Ray Rice has already secured his legacy in Baltimore by helping the Ravens win the Super Bowl, but his more meaningful impact could be on the lives he changes through his anti-bullying campaign. Rice's words carry significant weight in the community because of his success on the football field, and he doesn't let that potential go to waste.
Sometimes it is difficult to believe that Ravens receiver Torrey Smith is just 24 because he has already experienced a lifetime of tragedy and jubilation. Smith helped raise six younger siblings as his mom went to school during the day and worked at night. But he still became a star at Maryland, earned his college degree and got drafted by Baltimore. He was living his NFL dream when his brother Tevin died in a motorcycle accident early last season. Torrey absorbed that emotional body blow and then achieved the ultimate for a pro football player by winning the Super Bowl. Given his experience, it is easy to see why Smith has a broad perspective of life that extends beyond football.
Earlier this month, Donovan McNabb made headlines for the first time perhaps since he retired (not counting the announcements of his new career in broadcasting) for a tweet about Tony Romo's new contract. "Tony Romo 6 yr 55 million dollar extension," he tweeted. "Wow really, with one playoff win. You got to be kidding me." He had reason to be mad: His own career took much more of a dovetail after similar results. But a quarterback of the same era calling another out?
Meet the new McNabb. This one in broadcaster form. Relaxed, seemingly happy and ready to offer his opinions on everything from rookie draft fashion ("It's getting out of hand now") to his draft dark horse (BYU defensive end Ezekiel Ansah) to of course, his former foe, Romo.
"Hey, I was just being upfront and honest," he said Tuesday of his tweet, while warming up for the Wild Turkey American Honey Celebrity Kickball Game in Times Square. (He later tweeted that his team had defeated the one captained by Ryan Lochte).
"As a former player ... you’re just like 'whoa they've changed (contracts) in that aspect.' A lot of people agree in what I was saying.
"And I get paid for my opinions at this point ... I just spoke my mind that's the most important thing, everyone wants honesty."
With his new position behind the mic -- McNabb appeared on NFL Network last season and just started a new gig as co-host of an NBC Sports Radio show -- he said his biggest challenge is trying to figure out how to say what he wants to say in the right way.
"I don't ever want to come off like as sounding like it's personal," he added.
While McNabb may have had an off-and-on relationship with the media during his playing career, he did go to one of the top broadcasting schools in the country -- Syracuse -- and often contacts a professor there for advice. He said he also may go back for classes one day to increase in broadcasting knowledge and points out as a member of the Board of Trustees there, he goes back once a year.
As for his advice for his former coach, Andy Reid, who recently took a new job in Kansas City? McNabb said he would advise him to "just do what you do and lead the team like you led us," he said.
Oh and of course: "Stay away from the barbeque," he joked.
"No seriously. Put the fork down."Full Story >>
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar won six NBA titles and six MVP awards, but his exploits away from basketball are just as remarkable. Consider: He trained in kung fu under Bruce Lee and starred with him in Game of Death. He has authored several books including What Color Is My World? The Lost History of African-American Inventors. And his scene in Airplane! was a classic. In this exclusive interview, Abdul-Jabbar explains how he aspires to be a Renaissance Man.Full Story >>
The revelation usually generates a double take. The Rony Seikaly that used to play in the NBA? Yes, the one and the same. After 12 seasons of going head to head against the likes of Shaquille O'Neal and Patrick Ewing, Rony Seikaly has a thriving second career ... as a house DJ. In fact, he is one of the DJs in greatest demand around the world. This is a seemingly odd twist for someone who was an All-American at Syracuse and a veteran of four NBA teams, but Seikaly has had a lifetime love of music. Now he has the time to create some of his own while also pumping it out at the hottests clubs in Miami and elsewhere.
Mike Piazza may not live in New York anymore, but he has not lost his flair for theatrics.
As reported by the Associated Press, the former All-Star catcher will be appearing in a Miami City Ballet performance of "Slaughter on Tenth Avenue."
Piazza, who will be dressed as a 1920s-era gangster, will deliver a few lines and then watch the performance from a seat onstage. Unfortunately, it does not sound like Piazza will be doing any dancing.
The former Dodgers, Mets and Marlins star told the Associated Press that his cameo is actually a gift to his 6-year-old daughter, who is taking classes at the Miami City Ballet School.
This is perhaps the second most impressive performance with which Piazza has been associated in recent years. Last March, Piazza's illustrious Major League career was the subject of an opera in New York.Full Story >>
Producers and directors looking for the next leading man might want to shift their focus from Hollywood to the gridiron.
That's because the NFL just wrapped up its second annual Pro Hollywood Boot Camp, a training seminar of sorts that prepares current and former football players for life after the NFL. The program is set up through a partnership between NFL Player Engagement (NFLPE) and Film Life, Inc.
