The Daily Briefing Monday, July 9, 2018
AROUND THE NFL
The RedZone.org points out that there are four unsigned franchise players with the deadline a week away:
The Cowboys, Lions, Rams and Steelers are apprroaching a deadline to sign their franchise tagged players to a long-term contract.
Those players are Cowboys defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence, Lions defensive end Ziggy Ansah, Rams safety Lamarcus Joyner and Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell.
They have until Monday July 16th at 4 pm Eastern time to get deals done otherwise their franchise players will play under the one year tender.
Lawrence, Ansah, and Joyner have signed their one-year tenders while Bell has not.
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Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com is very concerned about the NFL’s new helmet rules:
Roughly two months from the start of the regular season, and less than four weeks from the first preseason game, it’s still not clear how the NFL will enforce two new rules that apply to helmet use.
And, yes, there are two new rules. In addition to the much-publicized (after it was secretly passed) prohibition on lowering the helmet to initiate contact, the unnecessary roughness rule has been revised to ban not only ramming, butting, and spearing with any part the helmet in a violent or unnecessary manner but all ramming, butting, or spearing, with the only limitation being “incidental” helmet contact while performing “conventional” blocking and tackling maneuvers.
So what does it all mean? No one really knows for sure, including the coach of the team that employs the chairman of the Competition Committee.
As explained by Jenny Vrentas of SI.com, the NFL has produced via several of its coaches a series of six videos aimed at explaining the rule to players. One of the videos was produced by Falcons coach Dan Quinn, who seems to think he knows how the two new rules will be applied in the trenches. But it’s clear based on his comments that it’s not quite clear to him how the two new rules will work.
“I couldn’t see where it would be very likely called for the inside guys,” Quinn told Vrentas. “Not saying it couldn’t, but contact happens so quickly when two guys are in a stance across from one another, that it would be difficult.”
Shouldn’t Quinn know for sure at this point whether a foul will or won’t be called, especially when he has direct access to Rich McKay, who runs both the Falcons and the committee that surreptitiously crafted and submitted the lowering-the-helmet proposal nearly four months ago?
Maybe Quinn has asked McKay, and maybe McKay hasn’t been able to answer. According to Vrentas, McKay “said the league will study this season how the rule change may be able to impact interior line play.” That’s a careful and diplomatic way of acknowledging that (wait for it) no one knows what’s going to happen.
McKay apparently has an idea about what could happen, since he contends that the lowering-the-helmet rule implies intent. “Very rarely do you write a rule with some element of intent in the language, but that was purposeful,” McKay told Vrentas.
That’s fine, but why didn’t they purposefully add language that makes it clear that there’s an element of intent? Maybe they’re concerned that game officials can’t spot intent in real time. If so, that’s why McKay is absolutely correct when he says rules with “some element of intent” are written “[v]ery rarely.”
McKay believes, given the proximity of offensive and defensive linemen at the snap, that players won’t have the opportunity to lower the helmet and initiate contact. “In space, where there is distance between players, it’s easier to call — once you see that posture and it is to initiate the blow,” McKay told Vrentas. “You’re not doing that to initiate contact in much closer quarters.”
That’s fine, too, if the rule book had been revised only to transform 2013’s crown-of-the-helmet rule into the new lowering-the-helmet ban. It’s the change to the unnecessary roughness rule (which says nothing about lowering the helmet or initiating contact) that, if applied as written, gives credence to senior V.P. of officiating Al Riveron’s observation from May that linemen will need to get their heads up.
Here’s the likely reality: No one really knows what’s going to happen. The end result will come from the push-and-pull between teams and the league office, as game officials try to enforce and apply both new rules through 65 preseason games and 256 regular-season games, and 11 postseason contests. It will be a work in progress, a trial-and-error proposition, as everyone understands how the words in the rule book will transform into fouls, ejections, suspensions, and/or non-calls.
