For every NFL team and every fan, there is that guy we wish had never been drafted or never been signed. He’s the guy who made one or two great plays but made the big mistakes when clutch time rolled around.
Or the guy who was supposed to be the great fix but ending up making things worse.
Or it could just be the guy who was so annoying that it was wonderful when he finally disappeared.
Here’s a look at 10 players we’d like to never see again.
Chad Ochocinco, WR
1 OF 10
There was a time when Chad Ochocinco’s antics were cute and fun. I used to enjoy his touchdown celebrations simply because he truly seemed to be enjoying football.
But then it got to be a little too much. He changed his last name, drank a little too much of the Terrell Owens Kool-Aid and became a huge distraction.
Ocho made the Bengals hard to watch the last couple of years because he became very good at talking a good game and then completely disappearing when Carson Palmer needed him most. It was amazing at times that the Bengals were competitive, which is a testament to Marvin Lewis.
From the outlandish attitude to the ridiculous antics on and off the field, I think every Bengals fan was a little relieved when Ochocinco packed his bags for New England.
Terrell Owens, WR
2 OF 10
There was a time when Terrell Owens was an insecure young receiver who dropped a lot of passes. He was mentored by Jerry Rice and then suddenly made one of the biggest catches ever in the playoffs.
Then he became a huge showman.
Like Ochocinco, Owens was noted for his many wild touchdown celebrations. But unlike Ochocinco, they were always hard to watch and never really seemed as funny.
Then Owens became something of the Barry Bonds of football: a larger-than-life athlete who could perform regularly and be hated by everyone for it.
That happened when he basically quit on the Philadelphia Eagles and then staged a very public and very bizarre workout in his front yard for reporters. He spent way too much time with Drew Rosenhaus, agent and jerk extraordinaire.
Now, he’s without work. The NFL has tired of Owens’ antics, and it seems likely that the guy once called “Terrible” Owens will finally be on the shelf for good.
Randy Moss, WR
3 OF 10
Randy Moss was Owens with an even worse attitude from the beginning.
Moss didn’t want to learn from Cris Carter.
He didn’t want to do anything but be the star receiver.
Fair enough, but Moss had a habit of taking plays off and playing without any regard for his team.
He also liked to mock fans on the road, once pretending to moon the crowd at a game after scoring a touchdown.
Then he went to the New England Patriots, and it seemed like Moss was a new man. Tom Brady and Bill Belichick made him a star again, and suddenly Moss was a popular guy on a star team.
He couldn’t sustain it, however. The Patriots tired of his attitude too and shipped him off again. He bounced around, but he proved that Brady was behind his success and that he was washed-up.
After a very forgettable stint in Tennessee, it seems as though the NFL will finally move on without the bad attitude, poor game preparation and lousy effort of Randy Moss.
Albert Haynesworth, DT
4 OF 10
The other day, I was looking at highlights from the 2002 season. I saw a lot of things I’d forgotten about.
One of them was Albert Haynesworth being a productive member of the Tennessee Titans defense.
Things have changed since 2002.
Haynesworth was a big free agent (literally and in terms of interest) a few years ago, but there were a lot of people cautioning against giving him big money. He had a questionable work ethic and attitude.
The Washington Redskins didn’t listen, and like they did with so many other free agents in their history under Daniel Snyder, they threw a ton of money Haynesworth’s way and anointed him their new defensive piece.
Haynesworth was slow, overweight and had a terrible attitude. He seemed to believe that the contract contained some clause about playing whatever position he wanted whenever he decided he wanted to do it. He complained about the defensive changes when Mike Shanahan arrived.
Shanahan tired of Haynesworth almost before the ink was dry on his coaching contract. Haynesworth languished before heading to New England in a bizarre trade, and the Patriots couldn’t even work their magic on him.
Now he’s still playing—and still playing badly—in Tampa Bay. He’s becoming a dirty player too.
Hopefully this year is the end of the line for Haynesworth.
Tarvaris Jackson, QB
5 OF 10
Tarvaris Jackson isn’t a bad guy. In fact, he seems like one of the nicer and more upstanding guys in the NFL.
He’s just an awful quarterback, and he can’t stay healthy.
When he is healthy, Jackson is better off holding the clipboard with his hat on backwards than he is with his helmet strapped on while he’s standing under center.
Seattle threw money his way this past offseason. It seemed odd at the time.
The Seahawks already had a mediocre quarterback in Charlie Whitehurst—why get another one?
But Pete Carroll saw something in Jackson no one else did.
Now, I’m not sure he wasn’t fooled.
