By Rachel Terrill, NFL Player Engagement Insider
When the game is over and their helmets come off, many NFL players embrace an even more important position than what they played on the field – they embrace fatherhood. In Tony Dungy’s book, Uncommon, he encourages men to, ”Be there for your children! Too many young men and boys are growing up without a male role model in the house to show them what it means to be a man.”
When my husband’s NFL career was over, he turned his undivided attention to our family. To me, Craig embraces Dungy’s idea of being there for our children. We have three young daughters who adore their Daddy. He finds joy in their laughter and offers them comfort when they are sad. When our girls are princesses, Craig is their knight in shining armor. When they are brave warriors, Craig is the big bad monster they are slaying. When they are proper ladies sipping tea, he sits beside them with a tiny teacup in his hand. Craig reads to them, and sings to them, and makes their meals in between.
But Craig isn’t the only great NFL Dad. When I asked NFL wives to tell me about their husbands who were amazing fathers, the emails came pouring in.
The world may know the names of these NFL players, but their families know there’s more to these great men than their performance on the field. Here’s what some NFL wives had to say about their husbands:
Karl Klug’s wife, Stacy, appreciates her husband’s hands-on approach to fatherhood. “Karl is a great dad because he always keeps our kids busy,” she said. “He cares a lot about them loving the outdoors and creating memories with them like he did with his dad. They love playing sports with him, taking care of our chickens, throwing rocks in our creek and riding the lawnmower with him. He is awesome at encouraging and praising them in everything they do.
Klug’s three children agree and they each have a favorite thing to do with their dad. Rylan, who is four, loves playing sports and digging for treasures with Dad. Cora, who is two, loves reading with him as well as having him put ‘daddy's piggie tails’ in her hair. And Ivan, his one-month-old son, loves taking naps with him. Stacy added, “I love how it's a party for them every time he walks in the door!”
Karl Klug is pictured with his wife, Stacy, and children Rylan (4), Cora (2), and Ivan (1 month). Klug is entering his seventh season as a defensive lineman for the Tennessee Titans.
Chris Maragos’ wife, Serah, sees him as a competitor with a playful side. “One of my favorite things about Chris is that no matter how exhausted he is from work, he is always able to find the energy to play with our two passionate little guys. Their favorite thing to do is play tag and jump endlessly together on the trampoline. We are so grateful for a daddy who is always ready to play!”
Chris Maragos is pictured with his two sons, Micah (5) & Mason (3). Maragos played for the San Francisco 49ers (2010), Seattle Seahawks (2011-13), and now plays for the Philadelphia Eagles (2014-present).
Mike Purcell’s wife, Christina, loves watching her husband with their son, Kaimana. “They love to play "tackle" together. Kaimana tries to be just like his dad and throw him the ball and then try to tackle him,” she said.
Mike Purcell is pictured with his son, Kaimana. Purcell plays defensive line for the Los Angeles Rams. He formerly played for the San Francisco 49ers (2013-2016).
Kaye Cole is a big fan of her husband, Colin. “By design, my husband Colin is a professional athlete. He's created a long, successful career for himself dueling it out in the trenches. However, in our family, he's a jack-of-all-trades. He's a builder of hopes and dreams; a developer of character and good citizenship; a designer of self-esteem and confidence; and an engineer of creative thinking and compassionate hearts. In his spare time, he moonlights as juice box fetcher, bad dream monster catcher, short-order, greasy diner cook, and the official, unofficial, often debated, "it's your turn" sibling squabble referee. We couldn't have asked for a more perfectly, imperfect man to love, guide and protect our family. I call him my husband. My children call him daddy.”
Colin Cole is pictured with his wife, Kaye, and their children. Cole played defensive line for the Minnesota Vikings (2003), Detroit Lions (2003), Green Bay Packers (2004-2008), Seattle Seahawks (2009-2010) and Carolina Panthers (2013-2015).
Josh Scobee’s wife, Melissa, says that Josh is the best NFL dad out there. “He loves these boys so much, and includes them in everything he does. Josh cooks our sons breakfast and takes them to school most mornings. He spends so much time with them. He's a dream come true to our family. Most importantly he leads with a Godly heart and instills this in our boys,” said Melissa.
