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From Forefront to Forgotten: NFL Stars After Football

From Forefront to Forgotten: NFL Stars After Football

NFL

Edgerrin James #32 of the Indianapolis Colts

At one point, these players were household names and fixtures on our tv screens every Sunday and Monday. Today, with the glory days long in the rear-view mirror, these former NFL stars are just like the rest of us. Let’s take a look at how retirement is treating these former players. Some took up coaching, others started rapping, and some even found second homes in prison cells.

Priest Holmes

During the early to mid-2000s, Priest Homes was as dominant as anyone. Holmes started his career with the Baltimore Ravens as an undrafted free agent out of the University of Texas, but made his name in Kansas City. While wearing red and yellow, Holmes took the NFL by storm and led the league in touchdowns. He also set the record, which has since been surpassed, for total touchdowns in a season with 27. 

Priest Holmes #31 of the Kansas City Chiefs

KANSAS CITY, MO : Priest Holmes #31 of the Kansas City Chiefs runs the ball during the game against the Indianapolis Colts at Arrowhead Stadium on October 31, 2004 in Kansas City, Missouri. The Chiefs defeated the Colts 45-35. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

Injuries, however, would cut Holmes’ career short.  A neck injury forced him to miss the entire 2006 season and in 2007, after re-injuring it, Holmes retired from football. Since retirement, Holmes has dealt with the repercussions of playing football and the numerous injuries he suffered. “It’s 10 years later and I’m actually still feeling my injuries and the results of all the collisions that I had taken over those 11 years,” Holmes told KSAT.

Priest Holmes Today

But not everything in his retirement is negative. Holmes has used the time off to endearingly reflect on his career and started collecting stamps and art. His big new focus, however, is running the Priest Holmes Foundation and improving the lives of the underprivileged in San Antonio, the city he now calls home.

APRIL 27: Priest Holmes at the podium during the second round of the 2018 NFL Draft

ARLINGTON, TX – APRIL 27: Priest Holmes at the podium during the second round of the 2018 NFL Draft on April 27, 2018, at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX. (Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The foundation provides scholarship funds for college and helps upgrade the facilities in local public schools. Holmes also travels around the country with the NFL’s Play 60 movement encouraging kids to get 60 minutes of exercise every day. For those of you who are wondering, Holmes, despite winning a Super Bowl with the Ravens, is a Chiefs fan at heart and roots them on to this day.

Maurice Jones-Drew

Remember how horrible the Jacksonville Jaguars were for so many years? How they couldn’t fill up their stadium because they couldn’t win games? Those were the good ol’ days before Jalen Ramsey and their obnoxious yet talented defense took the field. During that time of doldrums, the Jaguars had one thing to cheer for, and that was Maurice Jones-Drew. 

Maurice Jones-Drew #21 of the Oakland Raiders

OAKLAND, CA – NOVEMBER 09: Maurice Jones-Drew #21 of the Oakland Raiders carries the ball against the Denver Broncos during the second quarter at O.co Coliseum on November 9, 2014 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

For his efforts, MJD was named to three Pro Bowls and led the NFL in rushing in 2011. Like many other depleted players who suffered at the hands of the Jaguars’ ineptitude, Jones-Drew eventually had enough and signed a one-year deal with the Raiders. As a Raider, Jones-Drew hardly saw the field and retired from football at the age of 29.

Maurice Jones-Drew Today

Post-retirement, Jones-Drew dove head first into broadcasting. Since launching his second career, Jones-Drew has landed gigs with the NFL Network and Sirius XM Radio. As a player, MJD knew it would be beneficial to learn how to use his knowledge of football on radio and television, and that foresight proved to be true. 

Model/Broadcaster Pilar Lastra, right, visits with Maurice Jones Drew at the SiriusXM set at Super Bowl 51 Radio Row

HOUSTON, TX – FEBRUARY 02: Model/Broadcaster Pilar Lastra, right, visits with Maurice Jones Drew at the SiriusXM set at Super Bowl 51 Radio Row at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images for SiriusXM)

Besides broadcasting, Jones-Drew decided to fulfill a promise made to his grandmother that he’d finish his degree.  With that in mind, MJD headed back to his old stomping grounds, UCLA, to finish what he started.

