In the weeks before the Super Bowl in 2015, there was a question of whether the birth of Richard Sherman’s first child had a chance at keeping the Seattle Seahawks’ All-Pro cornerback from playing against the New England Patriots.
"He's going to be a disciplined young man and stay in there," Sherman said, via Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports, "He's going to do his father his first favor."
Sherman was right and his son, Rayden, was born four days after the game.
Maybe the less-than-ideal timing was the reason why Sherman’s second child was born two months ago in April. The second time around there was zero concern that the birth of his daughter, Avery, would interfere with anything except an offseason workout or two.
It’s certainly possible the timing wasn’t intentional. There seems to be a baby boom in the NFL near the end of spring, and if we count nine months back, that’s a lot of training camp babies.
Corey "Philly" Brown, Cardale Jones, Landry Jones, Shiloh Keo, Nick Mangold, AJ McCarron, Captain Munnerlyn, Ben Roethlisberger and Karlos Williams are among the players who have welcomed newborns this spring and a few had some interesting stories.
Babies shouldn’t be this easy
Bengals quarterback AJ McCarron had his first child this offseason and helped his wife, Katherine Webb, through childbirth by making a World War Z joke that made everything really easy, apparently? Umm -- alright.
We’ll let SB Nation’s own Jeanna Thomas weigh in on that:
"Hahahahahahahaha omg this makes me so mad. If anyone had tried to tell me a joke when I was in labor I probably would have tried to fight them."
McCarron’s wonderful life of bliss and perfection also features plenty of sleep, apparently, unlike most new parents. He said his son, Tripp, "Sleeps a long time, never cries."
Jeanna: "I didn’t sleep for like six solid years."
What about paternity leave?
Just a few hours after Steelers quarterback Landry Jones became a father, he was back on the Pittsburgh practice field. His wife, a former Oklahoma basketball player, urged him to get to practice as soon as possible because she knows it’s important for him not to miss a day.
One week earlier, Jones was the beneficiary of a bit of paternity leave when Ben Roethlisberger and his wife welcomed a third child. Jones got the first-team reps at practices and apparently didn’t want to relinquish his second-team reps to Bruce Gradkowski.
The future football player
Corey "Philly" Brown made his way into the NFL as an undrafted free agent, but he’s envisioning an easier track to football success for his son, Chandler. He said his newborn son already has seven college offers and he’s wise beyond his years for taking tips from Mike Tolbert.
High and tight. That’s good form, little Chandler.
When center Nick Mangold was absent from a Jets practice, the rumors swirled that it was because he was making a stand for Ryan Fitzpatrick along with wide receivers Eric Decker and Brandon Marshall. Nope. It turns out Mangold’s wife was having a baby and he was back with the Jets shortly thereafter.
Some fatherly advice
Cardale Jones wasn’t in the NFL when his girlfriend got pregnant, but the quarterback was ready to miss the birth of his second child to get to a practice. Rookies have a tough climb to impress coaches so it’s not hard to understand his reasoning, but Bills head coach Rex Ryan told him not to come to practice because "you’ll regret that decision the rest of your life."
The former Ohio State quarterback not only had a second child just before Father’s Day, he also says he found his father -- new head coach Rex Ryan.
"He might be my long-lost dad," Jones said, via Matthew Fairburn of NewYorkUpstate.com. "I've been looking for that guy for 23 years. I found him."
Congratulations on becoming a grandfather, Rex.
Bills running back Karlos Williams is fortunate that his fianceé’s pregnancy came during the offseason, because he says it’s the reason he showed up for camp overweight.
"I like to eat and then her being pregnant gave me an excuse to eat, so eating anything and everything," Williams told reporters. "She’d wake up, one or two o’clock, ‘I want a snack.’ Well I’m not going to sit here and watch you eat because I don’t want you to feel bad but it’s back to football."
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But don't fret if your favorite player is about to become, or just became, a father. There doesn’t seem to be any kind of correlation between performance on the field and fatherhood.
Cam Newton became a dad during his MVP campaign last season and Eli Manning’s first child came in the offseason before a Pro Bowl season in 2011 that ended with his second Super Bowl win.
This Father’s Day, Newton is one of several NFL players who will be celebrating it for the first time as dads. And when next spring rolls around, expect another batch of NFL babies on the way.