This morning Bengals wide receiver Chad Ochocino started a four-day trial for MLS team Sporting Kansas City. The outspoken NFL star participated in drills, worked on individual skills with the team's assistant coach and even played in an 11-on-11 scrimmage. Like Ochocinco, hundreds of NFL players are looking for ways to earn some dough and keep busy while they wait to see if the 2011-12 season will happen.
A few guys, such as Hines Ward, who's doing "Dancing With The Stars," and the Cowboys' Troy Bergeron, who has signed with an AFL team, already have found new gigs. Others, such as Steelers back-up QB Charlie Batch (who's in danger of losing his Super Bowl rings to bankruptcy), clearly need to find a paycheck -- and fast.
I thought I'd channel my old high school advisor, Ms. Berkshire, and dole out some career advice to a few of the league's most employable locked-out employees:
Jeremy Shockey: With his long hair, bulging muscles and garish tattoos, Shockey is a shoo-in for the WWE. While the folks at the local insurance agency might not like to see the inky gaze of a bald eagle peeking out from beneath a Dwight Schrute-esque short-sleeved button down, the tight end's tattoo is perfect for the wrestling ring. And though he's not got the right "look" for the job, Aaron Rodgers' penchant for championship wrestling belts might earn him a few guest appearances in the ring, as well.
Chris Johnson: The fastest man on turf also has the shiniest mouth in sports -- a whole row of golden teeth. A grill enthusiast like that is clearly destined for a career in dentistry. Just imagine one of the league's best players helping you get your own set of sparkly chompers.
Ricky Williams: The Heisman-winning running back has been in and out of football for years, so he already has a solid grasp of the "real" working world. While his past pursuits have included teaching yoga and working as a homeopathic healer, I think his real calling is to lead the charge for the legalization of marijuana. After violating the league's substance abuse policy countless times and paying thousands of dollars in fines, Williams has proven his undying love for the grass -- and what more can you ask from your leader than that kind of passion and dedication?
Tim Tebow: I don't know if the boy can sing, but he's got the rakish good looks, the Southern roots and the good God-fearing soul to write one heck of a country song. If he can't find enough time to write a whole album of originals (what with his year-round baby-signing tour always the top priority), I'm sure fellow football enthusiast and country singer Kenny Chesney would be willing to lend a hand.
Matt Leinart: Since leaving the sun-soaked campus of USC, the Cardinals QB has struggled to prove himself in the NFL, getting more pub for hitting hot tubs than hot routes. WIth a face like his and a liver that seemingly knows no bounds, Leinart is the perfect guy for the next season of MTV's Real World. (Season 184, I believe.)
Ryan Fitzpatrick: The Harvard grad can help aspiring workers of all kinds by opening up a Wonderlic Test prep facility. Conflicting reports have the Bills QB scoring anywhere from a 48 out of 50 to a perfect score on the intelligence test, which is used by many companies during the hiring process.
Reggie Bush and Austin Miles: The two NFL standouts have both dated reality star Kim Kardashian. The Kardashian family grossed more than $65 million in 2010, proof that everyone wants a piece of the K's. With their inside info, Bush and Miles can co-author a book on the secrets of the Kardashian household, what it's like to date a reality star and, once and for all, whether that bootie is for real. Heck, if Snooki can "write" a best-seller, these guys can, too.
Antonio Cromartie: When athletes and coaches retire, they often say they're leaving the game they love to spend more time with their families. The free time provided by the lockout is a great opportunity for Cromartie to spend time with all 37 (OK, nine) of his kids. As any mom can tell you, just a couple youngsters running around is a lot of work, so taking care of his healthy brood almost counts as day care for the Jets cornerback. Why not open up the house to other neighborhood children and make a real business out of it? Cro's Kids has a nice ring to it.
I'm sure there are a lot of other NFL stars with promising futures in careers that don't involve a field or a ball -- which player do you have a job for? Let me know in the comments.