Lastly, Jones-Drew has even gotten involved in investing. He’s not trying to be the next Warren Buffet, but MJD did put some of his hard earn bucks into a virtual reality (VR) startup in California.

Arian Foster

Arian Foster, an undrafted free agent from Tennessee, burst onto the scene like a bat out of hell.  In just his second year, Foster put the NFL on notice. He rushed for 1,600 yards and 16 touchdowns to go along with 600 yards receiving and an additional two touchdowns.  

Running back Arian Foster #23 of the Houston Texans

MIAMI GARDENS, FL – OCTOBER 25: Running back Arian Foster #23 of the Houston Texans carries the ball during a NFL game against the Miami Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium on October 25, 2015 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Ronald C. Modra/Sports Imagery/Getty Images)

During the 2012 season, Foster became the third fastest player in NFL history to reach 5,000 yards from scrimmage. But injuries and a lack of playoff success would mark the end of Foster’s tenure in Houston.  After a dismal few games playing for Miami in 2016, Foster hung up the cleats and retired from football.

Arian Foster Today

When Arian did retire, he, like many others, went to the booth. But not the booth most of you are thinking of. Foster became a rapper. Foster performs under the rap name “Bobby Feeno,” and in 2018, the former star running back released his first album, “Flamingo and Koval.” But Foster has an uphill battle to be deemed a successful rapper.

Arian Foster #23 of the Houston Texans

Photo by Thomas B. Shea/Getty Images

He has to fight the stigma that comes with other athletes who attempted to crossover into music. He has to fight the idea that he already has a large following and platform to promote his work. To him, all of it is worth it, because, as he has stated before, music was his first passion. Before football. Before the glory of scoring touchdowns.

Chris Johnson

He was one of the biggest surprises in the 2008 NFL Draft. Originally, Chris Johnson was projected to be a third-round pick, but after an explosive combine where he set the fastest 40 time in combine history, Johnson’s stock skyrocketed, and with that the Titans selected him 24th overall. Johnson’s NFL career got of to a blazing-fast start and he finished his rookie season with over 1,200 yards rushing and nine touchdowns. 

Chris Johnson sitting on his helmet

Photo by AL Guel, Wikimedia Commons

His sophomore year would be even more impressive. Johnson, after a slow start, left everything in his wake en route to a 2,006-yard season, becoming one of only seven players in NFL history to rush for over 2,000 yards in a season. For his efforts, Johnson was awarded his second Pro Bowl and a pretty sweet nickname, CJ2K.

Chris Johnson Today

Although Johnson would never again reach 2,000 yards, he continued to perform at an elite level and rushed for over 1,000 yards in each of the next four seasons. His career with the Titans ended after the 2013 season, although Johnson continued to play through 2017. After 10 seasons in the league, one of the fastest, most exciting backs in NFL history called it a career, having made it to the playoffs only once.

 NFL player Chris Johnson attends The 2018 ESPYS at Microsoft Theater

LOS ANGELES, CA – JULY 18: NFL player Chris Johnson attends The 2018 ESPYS at Microsoft Theater on July 18, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)

Unlike other guys on this list, Chris Johnson’s retirement hasn’t been all peaches and cream. In April, 2018, Johnson was involved in a violent outburst against a valet parking attendant. According to the victim, Johnson choked and punched him in the face, resulting in minor injuries. Since his angry outburst, Johnson has remained out of the news. 

Shaun Alexander

For a few years,  Shaun Alexander and the Seattle offensive line ruled the NFC. In the 2000 NFL Draft, the Seahawks selected the former ‘Bama back with the 19th overall pick. After a forgettable rookie year, Alexander turned up the heat and had an impressive sophomore campaign, running for 14 touchdowns and over 1,300 yards, the first of five consecutive 1,000-yard rushing seasons.

Seattle's Shaun Alexander(right) runs away from Arizona's Chike Okeaf

Seattle’s Shaun Alexander(right) runs away from Arizona’s Chike Okeafor during the second half of NFL action Seattle Seahawks vs. Arizona Cardinals at Qwest Field in Seattle, Washington on Sunday, September 17, 2006. (Photo by Kevin Casey/NFLPhotoLibrary)

During the 2005 season, Alexander broke the NFL’s total touchdown record with 28 scores en route to a Super Bowl appearance and MVP season. Alexander ended his career with a disappointing, injury-plagued lone season in Washington (2008) where he rushed for only 24 yards. 

