How to stay busy in a lockout

If you had $20 million sitting in a bank account, what would you do?

Kicking away the time — Cinncinati Bengals wide receiver Chad Ochocinco chose to stay active during the current NFL lockout by playing with the Kansas City Sporting soccer team. Google Images

Would you find your dream job and do it, no matter the pay? Would you devote your time to charitable organizations while your good fortune lasted? Or, as I think many of us probably would, would you enjoy the high life and live like royalty?

There are about 1,600 people in this situation who have suddenly found themselves with more free time than they have any idea what to do with.

Thank you, NFL lockout.

It has been about one month since the lockout started, and progress is moving at a crawl. Most of the players have begun finding other things to do with their time and money.

Unfortunately, there are those who have fallen into legal trouble . Since the lockout began, there have been a handful of players who have had brushes with the law, but none quite as close to home as Chris Cook.

Cook, a cornerback for the Minnesota Vikings, is spending the offseason at his mother’s house here in Lynchburg, according to the Lynchburg News and Advance. Several weeks ago, he got into an argument with a neighbor, whereupon police escorted Cook to the station after he reportedly brandished a gun.

And what has the NFL done? Absolutely nothing, sadly. The NFL’s personal conduct policy can’t be enforced on players when they aren’t in the employment of the NFL — like in a lockout, for example.

The NFL still intends to enforce the policy once the lockout is over, though. Any players with legal issues during the lockout will face consequences when the season resumes.

“The personal conduct of players and employees is an integrity-of-the-game issue,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said in a article. “Any misconduct that is detrimental to the integrity of and public confidence in the NFL will certainly be addressed when play resumes.”

Despite examples of misconduct during the NFL’s current lull, other players are using the extra time to enrich the lives of others. Texans’ defensive tackle Amobi Okoye has spent the past few weeks in Nigeria overseeing the finalizing of a national football federation — the first on the entire African continent.

“Seeing American football played in Nigeria and in other countries in Africa is a dream come true for me,” Okoye said in an article. “In wider terms, it will benefit communities and young people by teaching the values of teamwork and dedication, and create opportunities to succeed.”

Other players have spent time in Uganda and Rwanda with an organization called Pros for Africa providing food and medical supplies to women and children who have become victims of war and disease.

Still another player has decided to pick up a different kind of football in lieu of his American pigskin.

Chad Ochocinco has decided to try his hand at professional soccer. In March, he enjoyed a week-long tryout with the Sporting Kansas City soccer club .

“It’s been a dream come true for me to be on the pitch, man, with so many of these guys who are elite athletes at the top of their game. I enjoyed it,” Ochocinco said in an article.

After his first match for the reserve team, the Cincinnati Bengals wide-out wasn’t exactly the next Ronaldo. But that’s not what matters to him.

What matters is that Ochocinco is staying busy and active during the lockout.

“Staying out of trouble,” Ochocinco said in an NFL network interview.

It is also something of a lesson for the other NFL players to take to heart, especially those who aren’t being proactive with their spare time.

“Why sit at home for the lockout? Just keep on working until it gets resolved,” Ochocinco said according to

So, as strange as it might sound, maybe it would be better if the NFL players just listened to Ochocinco’s advice for once.

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