Managing your professional life next to the life you come home to is hard. The two can differ so drastically—at work, you’re within an environment where you’re expected to bring a forward-thinking attitude while turning in strong performances. At home, what you are also depends on your environment, but with specific caveats and situations that can bleed over into disrupting the happy face you put on at the office.
For NFL players, their office is the field, and the field comes with the same set of rules: Show up, work hard, work even harder if you want to be a champion, and keep your personal life to yourself. Although they’re paid handsomely, that doesn’t mean that they’re not human too—athletes aren’t immune from facing life’s toughest challenges at any stage of their career. What happens off the field can stunt your progress on it.
Whether they faced trying circumstances during their NFL or Pop Warner days, certain NFL players have found an extra gear to persevere. Legendary Packers quarterback Brett Favre’s father died the day before he was supposed to play on Monday Night Football. Former Patriots linebacker Teddy Bruschi rehabbed after a stroke to win Comeback Player of the Year. Quarterback Drew Brees signed with the Saints right after Hurricane Katrina brought New Orleans to its knees. Favre, Bruschi, and Brees each faced totally different battles, but were all able to emerge from the fray as stars. These are 10 NFL Players Who Overcame Adversity off the Field and Shined on it.