From Gridiron to Microphone: NFL Players Finding Their Rhythmic Voice

Football and hip-hop have enjoyed a symbiotic relationship for years. The hard-hitting beats and competitive lyrics of rap music fuel intense practices and game-day hype. Meanwhile, the fame and backstories of NFL stars inspire lyrical content. This connection has motivated several pro football players to explore their musical talents, stepping into the recording booth to spit fiery bars. While their gridiron abilities still take precedence, their rhyming skills have earned admiration in America’s hottest music genre.

One of the early trendsetters in this arena was Bernard Pollard. The hard-hitting safety played for four NFL teams over 8 seasons, delivering bone-jarring hits. But Pollard also expressed an alter ego known as Bonecrusher, releasing a mixtape under that moniker during his career. The project showed impressive production quality and flow, earning respect across hip-hop circles.

Since hanging up the cleats, Pollard has focused more on Bonecrusher by recording songs and shooting videos. He maintains football ties by getting cameo appearances from former teammates and using game footage in his clips. But he makes it clear that music is no mere hobby, stating “Football is just what I do, Bonecrusher is who I am.” Retirement has enabled Pollard to devote more energy to his passion.

Another defensive player who has garnered fame for his verses is Myles Garrett of the Cleveland Browns. His towering presence and dynamic athleticism strike fear into opposing quarterbacks. Yet the defensive end also unleashes verbal assaults through quick-witted punchlines as a part-time rapper. He began circulating remixes and freestyles across social media during college. In the NFL, Garrett has collaborated on tracks with artists like Wale and Quavo while continuing to release songs.

Dropping tracks helps Garrett find balance in the violence of football. As he explains, “It’s a getaway at times when you need to get away from the physical nature of the game.” The act of creating music allows him to tap into a deeper sensitivity. Behind the menacing sack specialist lies an introspective soul searching for self-expression. Through poignant lyrics, Garrett aims to change perceptions and address issues around mental health, social justice, and overcoming adversity.

Garrett incorporates many current teammates into his music realm by featuring their guest verses on songs. In this way, his beats become a conduit for players to bond and unite during stressful seasons. Music provides therapeutic relief from the competitiveness permeating every locker room. Team affiliations get replaced by shared passions which strengthen relationships.

Composing original tracks has also become an outlet for Carolina Panthers alumni like Jonathan Stewart, DeAngelo Williams, and even former quarterback Cam Newton. The versatile Newton played his best years in Carolina, dazzling fans with flashy moves from 2011-2019. In addition to highlight-reel rushes and throws, Newton also entertained by rapping in commercials. His charismatic blend of magnetism, humor, and talent established the foundation for dabbling in hip-hop during an injury-hampered two-year stint in New England before returning to Charlotte. Back in Carolina, Newton partnered with a popular sportsbook to promote special North Carolina betting promos to fans during the 2022 NFL season.

When healthy, “Superman” Cam Newton remains one of the most dominant dual-threat QBs in league history. His size, running, and pocket power expanded notions of what’s possible at football’s most important position. Yet repeated injuries have hindered consistency, making his NFL future murky. Therefore, developing music and media content helps Newton progress toward what’s next in his career. An upcoming Showtime docuseries will detail those transitional pursuits.

The allure of fame inspires countless pros to shift into entertainment realms like sports broadcasting or acting. But for some NFL personalities, music provides the most meaningful creative and signifies emotional catharsis over chasing acclaim. Dreams realized through one talent platform can blossom into supplementary forms of greatness