This year, 22 men showed up to the Universal Studios lot in Los Angeles to learn the ins and outs of Hollywood. They took classes in everything from screenwriting to acting, and they even got to work on a few short movies.
"The content was very rich and resonated with everyone." New England Patriots punter Zoltan Mesko told the NFLPE's website. "Additionally, it has been inspiring just to be out here at Universal Studios watching the magic that is created with the camera, in production, editing, and working as a team."
Watch out, Tom Cruise, these guys are coming for your job.
For more photos of the football players in action, see here.Full Story >>
UCLA students are accustomed to seeing future professional athletes in class and around campus. But current pros? They are far more rare.
So you can imagine students' surprise when they saw Maurice Jones-Drew roll up to one of their classes.
The Jacksonville Jaguars running back, who played at UCLA for three years before going on to star in the NFL, was back on campus to carry out a promise he made to his grandmother -- that he would earn his college degree. It doesn't hurt that the NFL sponsors a back-to-school program, so the league and the Jaguars are paying for all of Jones-Drew's education (not that he couldn't afford it, seeing as he's made $30 million over the past four years).
Jones-Drew decided that this offseason was the perfect opportunity to take care of some of his final requirements. He is recovering from surgery to repair a Lisfranc fracture in his left foot, so in addition to studying he was receiving treatment from UCLA's medical staff.
And even though he's only 28, Jones-Drew said going back to school made him feel much older.
"So much has changed," he told Sports Illustrated. "When I first came back everyone was taking notes on laptops and iPads. They're like, 'I can type faster than I can write.' What? I was the only one in my class to pull out a pencil and notebook. I mean, I'm about to turn 28, but I felt like a dinosaur. I was so behind the times, and everybody was so young. They just looked young."
To complete his college experience, Jones-Drew lived in a freshman dormitory. He got along well with his suite mates, and he even knew all their names. If being a Pro Bowl running back didn't already make him the coolest guy on his floor, it probably didn't hurt that he had a 46-inch Plasma TV in his room.
Jones-Drew returned to Florida after finishing this term's classes, which he said were nearly too difficult to complete.
"I almost just stopped coming," he told Sports Illustrated. "It was too hard. I thought they were going to ease me back in, but they didn't. It was crazy. But it would have been too easy to say 'to hell with this' and go on about your day. I'm glad I stuck it out."Full Story >>
Torrey Smith has gone from catching touchdowns to pushing papers, all in the span of a few weeks.
But don't worry, Baltimore fans. Smith isn't preparing to jettison the Ravens, with whom he won the Super Bowl last month.
No, Smith is simply interning for U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings in his Baltimore office. Smith has been working in Cummings' office for the month of March, and his tasks are anything but glamorous.
"I was handling files, reading letters, relaying them, typing up what sponsors say, printing stuff," Smith told the Ravens' website. "I was the office guy."
Not long after he helped the Ravens win the second Super Bowl in franchise history, Smith asked Baltimore Director of Player Development Harry Swayne to connect him with a month-long internship. Swayne hooked Smith up with Cummings' office, and Smith says he's had a great experience.
"I learned that there are really politicians that do a lot for their community – [Cummings] being one of them,” Smith said. "You can literally call your congressman and any issue you have, they can basically point you in the right direction if they can’t help you. I never really knew that."
It's unclear how much Smith makes. If he's getting paid at all, it's probably nowhere near the $530,000 that the Ravens paid him in 2012. But Smith says income isn't the point. He knew the offseason would be slow, so he wanted to find something productive to fill his time, and this seems like the perfect opportunity.
Smith isn't the only NFLer who has actually gone back to work during the offseason. Miami Dolphins wide receiver Brian Hartline is putting in hours at a drive-thru convenience store while St. Louis Rams running back Terrance Ganaway is a sandwich artist at Jimmy John's.Full Story >>
Coming off the best season of his career and a brand new $31 million contract, how does Miami Dolphins wide receiver Brian Hartline spend the offseason?
Freezing his butt off while working at a convenience store drive-thru in his native Ohio.
And this isn't just a publicity stunt. During an appearance on the Dan LeBatard Show, Hartline was actually working at the Smart Stop convenience store that he and his friend purchased in January. It was snowing in Ohio, but that didn't deter Hartline.
"I'm dead serious," Hartline told LeBatard when asked if he was joking.
So just a few months after a season in which he caught 74 passes and broke the 1,000-yard receiving mark, Hartline is back at work. LeBatard couldn't believe it.
"[It's] the American Dream," Hartline said. "Owning your own business."
Of course, Hartline isn't the only NFLer to take up a second job this offseason. St. Louis Rams running back Terrance Ganaway has been working at Jimmy Johns, and free agent linebacker Justin Durant apparently filled out an application at Chick-Fil-A.Full Story >>