He was a 5th Round pick out of Stanford and was a brilliant man with a lot of skill. Sherman has our respect as a player, but he seriously needs to keep his mouth shut when the game is over.
He has publicly trashed talked the likes of Michael Crabtree. He went after him so bad that you would have assumed Sherman was working for the WWE and calling out his next opponent for the upcoming PPV. He also gets very offended if you don’t call him the best at his position, too. If you even remotely say someone is better, he’ll go nuts (as he has done on certain analysts for certain sports channels).
14. Adrian Peterson
It is always debatable among people across the United States regarding how to punish a child. Should we use corporal punishment or not? While that is a debate for another list, one thing is certain, Adrian Peterson went too far.
While those who believe in corporal punishment believe the use of sticks is acceptable, even supporters of such actions were taken back a bit by what Peterson did to his son. He went way too far with his punishment. So far in fact, he was charged with child abuse. It wasn’t even that his son was some teenager that might need corporal punishment, the young boy was four at the time.
Images emerged causing many of us to believe Adrian had a problem. He has since gotten help, but it is tough to forgive him after such a thing and we can only call him a jerk for his actions despite how good he may be on the field.
13. Ndamukong Suh
Suh is a very good defensive tackle out of the Miami Dolphins. He has played for the Detroit Lions in his career, as well. Suh might be a great player, but he goes way too far on the field and has been known for being a bit of a jerk to his teammates while in Detroit.
He was fined over $200,000 in his first four years with the NFL on four violations. He has been named the dirtied and least liked player in the NFL by Sporting News and Forbes respectively. He was fined for nine personal fouls before the end of 2011 as well.
One almost resulted in a suspension when he memorably stepped on Aaron Rodgers’ calf, just because he could. Suh wanted to play in a wildcard playoff game soon after, and the NFL overturned his initial one game suspension for the step on Rodgers and went with just another fine – this time of $70,000.
He has sort of cleaned up his play now that he has signed with Miami, but not enough. He may be a bit of a nightmare to deal with on the field, but Suh has done some good. He gave donations to the Nebraska Cornhuskers, his college team.
12. Dez Bryant
Before Dez Bryant ever arrived in Dallas, he was not known as a model teammate while with Oklahoma State. He actually dropped in the NFL Draft due to character concerns. Most knew he would be a great wide-out if he could keep his nose clean, if you will.
The problem was that, although he was great, there was a trust issue many teams had with him. He was initially projected go no lower than 11th, but actually dropped near the end of the draft to the Dallas Cowboys at #24 after Dallas traded up a bit to get him.
He would go on to be sort of a difficult teammate in Dallas for a stretch and would end up being arrested in 2012 after hitting his biological mother, which would land him a domestic violence charge. He would say that he was done with domestic violence afterwards.
11. Odell Beckham Jr.
Beckham is one hell of a wide-out. The man may be the master of the one-handed catch, but that does not excuse him for being a jerk. His production on the field is rarely called into question, but he is considered immature by some analysts.
Last year in his infamous interaction with Josh Norman of the Panthers, it just proved his immaturity was at a terrible point. Norman had been all over him the entire day and he was a terror for Beckham. After that, punches were thrown.
This was an extension of issues he had away from the field as well. His teammates have told him to watch what he says online, too.
10. Steve Smith, Sr.
It was quite jarring when Steve Smith, Jr. left the Panthers after spending, like, forever with the team. After over a decade on the team, most thought he would end his career with them but suddenly, it seems things went bad with both sides fast and then he ended up with Baltimore of all places.
The Panthers GM called Smith a distraction, and he truly has been over the years. I mean, this guy was yelling at his QB on the sideline. This cannot be tolerated. Some call it competitiveness and some even call it leadership, but things cannot always go so far.
He has been an issue away from the field as well, where he was a difficult teammate and very vocal with the media whenever he had a problem. The Panthers felt Smith would be poison if he remained in their locker room, and that ended up causing the two to part ways.
9. DeAngelo Hall
DeAngelo Hall was once known for being a talented cornerback who shut down a lot of wide-outs when he was with the Falcons. He picked up where he left off when he went to the Redskins, but both places have been problem areas for Hall.
Despite his talent, Hall has been a locker room nightmare most of his career. In fact, he may be just as known for his outspoken nature off the field as he is on the field playing the game he’s contracted to play. The thing about him is that he is a very selfish player, so much so that media and former teammates called him “MeAngelo” Hall. Perhaps the first unselfish move he made was moving to safety, due to the fact that the team needed him to and because he could no longer play as well as he once could at the corner position.
8. Cam Newton
This past season, Cam Newton had an amazing MVP caliber season. He even made it to the Super Bowl! The problem is what came after. Newton and the Panthers had been killing teams all year with their great offensive play. The issue for Newton always came down to what happened when he lost.
The man cannot stand to lose, which is good and bad. When you lose, it should bother you. A competitor should never be okay with it. The problem is how you go about it. He was in everyone’s face the moment he did well, but the moment he was not…he was nowhere to be seen. After the Broncos just destroyed Newton and the Panthers in the Super Bowl, the media friendly QB just left during a press conference.
He would try to justify it later on by saying “show me a good loser and I’ll show you a loser.” Basically saying, yeah, I hate to lose. The problem for the media was that he was all in their faces, even when they didn’t want him to, once he did something well.