Shaun Alexander Today

Today, Alexander finds himself in suburban D.C. raising his eight children. In fact, Alexander, a devout Christian, is homeschooling all of his children so they can receive more bible study.  Alexander has also mentored different running backs at both the college and professional ranks, giving advice on how to handle the rock and the celebrity status that comes with being a big-time football player.

Sean Alexander announces a pick for the Seattle Seahawks

NASHVILLE, TN – APRIL 26: Sean Alexander announces a pick for the Seattle Seahawks during the second round of the 2019 NFL Draft on April 26, 2019, at the Draft Main Stage on Lower Broadway in downtown Nashville, TN. (Photo by Michael Wade/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Besides taking on the role of mentor, Alexander has used his faith to launch a podcast and even wrote a book.  Alexander also travels the country as a motivational speaker, reflecting on his faith, life as a star football player, and life after football.

Edgerrin James

Expectations for the Colts were beginning to build. In 1998, they drafted future Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning with the first overall pick. One year later, they selected Edgerrin James, a speedy, shifty back from Miami, with the fourth overall pick. The offense was ready to explode, and James did his part to ensure it did. He led the NFL in rushing his first two seasons and was named the 1999 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year.

Edgerrin James #32 of the Indianapolis Colts

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – SEPTEMBER 14: Edgerrin James #32 of the Indianapolis Colts runs with the ball during a game against the Tennessee Titans on September 14, 2003 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Sporting News via Getty Images via Getty Images)

Following his time in Indy, James went to the deserts of Arizona where he continued to rack up yards. Despite his efforts, James was unable to help Arizona capture the franchise’s first Super Bowl. In 2011, the former Hurricane retired as the Colts’ franchise leader in rushing touchdowns.

Edgerrin James Today

Since retiring, James has come down with a serious case of wanderlust, which makes sense because he was bitten by the travel bug. James loves to travel since he isn’t on anyone else’s clock for the first time in his life, but with six kids, his primary responsibility and joy is spending time with them. Besides being a globetrotter, James plans to write a book. 

Arizona Cardinals running back and Immokalee native Edgerrin James (C) attends the unveiling of the $22 million makeover and expansion of Hard Rock Casino

Arizona Cardinals running back and Immokalee native Edgerrin James (C) attends the unveiling of the $22 million makeover and expansion of Hard Rock Casino – Creating 1,000 New jobs hosted by Ty Pennington & Seminole Tribe at Seminole Casino Immokalee on February 12, 2009 in Immokalee, Florida (Photo by Tim Boyles/WireImage)

Besides being a father and avid traveler, James make sure he finds enough time to run football camps put on by his eponymous foundation, the Edgerrin James Foundation. The only thing missing in retirement is a Hall of Fame induction. He’s been nominated multiple times, but has fallen short each time. 

Dante Hall

When Dante Hall was playing, he was considered the most exciting man in football. Danger was imminent if you were kicking or punting him the ball. Before you knew what hit you, Hall could be in the endzone throwing up his signature “X” touchdown celebration. Known as the “Human Joystick,” Hall enjoyed an unprecedented amount of success as Kansas City’s return man from 2000-06.

Wide receiver Dante Hall #82 of the Kansas City Chiefs

DENVER – SEPTEMBER 17: Wide receiver Dante Hall #82 of the Kansas City Chiefs runs a pass pattern during the game against the Denver Broncos at INVESCO Field at Mile High on September 17, 2006 in Denver, Colorado. The Broncos defeated the Chiefs 9-6 in overtime. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

He finished his career in St. Louis on a bad note, managing only one punt return for a touchdown in his final two years. Hall retired as the Chiefs’ franchise leader in multiple records including kick return yards and kick return touchdowns. He also finished his career as the Chiefs’ all-time leader in all-purpose yards.

Dante Hall Today

Spinning out of a relaxing retirement would not be something Hall did. In an interview with NFL.com, Hall said, “The first year I just took off. A lot of travelling, golf, and just enjoying life.” But he didn’t get overly complacent. Hall stayed busy and got his real estate license, opened up a few businesses, and hired a personal trainer to stay fit. But he longed for football.

