NFL players share thoughts on guns

A team-by-team sampling of opinions about guns in the NFL.

Arizona Cardinals

S Antrel Rolle: “We’re not like Joe or Sally. We definitely have a big red target on our backs. They know our salaries. You can go on Web sites and find our salaries. I just never go anywhere alone. I just try to be with people who I know are thinking security first.”

WR Anquan Boldin: “I think a lot of guys, because of who we are, some guys may go back home and feel like they need protection, just because of everybody knowing them, knowing who they are, what they have. They may feel like they’re a target there. You don’t want to be restricted in where you can go and things like that.”

Atlanta Falcons

LB Keith Brooking: “It’s eye-opening, there’s no doubt about it. I own a lot of guns, legally, and safety is the No. 1 key. My son is 2½ years old. That’s obviously one of the first things I’ll teach him. It’s very important. It’s something you want to teach at a very early age if he’s going to handle guns like I have my whole life.”

Chicago Bears

LB Brian Urlacher: “I don’t really go anywhere to tell you the truth. I don’t feel like I need someone to go with me anyway when I’m with my family. I don’t really do too much.”

Cincinnati Bengals

Coach Marvin Lewis (Bengals had 10 players arrested between April 2006 and June 2007): “My message is: ‘If you have to go somewhere where you feel you’ve got to carry a handgun, you don’t need to be going to that spot. Let us help you go somewhere else.’ … We had a little, let me say, dip in the thing or a blip on the radar there for a bit, but I just wanted to remind the guys to keep doing things as pros and be smart and understand don’t take your life, your career and other things at risk.”

Cleveland Browns

TE Darnell Dinkins (on the fear of being attacked): “It’s real. People are allowed to carry guys, it’s in the Constitution. So people want to protect themselves. But you’ve got to do it legally.”

Dallas Cowboys

WR Terrell Owens: “I’ve never really had a reason to carry a gun. I don’t feel like my life is threatened, although a lot of people don’t like me. I don’t carry myself like that. I think it’s just an unfortunate situation. I’m sure Plax will have some time to assess the decisions he made.”

Green Bay Packers

DL Kenny Pettway (Does the NFL have a gun problem?): “The whole country has a problem. No education on them, and people can buy them anywhere now, off the street and don’t have to have a license or anything. I think when it’s done the right way, and you know about it, and you register it, then it’s OK. But you get guns in the wrong people’s hands, it’s a problem.”

Houston Texans

Director of Security Ryan Reichert: “We discourage guys from having guns, but if they choose to own guns, handguns, we just make sure they get the proper training, that they’re licensed so they’re carrying it legally. We also have (Houston police) officers come in and talk to the guys about gun safety and just gun awareness. Make sure that they know that most of the time, having a gun in a situation just escalates the situation, where not having a gun might not lead to a drastic outcome.”

Indianapolis Colts

QB Peyton Manning: “I’ve just never been in a circumstance where I’ve felt that (lack of security). It’s never happened to me or my family. But you know people know where you live or where you’re gonna be. If someone wants to get to you, they can. That’s when you start feeling a little scared.”

OL Jeff Saturday: “I think there’s no doubt that athletes are, to some degree, targets. People always say ‘You make that much money or whatever,’ and that’s great. But you are, to some degree, a target.”

Kansas City Chiefs

OL Damion McIntosh (on why NFL players carry guns): “Why not? Everybody else is. It’s all right to have possession to protect ourselves. We’re a high target. We have plenty of people who point us out. They know where we live. They know exactly when we’re gone. They know exactly what our schedule is. They know exactly what we make because it’s printed out every year. We are a target. Our whole business, our personal life and professional life, is always out there in the media. So why not?”

Miami Dolphins

DE Vonnie Holliday: “Unfortunately, the NFL is a microcosm of society, so of course there are going to be some guys out there who are into guns and into the extremes just because it is maybe looked at as being cool. That’s the unfortunate part of it. With maturity that changes, but you’re talking about 20-21-year-old guys who come into this league.”

Minnesota Vikings

WR Bobby Wade (When Wade was 9 years old, his older brother was shot and ended up a paraplegic): “It’s heavy on my heart that he (Burress) has to feel that uncomfortable to carry a weapon with him. But I don’t know the facts of the situation. … Hopefully he’s OK. Hopefully he continues his football career. You hate to see guys end it in such a silly situation.”

New England Patriots

DE Richard Seymour: “He’s an athlete so you always have extra scrutiny. To whom much is given, much is expected, so you have to understand the position you’re in and carry yourself accordingly.”

New York Jets

S Kerry Rhodes: “If I’m going somewhere by myself, if I’m going out or something, I’m going to have security and have somebody with me. I’m not going to do it myself, but to each his own. My situation and that situation (Burress) are different.”

Oakland Raiders

WR Ronald Curry: “You can’t bring a knife to a gun fight, so sometimes you think you have to protect yourself with a gun. Me personally, that’s not something I want to do, but some guys feel that way and not that it’s right or wrong but you’ve got to protect yourself. You should be able to go out and have a good time as well.”

Philadelphia Eagles

QB Donovan McNabb: “I don’t have a gun. Not to say that I will not get one. It would be registered if I did. But I don’t have any comment.”

Pittsburgh Steelers

WR Hines Ward: “Personally if I’ve got to carry a gun, I don’t need to go out to public. It’s probably a place I shouldn’t be at. Playing in Pittsburgh, the way the city and fans are one, I don’t think we have a need for that. Always when you go out, you need to be aware of your surroundings and whatnot. Pittsburgh and New York are two different cities.”

Seattle Seahawks

QB Matt Hasselbeck (Do you go out with a bodyguard?): “No … But I understand where guys are coming from. Like when I’m in public, I won’t go anywhere in public with my kids unless I’ve got an adult for every kid. I can’t keep my eye on them. People will think you’re rude if you’re not making eye contact when you are talking to them, but I just want to know where my 3-year-old is. So I’ll have my brother with me or a nanny. But it’s just the nature of what we do.”

St. Louis Rams

LB Chris Draft (on Plaxico Burress): “I would hope that everybody realizes that’s not everybody. It’s unfortunate that he almost hurt himself. But there’s a lot of guys out there that that doesn’t apply to, and hopefully people just see it as him and not as kind of an indictment of the whole NFL.”

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

LB Derrick Brooks: “We’ve got to continue to educate ourselves. We can’t get bored, saying ‘That’s the same old message.’ Sometimes it may take two or three times for the message to register. That’s just life. We’ve got to keep reinforcing player safety. Choosing the right place to be, the right time of night, etc. We’ve got to realize we are part of society’s rules on top of the NFL’s. That keeps us in the same fish bowl.”

Tennessee Titans

S Chris Hope: “That’s the no-win situation when we get attacked by someone in a club. Do we fight back, standing a chance of getting sued? Do you fight back and stand a chance of somebody looking for you after the club or the next few weeks looking for you? Or do you just take it?”

Washington Redskins

OL Casey Rabach:”Any time that you introduce a gun into any situation, that’s a scary situation, no matter what it is. The scary thing is that a lot of these guys don’t understand or don’t know how to use a gun. It’s new to them. They think, ‘Shoot first, ask questions later.”’

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