The Men Behind the Mask

In an infographic distributed by the NFL, it was reported that only 1.6 percent of players in the NCAA make it to the NFL. For those select few who make it, they have reached the panicle of their athletic career. These athletes are admired, seen as role models, and looked upon by as having the ultimate celebrity status. When these people are viewed by the “average” person they aren’t viewed with emotions, they aren’t seen as individuals, rather they are looked upon as a part of a team, someone that is only good for what they can do as an athlete, and a productive one at that. The reality is that these are simply just people, people who are doing their job to the best of their ability and are so much more than just athletes. These professional athletes have goals outside of football, they have other accomplishments, and they have role models of their own who they look up to and aspire to be like. Every athlete and every person are different, on the field they are all the same, striving for the same goals, but off the field every person is different, everyone has their own upbringing, their own role models, and their own goals in life.

The following are responses from NFL players about what they are most proud of in regard to their off the field accomplishments as well as who inspires them as individuals:

Chase Daniel, Philadelphia Eagles
“The fact that in Philadelphia we have a really good community of Christian believers. Faith is very big to me and my wife, so probably being able to share our faith off the field with a bunch of our teammates, and something that wherever I go, even outside of football that will always mean a lot to me.”

“Outside of football, there is no doubt it is my dad, everything he was able to give to me and to coach me, he was my coach growing up. He was such a true fatherly figure. In terms of on the field probably Drew Brees, I spent the first four years of my NFL career with him, sort of showing me how to become a football player.”

Ryan Allan, New England Patriots
“I definitely want to do more community service, I will say this, the first couple of years and getting used to the season, we are usually winning and getting into the playoffs, at least we have every year I have been playing, I don’t have too much time honestly. I value my relationship with my family and close friends, and I don’t see them quite that often because I live in Oregon. Usually, on those ten weeks, we have off I try to get home and spend some time with them because they mean a lot to me and they are what keeps me pushing at the end of the day and that would be my most important thing. I am getting more into cooking and I actually do want to go back to school and get a degree in business management.”

D.J. Foster, New England Patriots
“Being a man of character, treating people with respect, always putting my family first and never forgetting where I come from. You know just being a person who is dependable and someone can rely on.”

Rob Ninkovich, New England Patriots
“Understand that as a professional athlete I have a platform and you can influence young people with the decisions I make. I think it is trying to speak to as many young people as I can to just motivate them and show them that they really have control over their life. If someone tells them that they cant do anything, don’t listen to them and stick to it. I think as a professional athlete you can really help these people achieve their goals.”

Doug Baldwin, Seattle Seahawks
“Continuing to grow, I think that’s what I am most proud of. It is easy to lose yourself in this world and I am thankful I have been surrounded by people around me that have pushed me to grow. My mom was very instrumental in pushing me to never have that content mentality and never being satisfied with myself and for those around me.”

Danny Amendola, New England Patriots
“My foundation, something I have been apart of for six years, providing opportunities for kids in Boston so it’s a blessing to have something like that.”

“I would say my dad, he has been a coach in Houston for 30 years and he is inspiring kids, that is something I aspire to be someday.”

Matthew Slater, New England Patriots
“I like to think that in my career I have tried to be a man that is heavily invested himself in the human element, taking a lot of pride in getting to know people and developing relationships. Truly that is bigger than the game of football. So I hope when people in New England talk about Matthew Slater, they will think of first as him of a man of god and secondly as a man dedicated to his family and also dedicated to his friends and community. “

Nate Ebner, New England Patriots
“Something I still want to strive for, I want to do more outside of sports. For me, it’s really the type of person I’ve been trying to become. I try to hold myself highly as a person from a character standpoint on how you treat other people. I’m glad for the way that I was brought up to reach that potential as a young man. I strive to do that every day, try to get other people to come along with me, get the most out of my teammates and my friends. To hold each other at a high character level and standard because I think that’s what’s missing in our society In some ways in our country and I’d like to see us go in the other direction with the better character.”

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