Here’s the real question: Is this the correct way to run a billion-dollar sports league? With legalized gambling beginning to spread throughout the country, a make-it-up-as-we-go vibe will be subject to the desires of those who want things to go in a certain way, to advance their own agendas. And the most important constituency in this regard continues to be whoever engineered the sudden adoption of the lowering-the-helmet rule with no advance discussion and the sudden appearance of the revised unnecessary roughness rule with no advance notice, because that still-unknown constituency seems to be nudging the sport toward major changes, like the abandonment of the three-point stance.
“There has been discussion of that and will continue to be, but I don’t [think we are there] yet,” McKay said regarding the possible elimination of the hand-in-the-dirt posture that helps make football football. “That’s almost to me like when people said the kickoff was definitely going away five years ago. We will evolve, and come up with rules and techniques to respond to the injury data as we get it. But we don’t make wholesale changes in the game just to make them.”
First, people still think the kickoff is definitely going away. Second, the evolution of safety-related rules changes has become a revolution since the national concussion epiphany of October 2009. Third, McKay admits that the NFL will make “wholesale changes” to the game if they think “wholesale changes” are justified by “the injury data.”
Of course, it’s more than just “the injury data.” It’s about presenting a product on Sundays, Mondays, and Thursdays that keeps mothers and fathers from turning to their sons and saying, “Jimmy, you’re never playing football.”
It was an unhappy holiday for Cardinals GM Steve Keim who now is publicly shamed as a drunk driver. KTAR.com on the incident in Chandler, Arizona:
Arizona Cardinals general manager Steve Keim was cited for a DUI on July 4. He was released that same night after being processed.
Chandler police confirmed to KTAR News 92.3 it happened during a traffic stop near Dobson and Ocotillo roads.
The team and Keim released statements Saturday morning.
“We are aware of the incident on Wednesday involving Steve Keim. He fully recognizes the seriousness of the situation and that this type of behavior is unacceptable and inexcusable,” the statement said.
“Steve immediately alerted the team who in turn reported it to the NFL as required under the league’s Personal Conduct Policy. We are continuing to gather information and will handle the matter appropriately and in accordance with all league policies as well as within the legal system.”
Keim’s statement, who was promoted to Cardinals general manager in 2013 after spending time in the team’s front office, is below.
“I truly regret my incredibly poor judgment and inexcusable actions. Everyone associated with the NFL and its teams is held to a high standard of behavior and I obviously failed to meet that. I sincerely apologize to our organization and its fans as well as to my family. I accept full responsibility for my actions and hold myself completely accountable. Moving forward, I will take the steps to ensure that I never put myself or the Cardinals in this type of situation again.”
Keim has been with the organization since 1999. In February, he signed a four-year contract extension through the 2022 season.
Richard Velotta of the Las Vegas Review-Journal with an update on the new home of the Raiders, rising in the summer heat on the west side of I-15:
The Raiders’ new stadium is going up rapidly — just as the price of game tickets and personal seat licenses surely will.
While the team is happy to talk about the former, they aren’t as forthcoming about the latter.
“Let’s just say our sales and marketing people are extremely happy with the response the market has given us,” said Don Webb, chief operating officer of StadCo, the Raiders’ subsidiary building the $1.8 billion, 65,000-seat indoor football stadium at Interstate 15 and Russell Road.
Webb’s said his expertise is in overseeing stadium construction but not marketing. He didn’t comment on reports that premium seating for the stadium, including club seats and luxury boxes, are nearly sold out.
Fans who had appointments to hear presentations at the team’s preview center have called the Review-Journal to complain that their meetings have been canceled. A reporter’s request to sit in on a marketing presentation was declined.
No details on PSLs
Webb said he could not discuss details about the number of seat commitments made nor what the cost of personal seat licenses would be.
Personal seat licenses, or PSLs, are a fee teams charge to give people access to buy season tickets. While the Raiders have not disclosed PSL pricing — and thousands of people have already placed $100 deposits down to buy — the amount per license is expected to be in the thousands of dollars for premium seats.
PSL revenue will be a key stream of private money financing stadium costs.
The public is pitching in $750 million through an increase in the existing hotel room tax.
Webb said the team’s marketing department is following a sequenced roll-out of seat sales so that not every seat is immediately available, a strategy that likely assures getting top dollar for available seats.
