NFL coaches are really nervous right now.
Offseason team workouts ended, and players enjoy about a month off until training camps start. Coaches pray none of their players get in trouble between now and late July.
As the proverb informs, “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop.”
And historically, bad things have happened during this gap.
On June 26, 2013, New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez was arrested and taken into custody in Massachusetts in connection with the murder of Odin Lloyd earlier that month.
On July 4, 2015, New York Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul blew off his right index finger in a fireworks accident. On the same day, Atlanta Falcons cornerback C.J. Wilson blew off two fingers, also in a fireworks accident, ending his career. On that day as well, Green Bay Packers tight end Andrew Quarless was arrested and charged with discharging a firearm at a Miami Beach parking garage. According to a parking attendant, he fired the gun after being rejected by a woman in another car, who felt it was “an attempt to emphasize his dominance and manhood.” Police caught him trying to hide the gun in bushes near the garage. He’s currently an unsigned free agent, and this incident probably stands as part of the reason.
On July 20, 2014, police arrested St. Louis Rams linebacker Jo-Lonn Dunbar outside of Dream Nightclub in South Beach on charges of battery and disorderly conduct after an altercation. He is currently a free agent.
You get the idea. This month off leads to sleepless nights for NFL coaches.
With the Pierre-Paul incident in mind, several Giants veterans met with younger teammates to emphasize the importance of staying out of trouble during their free time.
“[We] reminded them that they’ve worked their entire life to get to this position and find themselves in one of these buildings, and how it could be taken away so quick,” Giants running back Rashad Jennings said after the team’s final practice of the off-season. “You know, take advantage of it. It goes a long way when you hear it from players more so than coaches, so we have some veteran leadership that [took] the time to make sure we’re preaching it in the locker room ourselves.”
Jets coach Todd Bowles told his team before they left, “Don’t be that guy.”
Because if you are “that guy,” you might end your NFL career.