Ex-Jets QB Sounds Off on NFL Athletes; LeBron James Responds

Teddy Bridgewater

Getty Former New York Jets quarterback Teddy Bridgewater on August 10, 2018.

Former New York Jets quarterback Teddy Bridgewater was never the loudest person in the room throughout his football career, which is why he surprised everyone when he went off on NFL athletes and how they portray themselves as role models in an Instagram post on July 19.

“Tired of seeing football players portray this tough guy image or pretend he’s a gangsta,” Bridgewater voiced to followers. “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’s public vent session continued and ended up going viral on Instagram with over 54,000 likes. So much so that it even drew the attention of NBA star LeBron James among others.

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Bridgewater Earns James’ Respect

The full thought from Bridgewater, following the paragraph above, read as follows:

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. 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. Kids don’t be fooled. 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 [Instagram] from a lot of ball players. Choose your path. Can’t do both though.

James was one of the first superstars around the sports community to applaud Bridgewater for his powerful honesty and truth — at least in his opinion.

“T. Bridgewater! All FACTS,” James tweeted out with a screenshot of the words, plus both a salute and facts emoji.

The critical thought-provoking message had positive intentions, without a doubt. Be your own person, it’s okay to make it in this world behind an education or a skill, and most of all, don’t be afraid to be proud of who you are.

We can all learn a thing or two from Bridgewater as a leader.

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NFL Community Reacts

Many around the football community took notice of Bridgewater’s call to action as well. Some of those that agreed with him were running back Dalvin Cook, wide receivers Stefon Diggs and DeAndre Hopkins, cornerback Darius Slay, linebacker Micah Parsons and OT teammate Terron Armstead, who commented: “Real Rap!!”

2021 Jets captain Justin Hardee also responded: “Amen! Stay you.”

As a role model, Bridgewater has often practiced what he’s preaching, giving back to the community in various charitable pursuits. This sudden outburst shows his willingness and need to do more.

By speaking out, Bridgewater hopes to help others in more ways than one. If his words can act as a domino effect around the athletic community, kids all over our nation should benefit. Now that’s true influence.

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Jets Should Have Kept Teddy Around

Bridgewater was not a Jet for long, as the franchise ended up rolling with Sam Darnold over the signing to start the 2018 season after a summer competition. In hindsight, Gang Green might have been better off keeping the veteran around to mentor their first-round pick and give him time to develop.

The end result would have been the same as Darnold was drafted to start, not sit, but Bridgewater’s experience and poise might have helped the USC product. Sure, the Jets had Josh McCown on the roster at the time but trading the class-act for a sixth-round selection seems wasteful in hindsight.

After his summer with the Jets, Bridgewater went 16-19 as a starting quarterback with the New Orleans Saints, Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos. Ironically, Darnold ended up replacing him a second time in Carolina.

Now Bridgewater has returned to the AFC East, and is projected to backup Miami Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa to start the 2022 campaign.


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