With the 2022 NFL season just about to kick off — and sports betting fans already scoping out their NFL picks for the upcoming season — professional football players across the country are beginning to wind down after a much-needed off-season. Putting aside our sports betting predictions about who will win the Super Bowl this season for one minute, training isn’t the only thing NFL stars get up to in the offseason.
Perhaps unsurprisingly given the vast salaries they command, many NFL players are known for indulging themselves in their downtime off the field. Interestingly, however, it isn’t just luxury cars, shopping, and indulgent vacations they lavish upon themselves. In addition to the typical pastimes we might expect them to indulge in, many NFL stars also take part in a wide range of other not-so-typical hobbies.
Here is a quick rundown of some of the most interesting hobbies the most famous people in the NFL indulge in when they aren’t putting on a show for millions of fans!
Jimmy Graham – Amateur stunt pilot
As a tight end who has had a successful career playing for the New Orleans Saints, the Seattle Seahawks, the Green Bay Packers, and, most recently, the Chicago Bears, Jimmy Graham is one of the NFL’s brightest athletic talents.
When he isn’t wowing fans with his athletic prowess, Graham spends his downtime practicing his stunt pilot skills.
There are numerous videos online in which Graham shows off his aerobatic skills. Let us assure you, this hobby is certainly not for the faint of heart!
In addition to flying, Graham is also co-chairman of the Experimental Aircraft Association Young Eagles Program. This program is designed to introduce young children and teenagers to aviation.
Larry Fitzgerald – Photographer
Larry Fitzgerald had a long-running career as an NFL star. After being called up by the Cardinals in the 2004 NFL draft as a third overall pick, Fitzgerald went on to play a whopping 17 seasons in Arizona.
During this time, Fitzgerald was one of the Cardinal’s most reliable players and was widely considered to be one of the greatest receivers in NFL history.
Off the field, Fitzgerald was also known as a prolific photographer and had a hectic travelling schedule during his off-season to fuel his passion. Fitzgerald would regularly fit in up to 10 countries in one trip in an effort to snap as many new sights as possible.
Andrew Luck – Bibliophile
When he wasn’t securing touchdowns and setting up plays for the Indianapolis Colts, Andrew Austen Luck earned himself a reputation as the NFL’s unofficial librarian.
Academics were clearly always a strength of Luck’s. After a successful college career playing for Stanford, reading became a much-needed intellectual pursuit off the field.
Some of Luck’s favorite works included the classic ‘Papillon’ by Henri Charrière, as well as Bernard Cornwell’s much-loved historical fiction. Luck also took it upon himself to suggest books to his fellow Colts’ players to read.
The next iteration of this passion is Andrew Luck’s book club, which the former NFL star runs through social media.
Laurent Duvernay-Tardif – Medicine
Although he might not be quite as well-known as some of the other players on this list, Duvernay-Tardif is nevertheless worth including for how he spends his downtime!
Before he turned pro, Duvernay-Tardif had a successful career at McGill University in Canada where he was attending medical school. As a draftee for the Kansas City Chiefs in the 2014 NFL draft, Duvernay-Tardif earned the unique honor of being only the fourth medical school graduate to play in the NFL.
Not one to put aside his passion for medicine while he pursued his professional playing career, Duvernay-Tardif would later go on to enroll at Harvard University to pursue a Master of Public Health degree. As further evidence of his commitment, the Canadian NFL star would even pause his career completely during the Covid-19 pandemic to work in a care facility in Canada.
Since then, Duvernay-Tardif has returned to professional football in 2021, where he was traded to the New York Jets. Most recently, Duvernay-Tardif has once again decided to pause his playing career in order to undertake his medical residency period in Canada.
Aaron Donald – Table tennis
When he isn’t playing for the Los Angeles Rams, the muscle-bound defensive tackle Aaron Donald can be found indulging in a hobby that requires significantly more finesse: table tennis.
Aaron Donald was drafted by the Los Angeles Rams in 2014 following a successful career playing for the Pittsburgh Panthers. Since then, Donald has earned multiple sporting honors including All-American honors, three defensive player of the year awards, Pro Bowl selections in eight of his seasons, seven first-team All Pro Honors and a victory at Super Bowl LVI.
When he isn’t practicing or playing before millions of fans, however, Donald is also a fearsome table tennis talent. A recent video released by the NFL media team reveals Donald as a long-standing ping pong fan who has been honing his skills for years!