The team also isn’t saying what percentage of ticket buyers are from Southern Nevada and how many are from California or elsewhere.
Webb said he couldn’t be specific on percentages, but “it’s pretty consistent with what we expected.”
While ticket sales and pricing are vague, progress on stadium construction isn’t. The best news Webb could have hoped for was that there weren’t any hidden surprises with which work crews had to contend. So far, no surprises.
“We’re 15 percent through the construction, so there’s 85 percent of the potential for surprises still lingering,” Webb said. “But coming up out of the ground, when you haven’t had any serious, unexpected problems it is somewhat unusual. You’re excavating a million cubic yards of earth, you know there are subsurface conditions that others have experienced and hear they can be somewhat surprising, but we really didn’t have any.”
Nearly 500 workers
Nearly 500 construction workers are on the site daily, pouring cement for concrete wall forms and columns to support the upper levels of the stadium. By the end of the month, prefabricated steel will arrive from mills in Wisconsin to begin the first major vertical construction of the project.
Webb said steel and aluminum tariffs ordered by President Donald Trump would have a minimal impact on the project’s cost because most of the structural steel was ordered well before the tariff announcements.
Webb said there could be some minor price fluctuations for steel and aluminum products subcontractors use.
The on-site workforce is expected to more than double by the end of the year as the project progresses.
Workers celebrated progress last week with an on-site barbecue served by Raiders owner Mark Davis, team president Marc Badain, Webb and executives with the contracting team.
“I always anticipated the workforce would be plentiful, experienced and motivated,” Webb said. “You’ve heard me talk before about why we should be able to do even more work in the same time period that was performed in Minneapolis (at U.S. Bank Stadium) because the experienced contracting pool and labor pool and civic support we have in Las Vegas, coupled with the climate, allows us to do four years’ worth of work in three years and that’s pretty much held true.”
It also helps that Mortenson Construction, the Minneapolis-based general contractor, has dozens of sports facilities in its portfolio and that it has partnered with McCarthy Building Cos. of Henderson on some projects.
Still ahead is the arrival of two cranes, each capable of lifting 2,000 tons. They’ll be used to lift the plastic polymer roof in place after it is built on-site.
A crosshatch of steel cables made from imported Swiss steel will support the translucent roof.
Webb also noted that work is progressing slowly on the design of the team’s $100 million practice facility and team headquarters on 55 acres near Henderson Executive Airport.
Webb indicated the facility would be home to a football operations performance center with an indoor field house, outdoor fields, a weight room and “a very nice office complex” for the team’s business operations.
The map at the Review-Journal reveals that I-15, the major artery through Las Vegas – which runs from the Canadian border, through Salt Lake City, then Vegas and on to San Diego is listed as the Barstow Freeway/Mojave Freeway as it passes through Vegas. Or at least it is on the Review-Journal map.
But online, Google Maps calls it the Las Vegas Freeway.
We think the Mark Davis Freeway would be more appropriate. Or the Raiders-Knights Freeway.
Absent-minded QB ANDREW LUCK is in the debt of a stranger. Andrew Hussey of the Indianapolis Star:
Colts quarterback Andrew Luck got lucky.
After losing his wallet, Luck might have thought he would never see it again, or at least the contents of it would be taken.
Instead of that worst-case scenario, Luck’s wallet was returned to him by a complete stranger.
My friend’s dad found Andrew Luck’s wallet while he was on a bike ride. He returned it to the practice facility and a few weeks later he got this in the mail! Such a nice gesture. @Colts @NFL @JimIrsay #Colts
Charles, as the note from Luck addresses, received a signed football along with a note from Luck for returning the wallet. The note said, “Many thanks! You made my life much easier. Thanks for reminding me of the ‘kindness of strangers.'”
Since he still has a flip-phone, we assume his wallet has velcro.
RB LEONARD FOURNETTE knows that he had a rather pedestrian 3.9 yards per carry as a rookie. Kevin Patra of NFL.com:
The Jacksonville Jaguars immediately installed Leonard Fournette as the offensive engine in 2017, force-feeding the rookie running back 268 times in 13 games for a 20.6 average tote per contest, fourth-most in the NFL.
