Former Denver Broncos starting quarterback Teddy Bridgewater voiced his frustrations about how NFL players portray themselves, calling them out on Instagram.
“Tired of seeing football players portray this tough guy image or pretend he’s a gangsta,” Bridgewater wrote on July 19. “You went to school, attended those classes and some even got their college degree. Now you might have 1.5% of professional football players that’s on, but the remaining 98.5% are only ‘football tough.’”
Bridgewater, 29, appeared to be chiding players who adopt a “gangsta” image only after they start earning NFL-level money.
“So, don’t wait till you inherit this legal money from the league to decide you want to be tough or portray a ‘street image’ cause it’s kids that’s looking up to everything we do,” wrote Bridgewater, who now plays for the Miami Dolphins. “Plus it’s someone sitting in a cell or posted in the hood who might’ve been just as hood as you that would advise you otherwise.”
He concluded by directing his message toward young people.
“Kids don’t be fooled,” Bridgewater wrote. “You can play ball, do the right thing and they still gonna accept you. Look at me, I’m far from perfect but I chose the ball route but I still can go to the hood and post up and it’s all love. I still keep the same 3 dudes around me. My people accept me for making all the right decisions and not falling victim or being tricked by the false image you see on IG from a lot of ball players.”
James, NFL Players React
Bridgewater’s Instagram post also caught the attention of Los Angeles Lakers star Lebron James, who seemed to agree with Bridgewater.
“T. Bridgewater! All FACTS,” James tweeted, sharing Bridgewater’s post on July 20.
NFL stars such as Dalvin Cook, Stefon Diggs, DeAndre Hopkins and Micah Parsons appeared to affirm Bridgewater in their comments on the post.
Parsons, a Dallas Cowboys linebacker, wrote, “That’s real.”
Bridgewater Has Faced Obstacles
Bridgewater has dealt with adversity during his NFL career. After getting selected to the 2015 Pro Bowl as a Viking in his second season, Bridgewater missed the entire 2016 season with ACL injury. Other structural damage, including a dislocation of the knee joint, forced him to play just one game in the 2017 season.
He returned as a backup with the New Orleans Saints in 2018 and 2019, and then as a starter for the Carolina Panthers and Broncos in 2020 and 2021.
Last season, Denver went 7-7 with Bridgewater at the helm before a concussion knocked him out for the final three games of the season. Pro Football Focus ranked him 20th among 37 qualifying QBs with a 73.5 offensive grade.
Denver moved on by trading for Pro Bowl quarterback Russell Wilson in March, while Bridgewater agreed to a one-year deal worth up to $10 million with the Dolphins. He is slated to be the backup to 2020 first-round pick Tua Tagovailoa in Miami.