7. Adam “Pacman” Jones
First and foremost, the man was suspended the entire 2007 NFL season and part of the 2008 one due to his off the field conduct. A certain event in Las Vegas still haunts him. He’s not making it rain any longer. Most consider his run in Cincy as good, considering the fact that we had not heard much about him in the media.
Jones has been considered a very difficult teammate and a locker room nightmare. Moreover, he is an organizational nightmare. But of course he’s with the Bengals now, and they run things like they don’t care (so he should be fine). Doesn’t make him any less trustworthy, however.
6. Ben Roethlisberger
Big Ben is known for being a Super Bowl winning Quarterback of the Pittsburgh Steelers, but did you know he has a terrible reputation with women?
Ben has been accused of sexual assault on two occasions, once in 2008 and again in 2010. The NFL is no stranger to these sorts of things, it seems. The first was settled out of court, which is fishy enough. The second involved him not being formally charged, which was fishy but still notable because the NFL saw enough that they suspended him for a few games in the 2010 season.
5. Robert Griffin III
RG3 had quite a memorable rookie year. All we saw was gold for his future, but a bad second season made many wonder if he was going through a sophomore slump or he was not as good as advertised.
Finally, the third season proved that he was not as good as everyone hoped he would be, and he didn’t even play last season. He was considered a nightmare for the locker room in his time with teammates coming out with various stories regarding how they felt about him.
He was an issue for his head coach as well. However, the moment you’re a locker room issue, there is nothing else needed … you’re a jerk. RG3 just signed with the Browns, so here’s hoping he can actually produce for the first time in 4 years.
4. Ray Rice
During his first number of seasons in the NFL where he played for the Ravens, Ray Rice was considered one of the better running backs in the NFL. He was consistent, too, as each year you knew he would get things done. Literally, nothing was off limits for the man.
Then, he hit his fiance in an elevator in Feb. 2014, which would get him arrested for domestic violence. On top of it all, it was caught on video for the world to see while the NFL seemingly drug their feet on seeing it. The video caught him hitting her and dragging her out. It was just sickening to see.
Interestingly, the following month he was indicted on third degree aggravated assault which would have given him a possible jail sentence of 3 to 5 years. He was able to get the charges dropped when he agreed to undergo court-supervised counseling.
The Ravens cut ties with Rice almost immediately and the NFL suspended Rice for two games, because they were stupid. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell would say that they “didn’t get it right” with Rice regarding his suspension.
3. Richie Incognito
There’s a difference between hazing and bullying. There is even a fine line in what hazing truly is versus playful annoyance. When you make the rookie carry everyone’s pads in, that is clean hazing for the new guy. It is a fun thing you can do to mess with the newbie. However, when you go beyond this playful manner and begin to be horrible toward a person … that is a problem.
That is exactly what Richie Incognito did with Jonathan Martin while both played for the Dolphins. He along with Mike Pouncey and John Jerry would proceed to harass Martin, who did not want to report all of this to Miami and thus decided he no longer wanted to play for them. He was willing to sit out the entire 2013 due to it, which he did.
Richie was the lead problem in all of it. He would say that he was doing what he did to toughen Martin up, but if that was his intention he went about things the wrong way. The man even threatened Martin’s family in text messages, which was considered criminal by most analysts.
Richie is known for being one of the dirtiest players in the NFL, which has been cited by several coaches and players. It should not be surprising that he would bring this sort of thing out in the locker room.
2. Johnny Manziel
I’m not even sure I even need to put anything here as you’ve probably heard something about Johnny Manziel in the news. The former Heisman Trophy winner was considered a good football player once upon a time. His main issue was that he loved partying and being a jackass too much to actually focus on becoming a great Quarterback.
He is just as famous for his party lifestyle in the off-season as what he did on the field. He has never truly succeeded in the NFL, and it was really all due his off the field problems. The Browns tried to work with him on things, but it just did not work.
He did check into a rehab center for alcohol problems, which he was cited for beforehand. But apparently he cannot leave the party behind and continues to be involved in that scene. He has become such an issue that the Browns released him. His marketing agent even left his side. At the end of the day, Manziel is his own worst enemy and always has been. He has always come off as a jerk and most see him as one.
1. Greg Hardy
Greg Hardy is a defensive lineman who was known for his impressive sack ability with the Panthers. He was so good in fact that most thought he could be considered the best lineman in the NFL if he kept on the same track.
In May 2014, Hardy would allegedly assault his ex-girlfriend. He was arrested formally for assault and communicating threats. He grabbed her, threw her into furniture, strangled her, and threatened to kill her according to reports. In July of that year, a judge found him guilty and put him on 18 months probation with a 60 day jail sentence. Hardy would appeal the decision, requesting a jury trial, but the victim failed to appear in court to testify. Due to this, the prosecutor’s office dropped the charges, citing their inability to locate the victim, and “reliable information” that the two parties had reached a civil settlement.
The Panthers would go on to release Hardy after considering the idea of playing him at one point. The NFL did suspend him for 10 games, which meant anyone who picked him up would have to wait out his sentence with him. The league did their own investigation regarding Hardy’s incident where they found “sufficient credible evidence” that Hardy had engaged in conduct which “violated NFL policies in multiple respects and with aggravating circumstances.”
The NFL’s investigation ended up concluding that Hardy used physical force at least four times with the woman in question, including placing his hands around the victim’s neck with enough pressure to leave visible marks, and that his actions were “a significant act of violence in violation of the Personal Conduct Policy.”