Facing stacked boxes by defenses daring Blake Bortles to beat them through the air, Fournette often slammed into a mass of bodies for modest gains. On the season, the rookie earned 3.9 yards per carry, which ranked 30th among running backs with 100 or more carries on the season. His average per carry landed well behind two fellow rookies, Alvin Kamara (6.1, 1st) and Kareem Hunt (4.9, 4th).
Heading into Year 2, Fournette is focused on improving his yards per carry average, but not fretting about the mediocre rookie number.
“At the end of the day, it’s not about me and not about yards per carry,” Fournette said back in June, via the Florida Times-Union. “It’s about the wins and losses.”
Fournette aided the Jags’ 2017 turnaround as a workhorse back who paced the offense. He earned 100-plus yards in five games and added a TD in eight regular-season contests. Injuries, however, limited him in several games and forced him to sit out three tilts.
In an effort to stay healthy in 2018 and improve his stats, Fournette has sleeked down this offseason and plans on being lighter heading into training camp later this month.
“I feel like I play my best at that weight — 223, 224 – that’s what I played in college,” Fournette said. “Why not? I don’t want to be average. I want to be above average, be the greatest one to play this game. I feel lighter, quicker and I have a lot of my burst.”
As much as Fournette helped improve the Jags’ offense last season, Jacksonville didn’t struggle in the games in which the running back missed — going 3-0 and outscoring opponents 95-14. With bigger aspirations in 2018 and some question marks in the passing game, the Jags need an explosive performance from a leaner Fournette and the rushing attack to carry the offense again.
In case you wondered, there were 47 RBs with 100+ carries in 2017, so Fournette ranked 30th of 47, ranging from Kamara’s 6.1 to Doug Martin’s 2.9. CARLOS HYDE of the 49ers and MELVIN GORDON of the Chargers were other backs who operated in the 3.9 range.
NEW YORK JETS
There seems to be a bit of a split in the owning Johnson family. Woody Johnson, the ambassador to England, thinks the President is a role model. Anthony Barstow of the New York Post:
Woody Johnson’s time in the Trump administration, serving as ambassador to the United Kingdom, apparently has had a lasting impact on the former Jets owner.
Johnson, who gave up his active ownership of Gang Green when he was appointed to his post, was being filmed as part of a documentary on the opening of a new embassy, when he revealed to the camera just how his job has changed his parenting.
“I have two little boys and we’re raising them just like Donald Trump. Not the hair,” Johnson said, according to sportswriter Jane McManus, who posted the remarks on Twitter.
The 71-year-old Johnson presumably was speaking about his two sons with wife Suzanne Ircha, whom he married in 2009.
Christopher Johnson, Woody’s brother is now running the team – and he has promised to personally pay the fine for any Jets player who defies Trump and protests during the National Anthem.
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QB JOSH McCOWN implies he won’t be the Jets starting QB for long. Josh Alper of ProFootballTalk.com:
Josh McCown is one of the many quarterbacks to start for the Jets as they’ve looked for long-term success at the position, but it doesn’t sound like he thinks the team will have to continue searching.
McCown said at minicamp in June that rookie Sam Darnold was getting better every day and he continued to drop praise on his younger teammate during an interview on Sirius XM NFL Radio this weekend.
“With Sam, we have the right guy, he’s wired the right way, he loves the game, he asks the right questions and he’s willing to work … That’s the foundation, you have to have that,” McCown said.
Darnold is set to start training camp as the No. 3 man on the depth chart behind McCown and Teddy Bridgewater, but neither head coach Todd Bowles nor offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates has been reluctant to say that could change if Darnold impresses this summer. With camp starting on July 29, it won’t be too much longer before we start to find out if McCown’s right about the rookie.
THIS AND THAT
BRANDON BROWNER BACK IN TROUBLE
More legal trouble for former NFL player Brandon Browner as he violates a restraining order in a big way. Michael David Smith of ProFootballTalk.com:
Former NFL player Brandon Browner is in trouble with the law again, facing several serious charges.
