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How much of the year do NFL players actually work?

NFL: The Good And The Bad

Darrin Chiaverini (Football Coach and Professional Athlete) gives expert video advice on: How much of the year do NFL players actually work?; Why do NFL players get into trouble?; What are the most common temptations facing an NFL player? and more...

How much of the year do NFL players actually work?

Twelve months out of the year. If you are not playing football, you are training for football. You are getting your body in condition so you can make a team. Or if you are a free agent, you are keeping your body in shape so when a team calls and wants to work you out, you are in shape to play. So it is definitely a twelve month out of the year job. After the season ends in January, players are off for about a month. You have got about a month off. Then you have to report back to your training facility in March for off season conditioning. That consists of four workouts a week where you are lifting, running, running routes. If your outfit is a lineman, you work on stance and starts, all that stuff. And then as you do that for the next four to five months, of all that conditioning, getting your body in shape, you report to training camp around August. Then you have your four pre season games and those four to five weeks you are trying to make a football team. It is very competitive. You have to bring your A game everyday. If you get hurt you are most likely not going to make the team unless you are a big name guy. Then you go through the season which is sixteen weeks long which takes you all the way to the end of the year. So basically eleven out of twelve months you are working football and you are trying to keep your job or get a job.

Why do NFL players get into trouble?

I don't believe NFL football players get in trouble any more than anybody else in society. I just think that once they do get in trouble or if something does happen it's magnified a thousand times over and if someone at their day-to-day job, say they're a mortgage broker and they get a DUI, it's not broadcast on Sports Center saying, John Doe at so-and-so mortgage company got a DUI and now is not able to work. One thing about the NFL is, I know it's a privilege to play in the NFL, but if a guy makes a mistake, like, gets a DUI, he shouldn't be suspended and not able to earn income; if a guy gets in trouble at his job, it's not going to be broadcast across major news organizations and he's not going to be able to get a pay check, so I just think that when you're in the NFL, it definitely is a privilege but I don't think that they get in trouble any more than anybody else in society.

What are the most common temptations facing an NFL player?

The most common temptations are being young and having money. A lot of these kids, and I was the same way, I didn't have a lot of money when I was growing up, and even if you're making the league minimum, you'll still have money to do whatever you want. So if you're not a well-rounded person, and you might be a little immature, especially in the off-season, you have plenty of time and plenty of money to do what you want. So, depending on the person, I think the most common temptations are having time on your hands and having money in your pocket

Does the NFL have 'groupies'?

There's groupies in, I think, all walks of life, not just in the NFL. The NBA has groupies, the American Baseball League has groupies, rock stars have groupies, hip-hop and rap has groupies. It's people that want to be around athletics or want to be around the NFL players because of who they are, not what they are but who they are. That's the groupies; they just want to be associated with someone that's an NFL player. So, yeah there are NFL groupies and you will see them hanging around hotels and see them hanging around the bars but that's up to the player. I've been married since I was in the NFL. It didn't really bother me. People would stay away from me because I was married and even though I was an NFL player and I would go out to the bars or go out to the clubs, they go after the single guys who have money, that's who they're looking for.

Is the NFL a fraternity?

It is a fraternity in a sense that people that you played with in the organization and the NFL, we definitely have that common bond. It's not a fraternity in the sense where like a fraternity party and we are going out, hanging out with each other and hanging out with NFL football players. We are all regular people, we all have regular lives, as far as outside of football and so its a fraternity in a sense that we all have that common bond and are friendly and play together.

Do NFL players perceive themselves as stars?

It just depends on the player. I know when I played in the NFL, I didn't get caught up in all that. I was just who I am. I've always been who I am, so I'm just going to keep making plays and doing the things that I do well and if celebrity or something comes with that, then so be it, but I think some players, they like the idea of being in the NFL whether they're on the practice squad or whether they're on the 45-man active roster. They made it in their eyes, and they're stars, and when they go to their local bars and clubs, they're stars, you know. So I think it depends on the person. If you're a well-rounded, well-grounded person, you'll know why you got there, what got you there, and you're going to keep doing the things that improve your game and make yourself a better player, so it just depends on the person, whether or not they're going to get caught up in all the hype.

What is a greater achievement, getting into the Hall of Fame or winning a Super Bowl?

Super Bowl champion, because that's a team thing. The Hall of Fame is an individual honor, I mean, yeah you've got to be on some good teams, but there's been some players who've been on bad teams and made it to the Hall of Fame. I think the Super Bowl - it shows that you did something special together as a team, 53 people, even though 45 only drive, 53 people sacrifice that 12 months to make something special happen together, and you would always look at that ring and say, yeah, that's a great honor. The Hall of Fame is just a bonus, I mean, if you are lucky enough to get into the Hall of Fame, obviously you had a great career, and you are consistent throughout your whole career, but Super Bowl means that one year, that whole team came together and did something special.