Josh Scobee is pictured with his sons, Jacob (5) and David (2). Scobee was a kicker for the Jacksonville Jaguars (2004-2014) and Pittsburgh Steelers (2015).
Rosalie Booth raves that Kevin Boothe is a great dad because he’s always up for spending quality time with her and their children. “He loves taking the kids to fun places like the park, movies or their favorite, Chuck E. Cheese. And he's so hands on in helping with day-to-day tasks, without me even asking. He does the laundry and he does the dishes every night.”
Rosalie says that Kevin has always been a great dad. “When our little ones were newborns, he shared in every aspect of taking care of them, even changing diapers like a pro. He knew feeding schedules and was comfortable being alone with them if I had to step out, without me having to write out a schedule to follow or anything.”
Rosalie says that Kevin is also a great husband. “I am a stay-at-home mom right now so Kevin makes sure I have time to myself now and then, to ensure I get a break, and he still makes date nights a priority, which has contributed to me being a happy Mommy and us being a happy family. We're very thankful to be blessed with such an amazing Dad!”
Kevin Boothe is pictured with sons, Dante (6), Marco (2) and daughter, Bria (5). Boothe was an offensive lineman for the Oakland Raiders (2006 and 2014) and the New York Giants (2007-2013).
Dave Ball’s wife, Carrie Ball, appreciates him for the thoughtful time he spends with each of member of their family. “What makes Dave an amazing father is his big heart. He loves each of our boys to the fullest for who they are. He listens to them, teaches them and guides them. There isn't a day that passes that he hasn't read to, played with or studied with one of the boys.”
Dave Ball is pictured with his wife, Carrie, and sons, Mason (10), Cade (8), and Grady (5). Ball played for the San Diego Chargers (2004-2005), New York Jets (2005-2006) and Tennessee Titans (2008-2012).
Jerome Harrison’s wife, Michelle, appreciates the sacrifices he makes for his family. “Jerome sacrifices every day so that our children may walk in their greatness. A by product of his daily sacrifice is that I am encouraged to walk in my greatness, too,” she said.
Harrison’s children think he is a great Daddy too. His six-year-old daughter, Jiselle, said, “"Daddy is amazing; like not regular amazing, but amazing, amazing."
Jerome III, who is five years old, said, “Dad is my best friend...even when we fight over Monopoly."
And Joelle, Harrison’s two-year-old said, "I'm daddy's favorite baby".
Jerome Harrison is pictured with his children. Harrison was a running back for the Cleveland Browns (2006-2010), Philadelphia Eagles (2010), and the Detroit Lions (2011).
This 2008 Draft Mr. Irrelevant has proven that the title doesn’t fit – neither in football nor at home. David Vobora’s wife, Sarah said David is a great Daddy. “When I asked our four-year-old why her daddy is awesome, she said ‘He’s awesome because he takes me fishing and loves me so big!’”
David Vobora is pictured with his daughters Elealeh (4) and Everly (2). Vobora played linebacker for the St. Louis Rams (2008-2010) and Seattle Seahawks (2011).
Melinda Daniels said that her husband, Tank Daniels, is a great dad because he is present. “We just had our son and he will get up in the middle of the night to help care for him,” she said. “He changes diapers, gives him baths. He reads Bible stories to our older son. No matter how tired he is, he will play with our boys. He will turn off the finals because our son wants to play the Wii with him. He is teaching our boys to become great men. He really is a super dad and husband!”
Tank Daniels is pictured with his sons. Daniels played for the Philadelphia Eagles (2006 and 2008), New York Giants (2007), and Jacksonville Jaguars (2009).
Qasim Mitchell’s wife, Tia, appreciates the father role her husband plays not only to his children and stepchildren but also the athletes he coaches. “Q is such a special dad!” she said. “Not only is he an amazing father to his natural children but he loves his step kids like his own. As a coach, he impacts his athletes’ lives like no other coach I've seen. He leaves a piece of himself with every person. Q is also expecting a daughter in November.”
Mitchell played offensive line for the Cleveland Browns (2002-03), Chicago Bears (2003-06), Carolina Panthers (2007), Arizona Cardinals (2007) and San Francisco 49ers (2008).