Former Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Dante Hall

NASHVILLE, TN – APRIL 26: Former Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Dante Hall announces a pick during the third round of the 2019 NFL Draft on April 26, 2019, at the Draft Main Stage on Lower Broadway in downtown Nashville, TN. (Photo by Michael Wade/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

With that burning desire to get involved with football, Hall accepted a job to be the running backs coach at a private high school in Long Beach. Outside of football, Hall has returned to school at Texas A&M and is determined to finish his degree. In case you were curious, once Hall arrives to campus, he is all about his bicycle. No more parking tickets.

Joshua Cribbs

He was no Dante Hall, but he was just as exciting and dominant. More importantly, he was the only thing on the Browns worth watching. Yes, Cleveland had LeBron James, and that’s about it. The Browns were (and still are) miserable. They were almost not worth watching, and that’s why ticket prices were so unbelievably low.

Wide receiver Josh Cribbs #16 of the Cleveland Browns celebrates after the Cleveland Browns defeat the Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns Stadium

CLEVELAND, OH – NOVEMBER 25: Wide receiver Josh Cribbs #16 of the Cleveland Browns celebrates after the Browns defeated the Steelers at Cleveland Browns Stadium on November 25, 2012 in Cleveland, Ohio. The Browns defeated the Steelers 20-14. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

If, by some random chance, you ended up at a Browns home game, you would have one thing to watch, and that would be Joshua Cribbs. In Cleveland, he was the greatest thing since sliced bread. Cribbs racked up yards returning punts and kicks and also did a bit of receiving on the side.

Joshua Cribbs Today

During both the 2007 and 2009 seasons, Cribbs amassed over 2,000 all-purpose yards. He finished his career with eight kick return touchdowns and three punt return touchdowns and nine rushing/receiving touchdowns. Although his touchdown numbers pale in comparison to other positions, as a return specialist, Cribbs was certified elite.

Assistant coach Joshua Cribbs yells instructions from the sideline in the fourth quarter of a preseason game against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ – AUGUST 9, 2018: Assistant coach Joshua Cribbs yells instructions from the sideline in the fourth quarter of a preseason game against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Cleveland won 20-10. (Photo by: 2018 Nick Cammett/Diamond Images/Getty Images)

Retirement, for Cribbs, has been just as exciting. He’s been a guest star on two television shows (The League and Hot in Cleveland) and has appeared on ESPN speaking about concussions. However, Cribbs’ biggest journey in retirement has been coaching with the Cleveland Browns, the same organization that gave him a shot to play professional football. Hired in the 2018 offseason to assist with special teams, Cribbs has been all-in on the upstart Browns.  

Torry Holt

Remember the “Greatest Show on Turf”? Torry Holt sure does, because he was one of its founding fathers. Drafted sixth overall in 1999 by St. Louis, Holt burst onto the NFL scene, putting up solid rookie numbers while helping the Rams win Super Bowl XXXIV.

Torry Holt #81 of the St. Louis Rams celebrates during a game against the Tennessee Titans

ST. LOUIS, MO – SEPTEMBER 25: Torry Holt #81 of the St. Louis Rams celebrates during a game against the Tennessee Titans on September 25, 2005 at the Edward Jones Dome Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Sporting News via Getty Images via Getty Images)

Holt, considered one of the game’s most dominant receivers, put up at least 1,000 yards receiving in eight straight seasons. He made it to seven Pro Bowls and was a one-time first-team All-Pro. Despite his dominance, Holt and the Rams struggled mightily to reach the postseason, and when they did, they exited early. In 2012, Holt retired from football as the Rams’ second all-time in both receiving yards and receiving touchdowns.

Torry Holt Today

What do many players do when they retire to stay busy? What they do best, football. Holt didn’t stray too far away from the game he loved and took up coaching. He started off coaching Heritage High School in Wake Forest, North Carolina as an assistant, but the high school level wasn’t enough for him. Next up was the NFL.