NBC Los Angeles reports that Browner was arrested today on charges of kidnapping, burglary, false imprisonment and violation of a restraining order.
Police got a call that Browner broke into a home this morning, and when the resident tried to run away, he forced her back in. Police say Browner physically harmed the woman and threatened to kill her before taking a Rolex watch from her and leaving.
The woman reportedly had previously been in a relationship with Browner and had a restraining order against him. Browner spent two days in jail in May for violating a restraining order.
Today’s arrest is at least Browner’s fourth arrest in the last year. In addition to the May restraining order violation, he was arrested on drug charges in October, and he was arrested for making criminal threats in September.
The 33-year-old Browner had a long football career that saw him make the Broncos as an undrafted rookie in 2005, last two years in Denver before playing four seasons in the Canadian Football League, then spent three seasons in Seattle, one in New England and one in New Orleans before finishing his career with a brief stint in Seattle in 2016.
Unmentioned in the story above is that Browner was only apprehended after a police chase in Azusa, California.
This on Azusa:
Azusa is a city in the San Gabriel Valley, at the foot of the San Gabriel Mountains in Los Angeles County, California, United States.
The A on the San Gabriel Mountains represents the city of Azusa, and can be seen within a 30-mile radius. The population was 46,361 at the 2010 census, up from 44,712 at the 2000 census. Azusa is located along historic Route 66, which passes through the city on Foothill Boulevard and Alosta Avenue.
“Azusa stands for everything from A to Z in the U.S.A.” has been a phrase used to promote the town by boosters such as the Chamber of Commerce for many years.
Adjacent cities to Azusa include Glendora and Covina.
The NBA, despite all the ESPN promotion, is roughly as popular as the World Cup per these tweets from Clay Travis and Michael Mulvihill:
The Round of 8 World Cup matches, obviously without US or Mexico, nearly beating the NBA’s round of 8 playoff games is going to blow some people’s minds.Clay Travis added,
Round of 8 Viewership:
2018 NBA Playoffs: 4.8 mill
2018 World Cup: 4.5 mill…
What about the NFL’s ratings for its round of 8? Even down 16% from 2017, they were about many times as high.
The NFL saw its ratings fall yet again last weekend for its divisional playoff round, but there are some asterisks involved in the comparisons to last year’s slate of playoff games.
NFL ratings were down 16% this weekend for its divisional round match ups compared to the same weekend last year. That includes Saturday’s games on NBC and CBS down 6% and 10% and Sunday’s playoff games on CBS and Fox down 15% and 27%.
The declines are staggering but they are also not an apples-to-apples comparison to last year’s playoff games.
Case in point: 35.6 million viewers tuned in for the Minnesota Vikings’ thrilling last-second victory over the New Orleans Saints on Sunday. But that game was competing with last year’s Green Bay Packers and Dallas Cowboys playoff game — the most watched divisional game in history with 48.5 million viewers.
The Jacksonville Jaguars stunning upset of the Pittsburgh Steelers also saw a big drop with 31 million viewers, but that number also comes with a footnote: Last year’s comparable Sunday game between the Steelers and Kansas City Chiefs, which brought in 37 million viewers, was rescheduled due to bad weather to a Sunday night, an arguably more attractive start time for viewership.
As for Saturday’s games, interest around the Atlanta Falcons and Philadelphia Eagles afternoon game could have been hindered by a late season injury of the Eagles’ star quarterback, Carson Wentz.
The New England Patriots big halftime lead over the Tennessee Titans on Saturday night could have prompted viewers to tune out for the second half.
The NFL has seen declining ratings all season due to injuries, a brutal hurricane season and a deluge of streaming and television content competing for eyeballs.
Despite the league seeing its audience drop 16% overall, it still drove viewership all weekend with all four playoff games each bringing in more than 25 million viewers.