Qasim Mitchell is pictured here with Jordan, Tytan, Makenzie, and Kanon.
DJ Hackett’s wife, Alex, believes that DJ probably puts a lot of moms to shame. “Up until end of May, I was working full-time from 8am until at least 5pm Monday through Friday. DJ got the kids up every morning to get them ready for school before he went to work. He makes them breakfast every morning, and we are talking homemade pancakes, sausage, eggs and toast. When they get home, he has them do their homework, study piano, and read after they get a snack. Depending on the season, he takes them to and from sports/dance as well. He makes dinner on the days I didn't get a chance to come home, and puts them to bed. On some nights, they enjoy his homemade ice cream or cookies as a late snack before bed.”
“DJ is a loving father who is willing to challenge the traditional views of fatherhood and take on the "responsibilities" of a mother in my absence. He is a pillar of strength, support and discipline. DJ leads them by example, studying his Word, practicing on a daily basis the life Jesus called us all to lead. The kids know they can trust and rely on DJ's every word, feel safe and protected, and most of all loved enormously by their father,” she said.
DJ Hackett is pictured here with Andre (9), Julian (8) and Anayah (5). Hackett was a wide receiver for the Seattle Seahawks (2004-2007) and the Carolina Panthers (2008).
Ashley Jackson appreciates that her husband, Corey Jackson, is a great role model for their sons. “My husband has a bond with our sons that started from day one. Our boys absolutely adore him and it's because he consciously makes efforts to be present when he's with them. He invests real time with them and has been doing so since they entered the world. He's an awesome father and I'm proud that our sons have him as a role model.
Corey Jackson is pictured with his sons Corion (6 years) and Cash (6.5 months). Jackson was a defensive lineman for the Cleveland Browns (2003-2005) and Denver Broncos (2006).
Sylvia Moore says that her husband Donta’ is a great father. ““He is a genuine, compassionate and a generous dad.” Sylvia said that Donta’ and Tamron love their Saturday adventures that might include swimming, reading, going to the trampoline park and listening to live jazz music.
Donta’ Jones is pictured with his daughter, Tamron. Jones played linebacker for the Pittsburgh Steelers (1995-1998), Carolina Panthers (1999) and New Orleans Saints (2000).
Hillary Butler’s wife, Kelly, is grateful for how engaged he is as a father. “Hillary is emotionally present and engaged in everything he does,” she said. “He attends every one of our daughter’s swim lessons and encourages her as she works so hard. Hillary also takes her on long walks in the neighborhood chatting and singing to her the whole time. She tries new things because she knows her Daddy is there to protect and guide her, which helps her gain confidence. His nickname for her is “Mini” and that's what she is, a very mini version of him and she beams every time her Daddy enters the room.”
Hillary Butler is pictured with his daughter, Hartley (8 months). Butler played for the Frankfurt Galaxy of NFL Europe from 1996-1998 and the Seattle Seahawks (1998).
“Arlen Harris is a wonderful father because he always puts his children first,” said his wife, Heather Harris. “Every day he fights through aches and pains to work and support them. He is not only there financially he supports them in every thing they do. From coaching the boys football teams, taking them fishing and doing art with our daughter and teaching her graphic design!! He gives them time, attention, and love!! We are truly blessed to have him in our lives.”
Arlen Harris is pictured with Caeli (now 16), AJ (now 13) and Ayden (now 12). Harris was a running back for the St. Louis Rams (2003-2006) and Detroit Lions (2006).
Happy Father’s Day to all of our great NFL Dads!
Dubbed “Dr. Love” for her work on relationships, Rachel Terrill is passionate about making marriages work. With insider-research that spans over twelve years, Rachel is among the leading experts on the relationships and marriages of professional athletes. Rachel holds a Ph.D. in Communication from The University of South Florida. She serves as a family advisor for the Football Players Health Study at Harvard University. Rachel’s work has been featured on the TEDx stage, in Sports Illustrated (si.com), NPR, The Seattle Times, thestaymarriedblog.com, and other television, radio, online, and print publications. Rachel is married to Craig Terrill, who played defensive tackle for the Seattle Seahawks from 2004-2011. You can reach her at www.rachelterrill.com.