Former NFL wide receiver Torry Holt watches warm ups prior to a preseason game between the St. Louis Rams and Cleveland Browns

CLEVELAND, OH: Former NFL wide receiver Torry Holt watches warm ups prior to a preseason game between the St. Louis Rams and Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio. St. Louis won 33-14. (Photo by Nick Cammett/Diamond Images/Getty Images)

Initially, Holt began as an assistant with the Cardinals before joining Los Angeles Rams where he again helped the receivers fine-tune their skills in catching and route running. What Holt hasn’t been able to do in retirement is secure a spot in the Hall of Fame. He’s been eligible for the past few years but has failed to garner the necessary amount of votes.

Marvin Harrison

Marvin Harrison, drafted 19th overall by Indianapolis in 1996, may be one of the most accomplished receivers to emerge from Syracuse University. He preceded Peyton Manning by a few years, but when the two finally did link up, they would become on of the most unstoppable dynamic-duos in league history. For 13 years, Harrison managed to stay healthy and snag footballs at an unprecedented rate. 

Marvin Harrison #88 of the Indianapolis Colts

INDIANAPOLIS – JANUARY 13: Marvin Harrison #88 of the Indianapolis Colts runs for yards after the catch in the first quarter against Marlon McCree #20 of the San Diego Chargers during their AFC Divisional Playoff game at the RCA Dome on January 13, 2008 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Harrison fumbled the play on the play and turned it over to the Chargers. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

The game-plan was simple: put Manning in the shotgun and give Harrison the ball. Defenses knew what was coming but could not stop it. His personal accolades are far too extensive to list here, but some highlights include Super Bowl XLI champion and three-time first-team All-Pro. He retired as the record holder for receptions in a single season, and, for his outstanding play, was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Marvin Harrison Today

While playing football, Harrison avoided controversy. Some would say he was averse to the spotlight, a recluse of sorts.  Retirement, however, has thrust Harrison into an uncomfortable position.  So far, retirement has been anything but easy. In one incident, Harrison, who legally owns guns, was implicated in a shooting that left a man hospitalized. Harrison, however, claims he wasn’t the man behind the shooting and got off scotch-free.

Marvin Harrison (R), former NFL wide receiver and HOF inductee, and Jim Irsay (L), Indianapolis Colts Owner and presenter for Harrison

CANTON, OH: Marvin Harrison (R), former NFL wide receiver and HOF inductee, and Jim Irsay (L), Indianapolis Colts Owner and presenter for Harrison, pose with Harrison’s bust during the NFL Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremony at the Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

One year following that incident, the same man who had been shot the first time was shot again, but this time he succumbed to his wounds and died in a hospital.  Once again, nothing came of it for Harrison.

Other than finding himself involved with murders and guns, Harrison spends his time managing a bar and car wash he owns. In addition to those businesses, Harrison has purchased about 20 properties in his hometown of Philadelphia.

Roddy White

He was born Sharod Lamor White, but many people simply know his as Roddy. That’s right, Roddy White, one of the greatest offensive players in Falcons history. White was drafted out of the University of Alabama Birmingham with the 27th overall pick in the 2005 NFL Draft. In Atlanta, Roddy White was the go-to guy. He was the Falcons’ offense before Matt Ryan and Julio Jones.

Roddy White #84 of the Atlanta Falcons

ATLANTA, GA – NOVEMBER 22: Roddy White #84 of the Atlanta Falcons makes a catch against Jerrell Freeman #50 of the Indianapolis colts during the first half at the Georgia Dome on November 22, 2015 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

The Falcons didn’t have any great quarterbacks during his career, but they did have him. Six-straight 1,000 plus-yard seasons. Four Pro Bowls. Four playoff appearances in five seasons. White’s 2015 season was disappointing and he was released by the Falcons. He did not suit up in 2016 and retired in 2017. 

Roddy White Today

Today, you can call the most prolific receiver in Atlanta history Coach White. That’s because Roddy White has followed a very similar, established path as those who have come before him: coaching. White started out his coaching career with Johns Creek, a high school in the Atlanta area.