NFL SIDE DEALS
ESPN.com with a report on some NFL players trying to kick start their post-playing careers:
Here’s a snapshot of various off-field careers and crafts that players have been working on:
Steelers cornerback Joe Haden has turned a childhood passion for footwear into a business plan. Haden is the owner of The Restock in downtown Cleveland, specializing in the re-sale of high-end sneakers. Haden estimates he has about 2,000 pairs of shoes in the store, and after pouring $200,000 into the business, the store is now profitable. Read more. — Jeremy Fowler
Browns rookie defensive end Chad Thomas is a music producer. He produced “Apple of My Eye,” the opening track of Rick Ross’ most recent album “Rather You Than Me.” Thomas plays nine instruments and has been performing since he was 5 years old. He goes by Major Nine for his production work. — Pat McManamon
Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins has his own designer menswear store. What started as a desire to look his best on road trips turned into an all-out passion for fashion. First he created a bow tie line called Rock Avenue, then upped the ante by opening Damari Savile, a brick-and-mortar in Philadelphia, last summer. Although he has a demanding full-time job and a host of other outside interests, Jenkins likes to be hands-on where he can. “That’s kind of the fun part is that I actually enjoy picking out the fabrics and designing the suit,” he said. Read more. — Tim McManus
Titans linebacker Brian Orakpo co-owns a cupcake shop. He opened the store — Gigi’s Cupcakes in Bee Cave, Texas — with former teammate and recently retired safety Michael Griffin, and friend and business partner Bryan Hynson. This is Orakpo’s first venture into business ownership, and it started from desiring ownership for one of his favorite guilty pleasures. “I wish more and more guys would take that risk or that jump. It keeps you busy,” Orakpo said. “A lot of guys don’t know what to do in the offseason — all they do is work out and go home.” Griffin added: “It was harder than playing football. This was like a completely foreign language.” Read more. — Cameron Wolfe
Texans linebacker Whitney Mercilus opened a restaurant, One Fifth, with Houston chef Chris Shepherd last year. It’s a five-year project featuring five different restaurant concepts, with each concept running for a year before they totally change the menu and look of the building. The first year was steak, this year is romance languages. — Sarah Barshop
Chiefs guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif is a doctor. He graduated from medical school at Montreal’s McGill University in May. He isn’t practicing medicine yet and won’t until his football career is finished. He plans on specializing in emergency medicine when he’s done playing. Read more. — Adam Teicher
Packers safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix has been a judicial intern. The Pro Bowl safety, who received his criminal justice degree from Alabama this spring, has worked with local judge Donald R. Zuidmulder to further understand the inner workings of the justice system. He also spends time with police and FBI agents and plans to pursue a career in one of those branches after his playing days. — Rob Demovsky
Falcons offensive lineman Ben Garland doubles as a captain in the United States Air Force. He attended the Air Force Academy and was deployed to Jordan for a short stint while on active duty. Although Garland has completed his military commitment, he still serves with the Air National Guard 140th Security Forces Squadron, based at Buckley Air Force Base in Aurora, Colorado.”If my body is still holding up, I’d love to go back to active duty,” the 30-year-old Garland said. Read more. — Vaughn McClure
Colts defensive lineman Al Woods is a third-generation cattleman. He spends most, if not all, of the offseason working on his family’s farm in Elton, Louisiana — a town of about 1,130 people. Woods and his family have about 150 Black Angus, Brangus and Bremer cattle. He starts each morning on the farm at 5 a.m. and takes care of three fields, checking the fence lines, the water, the health of the cattle, and he feeds them. “My grandfather started the farm, my father then took it over, and now I’m part of it with my dad and best friend,” Woods said. “I basically live 3.4 miles outside of my hometown where I was born and raised. My wife literally grew up a mile from where we built our house.” — Mike Wells
Jaguars defensive end Calais Campbell and his brother founded a sports/comedy production company called The Team Network. The group, which started several years ago, recently partnered with Uninterrupted to produce an inside look at the free-agency process, including a look at Campbell’s decision to sign with the Jaguars in 2017. It also produces digital shorts involving other professional athletes. Campbell would like to be involved full time with the project — and potentially do some other work in the television industry — when his football career is over. — Mike DiRocco