Jackson won’t get another starting crack in the NFL. He just doesn’t have the talent, and he seems like one of those guys who will be forgotten pretty quickly once his career ends.
That’s a shame for a nice guy like Jackson, but in the NFL, nice guys really do finish last.
Jeremy Shockey, TE
6 OF 10
I never really had anything bad to say about Jeremy Shockey when he was in New York. He was a high-effort guy on an offense with a young quarterback living through growing pains.
But he went to New Orleans and then became the forgotten guy on a big-play offense that scored a ton of points. If you want to know how bad Shockey was, just look at how surprised everyone is that Jimmy Graham has been a high-impact tight end this year.
Shockey was awful. It magnified something that had kind of gone unnoticed before.
The guy has a terrible attitude and a habit for talking way too much trash.
That, combined with Shockey’s lack of production before heading to Carolina, made him a locker room cancer and a guy fans just didn’t have any love for anymore.
He might be back on track, but I doubt there are a lot of people who really would want to see Shockey on their sideline.
Michael Vick, QB
7 OF 10
I don’t have anything against Michael Vick for the dogfighting. He was railroaded in some ways by the court system because they wanted to make an example of him. I thought he handled those things very well.
What Vick hasn’t handled well is the starting job in Philadelphia now that Kevin Kolb is gone.
His ego is back, but he still doesn’t have the passing accuracy to back it up.
Then he complained to the press about being targeted by the referees. He wasn’t really targeted, and he wasn’t really alone even if he had been. Guys with his skill set don’t get the calls pocket passers tend to—that’s just the way the game is built.
Vick seems to be a me-first player, and I wonder how long his attitude will play in a city like Philadelphia that has zero tolerance for failure and even less tolerance for ignorant attitudes.
Adam “Pacman” Jones, CB
8 OF 10
Pacman Jones was a decent corner and a good return man when he entered the league, but his career was derailed by legal problems.
Then he came back and was promptly in trouble again.
This time Roger Goodell, no lover of problem players, suspended Jones for a full season.
The Titans had given up on him. He failed at other stops, and now he’s with the Bengals trying to revive his career.
Jones is one mistake away from being kicked out of football for good. Goodell made that clear before.
At this point, however, he’s become injury-prone and has basically lost his effectiveness. His attitude seems to have improved, but the fire might have gone out.
Still, with Jones being only one night club away from being sent home for good, he won’t be missed when his career ends. A lot of people may have already forgotten that he’s still an active NFL player.
That’s never a good sign.
Stevie Johnson, WR
9 OF 10
Maybe I’m jumping the gun.
Stevie Johnson is a fourth-year guy and second-year starter. He’s got a lot of talent too.
But he does have quite the attitude—it seems to be common among wide receivers.
I remember last year Johnson dropped a touchdown pass literally right in front of me that would have beaten the Pittsburgh Steelers in overtime. After the game, he blamed God on Twitter.
Okay, one little mistake. Maybe. Still, that’s a bit much, even for some of the other receivers on this list. Twitter has been a hotbed for controversy too (see Mendenhall, Rashard), which doesn’t help Johnson.
Then, Johnson came in last week and made a big catch. He celebrated by mimicking Plaxico Burressshooting himself in the leg and virtually any other celebration used by a Jets receiver after a touchdown.
Creative, but rude. When the flag came out, he even managed to hurt his team.
The Jets scored quickly thanks to improved field position on the kickoff, and then Johnson dropped a big catch that could have helped Buffalo win the game. The loss basically knocked the Bills from the contender ranks.
That certainly makes Johnson a disliked man in Buffalo and throughout the NFL. He’s wearing out his welcome fast.
Brett Favre, QB
10 OF 10
Wow, how the mighty have fallen.
There was a time when Brett Favre was the most-wanted, most-loved quarterback in the NFL by his team and his fans. He was the gunslinger, the NFL’s good guy.
Then he tried to retire and just couldn’t quite pull the trigger on his career.
He retired but then came back and demanded a trade.
Favre was sent to another team in another conference. He played a year and retired again. The Jets released him thinking he was really done.
Then he came back again. He was great in Minnesota—and then he wasn’t.
When the train finally stopped, Favre had become the ultimate joke. He spawned a Super Bowl commercial where he was playing in 2020 and talking about retiring again. He became the punch line for countless jokes.
Oh yeah, and he had his own off-field incidents. All in all, his career went from the pinnacle of football to sad joke and sideshow in just a few short years. That is a cautionary tale about hanging around too long and really wearing out your welcome.