Roddy White and Garth Brooks are interviewed by local television during the Roddy White football ProCamp sponsored by Garth Brooks' and Troy Aikman's Teammates for Kids

Roddy White and Garth Brooks are interviewed by local television during the Roddy White football ProCamp sponsored by Garth Brooks’ and Troy Aikman’s Teammates for Kids. The camp was held in Roswell, Georgia on Sunday morning. Each city where Garth Brooks appears on his world tour will have a Teammates for Kids sponsored ProCamp event. (Photo by Andrew Snook/Icon Sportswire/Corbis via Getty Images)

White, who self-admittedly loves kids, believes coaching is a perfect opportunity for him. He’s the receivers coach and is doing his best to impart all of the knowledge he learned during his 11-year NFL career. White also plans on taking up a front-office role with the Falcons, and based off of his comfortable relationship with owner Arthur Blank, that will, in all likelihood, happen.

T.J. Houshmandzadeh

Housh, as he’s known, began his football career at a community college before transferring to Oregon State University. There he met his future Bengals teammate Chad Johnson. In the 2001 NFL Draft, the Bengals took the 6-foot-2-inch receiver in the seventh round. His college teammate, Johnson, was taken in the second round of the same draft.

Photo by Keith Allison, Wikimedia Commons

In 2004 and 2005, Housh fell just shy of eclipsing 1,000 yards receiving, but he did manage to reach 1,000 yards in 2006 and 2007. The next two seasons, he would again fall just short of the 1,000 mark. Although Housh managed just one Pro Bowl, he was a constant threat and made a name for himself as a physical receiver and precise route-runner. Housh retired from football after the 2011 season as the Bengals’ fourth all-time leader in receptions.

T.J. Houshmandzadeh Today

Since retiring, Housh has taken his talents and cool last name into coaching. He’s had a variety of roles ranging from John Ross’ (the ninth overall pick in 2017) personal receiving coach to a special assistant with his former team, the Bengals. His biggest role, however, was with Long Beach Poly. There, Housh joined a star-studded staff as the offensive coordinator.

Cincinnati Bengal wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh talks with students at the Children's Health Fund

LOS ANGELES, CA: Cincinnati Bengal wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh talks with students at the Children’s Health Fund and NFL PLAYERS Rookie Premiere Youth Football Clinic held at Mary McLeod Bethune Middle School in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jesse Grant/Getty Images for NFL PLAYERS)

A crisp route runner and physical receiver, Housh has a lot of knowledge to pass down to the youngsters. And to be sure, star studded is not an understatement. Antonio Pierce, the Super Bowl champion, was the head coach. Takeo Spikes, a dominant linebacker, was the defensive coordinate, and Derrick Ward, a former NFL running back, handled the role of running backs coach.

Asante Samuel

He may be remembered most for a crucial drop in Super Bowl XLII. That crucial missed interception opportunity on an errant Eli Manning pass turned into, one play later, one of the biggest catches in Super Bowl history when Eli Manning improbably connected with David Tyree. That second chance Samuel gifted the Giants ultimately led to one of the most historic upsets in sports history when the Giants defeated the previously-unbeaten New England Patriots 17-14.

Asante Samuel #22 of the New England Patriots

INDIANAPOLIS – JANUARY 21: Asante Samuel #22 of the New England Patriots runs back an interception for a touchdown in the second quarter against the Indianapolis Colts during the AFC Championship Game on January 21, 2007 at the RCA Dome in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

But if you can look past Samuel’s blunder and take in the rest of his career, you’d realize he was a dominant corner with a propensity for big plays. He won two Super Bowls with the Pats and made it to four Pro Bowls. Twice he led the NFL in interceptions and was named to the Patriots All-2000s team. He finished his career in Atlanta after a disappointing 2013 season.

Asante Samuel Today

In 2015, Samuel’s took a relatively unique route to staying busy in his “retirement.” Rather than coaching or working as an analyst, Samuel’s started a record label, “Eighties Nation.” Samuel’s rap endeavor isn’t just about making billboard hits. To him, he views his company as a means to help locals in his community find work and stay out of prison. So while Samuel definitely regrets dropping the ball in the Super Bowl, he appears to be quite comfortable dropping bars in retirement.

GLENDALE, AZ – FEBRUARY 3: Wide receiver Plaxico Burress #17 of the New York Giants can’t haul in a pass in the end-zone while being defended by cornerback Asante Samuel #22 and safety Brandon Meriweather #31 of the New England Patriots during Super Bowl XLII at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. The Giants won 17-14. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)

In an interview with HipHopDX, Samuels asserted that nobody is perfect and everyone deserves a second chance. “We will make mistakes. Everybody makes mistakes. The number one goal is to give jobs and opportunities for better leadership and not for people to be going in and out of jail.”