Redksins punter Tress Way turned training camp boredom into a board game. In training camp of 2016, Way started asking teammates and coaches trivia questions — name the top 10 winningest college football programs, for example. It became so popular among teammates that they kept asking for more. Eventually he turned it into a board game released last August called What’s your Bid? He followed that up with a card game called Who Farted? Yes, farted. In a nutshell, the last one still holding a card is, uh, the farter. Naturally there are cards in the game that read “Silent but deadly” and “Whoever smelt it dealt it.” It’s for ages 8 and up. Way once called the game “super embarrassing” but said that everyone loved it. Read more. — John Keim
Seahawks punter Jon Ryan became a co-owner of the Portland Pickles last spring. It’s a collegiate wooden-bat baseball team that plays over the summer in the West Coast League. Ryan, a Seattle Mariners season-ticket holder, has a passion for baseball and no shortage of zany ideas that he wants to try out. He told the Seattle Times that he’s interested in buying more teams down the road, calling the Pickles “the start of our baseball empire.” — Brady Henderson
Rams offensive guard Rodger Saffold owns a competitive video game organization that competes in tournaments across the world. Saffold’s organization, Rise Nation, boasts a Call of Duty team and Street Fighter player who are among the best in the world. Safford has 10 employees who assist with business operations, scouting players and drawing up contracts, and he has anywhere between 12 and 16 players on his team at a time. “It’s fun,” Safford said. “It’s also very stressful. I mean, it’s a lot of little things that go into it.” Saffold said several of his teammates have inquired about joining the business, but he’s in no rush to expand. — Lindsey Thiry
Buccaneers wide receiver Bernard Reedy, is a driver for Care Ride, a Tampa Bay company that transports people in wheelchairs. According to his supervisor, Vince Cocks, he works one day a week on average, but in March and April, he was working four days a week. It’s all dependent on his practice schedule. His mother also started working for the company this past year, and sometimes they even share a van. “Needless to say, we’re delighted [to have Bernard],” Cocks said. “He adds a unique employment background that our clients really enjoy. We absolutely are behind Bernard in his ‘main job!'” Read more. — Jenna Laine
Saints quarterback Drew Brees is heavily involved in the restaurant business. He’s a franchise owner or business partner of several Jimmy John’s sandwich shops, Walk-On’s sports bars and the Waitr food-delivery app, and he even moonlighted as a Waitr delivery guy for a promotion in May. He’s also getting involved with Surge Trampoline Park among other endeavors this offseason. He also took on his most ambitious project yet last year when he and longtime friend and business partner, Chris Stuart, started Football ‘N’ America — a flag football league that they hope will spread nationwide. The father of four also serves as a coach for multiple teams. — Mike Triplett
Ravens Pro Bowl linebacker Terrell Suggs definitely has some Hollywood in him. Suggs has acted in the HBO Series “Ballers” with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and has a production company named “Team Sizzle Worldwide.” One of his films, “When Beautiful People Do Ugly Things,” was shown at the Cannes Film Festival in 2011. Suggs even has an IMDB page as an actor, producer and writer. — Jamison Hensley
Bengals veteran cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick runs a record label called Supa Team Muzik. Kirkpatrick started the label last year with one artist, J-Ova, whom Kirkpatrick has known since he played football at Alabama, but other rappers have cycled through since then. Kirkpatrick is very passionate about music and has said he would have pursued a career in the music industry if football hadn’t worked out. — Katherine Terrell
Vikings center Ryan Kalil owns a production company in the Los Angeles area called Mortal Media that he launched with NBA star Blake Griffin. Their first project was a sequel to the 1991 Disney movie “The Rocketeer.” They also are working on a remake of the 1992 hit “White Men Can’t Jump.” In 2016 he served as an executive producer along with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson to produce the Sony Pictures film “Son of Shaolin.” He’s pretty good at spontaneous in-house iPhone productions, as well. His spoof of Cam Newton’s birthday video with his offensive linemen — as well as tight end Greg Olsen and linebacker Luke Kuechly — was epic. — David Newton