One of the most important ingredients to being a great NFL player is preparation.
And I’m not just talking about preparation during game week – though that’s obviously important. I’m talking about what happens during the offseason. The truly great players don’t take much time off during the offseason. And if they do take a vacation, they’re usually still thinking about football and, in some cases, still training.
Here’s who I think are the five most “locked-in” players during the offseason. It’s no coincidence that these are some of the most elite players in the NFL.
5. Tom Brady – QB – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
I’m sure some folks might question Tom Brady being on this list, considering he went back and forth between retirement and returning to the field. But as Brady said recently, when the decision to return was made, it was an all-in decision.
“At this stage, it’s like 55% yes and 45% no,” said Brady following Capital One’s The Match. “It’s not 100-0. That’s just the reality. It’s not that I’m not 100% committed, it’s just as soon as I make the commitment to do it, it’s like, ‘Ugh. All right, here we go. ‘ It’s like running a marathon. You can’t decide two weeks before the marathon, ‘Hey, I’m going to start running.’ ”
I don’t think there’s anyone on the planet more competitive than Brady. It’s all about winning for the GOAT and he’s going to do whatever it takes to go out on top.
4. Patrick Mahomes – QB – Kansas City Chiefs
Patrick Mahomes took a couple of weeks off early in the offseason so he could get married and then it was back to work for the former NFL MVP.
Mahomes has been so locked in during the offseason that he was even keeping up with the Kansas City Chiefs’ personnel moves during his honeymoon.
The entire NFL has a break right now between minicamps and training camp, which begins in late July. Mahomes, however, isn’t taking a break. Instead, he’s getting together some of his teammates in Texas so they can train with each other.
#Chiefs RB Ronald Jones says that Patrick Mahomes & the rest of the offense plan to get back together in Texas again during the break between mandatory minicamp and training camp.
– Charles Goldman (@goldmctNFL) June 15, 2022
3. TJ Watt – Edge – Pittsburgh Steelers
TJ Watt is already one of the best players in the NFL, but that’s not enough for the reigning NFL defensive player of the year.
Watt recently said that he wants to be one of the best to ever play the game. Well, that doesn’t happen without putting in an insane amount of offseason work, which is exactly what Watt does.
Man On A Mission.
– TJ Watt (@_TJWatt) March 31, 2022
We all know by now that Joe Burrow pretty much eats, sleeps, and breathes football. It’s his entire life. He doesn’t really do anything else.
So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Burrow is going to take a trainer with him on vacation between now and training camp, so he doesn’t lose a step.
From The Athletic:
His intensity has ratcheted up. He has started to get “locked in,” as he repeated to us.
“It’s go time,” he said.
Burrow says he’s bringing his personal trainer with him on a few trips he’s taking during the downtime and he’ll be “thinking about football every day.” That might not be his spidey sense tingling, but rather the unique brand of motivation that has fueled his entire career. One doused with a fresh blanket of diesel after losing in Super Bowl.
It’s no wonder that guy makes his teammates so much better.
1. Derrick Henry – RB – Tennessee Titans
This speaks for itself, right? I’m sure you’ve seen the videos of Derrick Henry’s intense off-season workout sessions.
If not, here you go:
Derrick Henry is putting in the work to go from terrifying to completely unstoppable…
– CBS Sports (@CBSSports) July 13, 2020
Henry just loves to work out.
“If I’m sitting around the house, [I’m] doing push-ups, sit-ups, [I’ll] go run with my cousin, ”said Henry this past week.
“I just love working out,” added Henry. “I love being fit, love staying in shape. I love the game. I feel like if I’m sitting around, I’m not getting better. That’s always the mindset I’ve had. ”
I don’t think there’s a player in the NFL who stays more locked in than Henry does on a near hourly basis. It’s truly insane.
.#Titans RB Derrick Henry:
“I get up at 7:30 with my daughter, hangout with her, go workout, come back and eat lunch, and go workout again in the afternoon.”
-104-5 The Zone (@1045TheZone) June 14, 2022
Featured image via George Walker IV / Tennessean.com / USA TODAY NETWORK