Shawne Merriman

Lights out. Shawne Merriman was a ferocious hitter. He was the meanest thing San Diego had ever seen. Drafted 12th out of Maryland, Merriman provided the San Diego defense with an instant spark. If San Diego was the Chargers, Merriman was the voltage that provided the charge and brought people to the stadium. In total, Merriman made it to three Pro Bowls including a trip during his rookie season.

Shawne Merriman #56 of the San Diego Chargers

INDIANAPOLIS – JANUARY 13: Shawne Merriman #56 of the San Diego Chargers celebrates after their 28-24 win against the Indianapolis Colts during their AFC Divisional Playoff game at the RCA Dome on January 13, 2008 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

Injuries and some controversial incidents would, however, mean lights out for Shawne. He was suspended for steroid use and his body could not stay healthy. Merriman finished his career in Buffalo and recorded only two sacks in his final two years. Merriman will forever be known as a player who had one of the fastest starts in league history who just didn’t have enough juice to run out the full marathon.

Shawne Merriman Today

The now-not-in-the-NFL Shawne Merriman is just as intense as the once-in-the-NFL Shawne Merriman, albeit in a different way. Merriman didn’t take up coaching or motivational speaking. He didn’t write a book or find himself sitting in a comfy chair analyzing football games for Fox Sports.

Jay Glazer, center, grapples with Buffalo Bills linebacker Shawne Merriman as Kirk Morrison a free agent linebacker, right, looks on during training in MMA fighting techniques

Jay Glazer, center, grapples with Buffalo Bills linebacker Shawne Merriman as Kirk Morrison a free agent linebacker, right, looks on during training in MMA fighting techniques at the True Warrior Fitness. (Photo by Brian van der Brug/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

Nope, Shawne Merriman signed a contract with the World Bare Knuckle Fighting Federation to become that league’s premier fighter. No gloves, just glory. That pretty much sums up bare knuckle boxing, which, based off its name, sounds like a pretty brutal sport, and if Shawne somehow escaped football with minimal brain damage, this sport could probably change that.

Jason Taylor

Oh how the Dolphins suck. Since that franchise lost Dan Marino, they’ve gone nowhere fast. They’ve tried signing big players, redoing their uniforms, and upgrading their stadium. Nothing has worked, but every blue moon that pathetic franchise has a bright spot, and from 1997-07 that bright spot was defensive end Jason Taylor.

 Jason Taylor #99 of the Miami Dolphins tackles Lynell Hamilton #30 of the New Orleans Saints

NEW ORLEANS – SEPTEMBER 03: Jason Taylor #99 of the Miami Dolphins tackles Lynell Hamilton #30 of the New Orleans Saints at the Louisiana Superdome on September 3, 2009 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

A six-time Pro Bowler, 2002 NFL sacks leader, and NFL Defensive Player of the Year, Taylor’s body of work speaks for itself and earned him a spot in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Taylor also holds the NFL record for fumbles returned for touchdowns. Safe to say he was a force, and his post-football life would be no different.

Jason Taylor Today

Step one: coach at one of America’s most powerful high schools, St. Thomas Aquinas. The program, known for churning out top talent, struck gold in hiring Taylor. Besides coaching kids on how to disrupt offensive schemes, Taylor is heavily involved with his charity, the Jason Taylor Foundation.

Jason Taylor and presenter Jimmie Johnson pose with Taylor's bust during the Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremony at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio.

CANTON, OH: Jason Taylor and presenter Jimmie Johnson pose with Taylor’s bust during the Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremony at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

One of his foundation’s signature events, the Ping Pong Smash, is currently in its 15th year and brings together people from all walks of life with one common goal: help South Florida’s children in need.  Besides that signature event, Taylor’s foundation focuses on giving money to causes that need in most, be it a hospital or a recreation center needing new equipment.  While in the NFL, Taylor was a one-man wrecking crew, and, since stepping off the gridiron, he’s continued to assert himself as a difference maker, except this time he’s extending a helping hand instead of putting people on the ground.