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Imagining the Best Possible Softball Team Made Up of NFL Players

Getty Images/Ringer illustration
Getty Images/Ringer illustration

Ever since retiring from the NFL last month, former Eagles cornerback Walter Thurmond has been moonlighting as “Dick Mahoney,” Philadelphia’s most notorious softball ringer. At 28, Thurmond is still in his athletic prime, so it should come as no surprise that he’s taken the Philly rec softball scene by storm, crushing home runs while wearing a Jheri curl wig. Although Mahoney has since put his softball career on hold to pursue film opportunities in Los Angeles, he’s opened up the door for other football players to follow in his footsteps. To celebrate his legacy, I’ve put together a fantasy softball roster of the best potential slow-pitch talent the NFL has to offer. Here goes nothing:

Manager: Trent Dilfer

I have a recurring nightmare in which Trent Dilfer pops out at me and shouts his menacing Twitter bio/possible back tattoo, “THE TRUTH IS IN THE TAPE!” Nevertheless, his creepy commitment to film study would make him a great manager, and we already know that his vast knowledge of sports can transcend football:

Bench Coach: Andy Reid

Without a clock to mismanage, softball suits Reid perfectly. And with his extensive collection of mesmerizing Hawaiian shirts, he already looks the part.

Starting Pitcher: Sam Bradford

Bradford’s arm strength leaves a lot to be desired, but his accuracy has never been questioned. Surely he can toss a softball 40 feet, right? Perhaps softball is his true calling!

Setup Man: Peyton Manning

Manning was practically throwing knuckleballs for the Broncos last season, which could translate to Steven Wright–like unhittability on the diamond.

Team Physician: Dr. James Andrews

Just in case Manning requires mid-game Tommy John surgery.

Closer: Brett Favre

Brought to you by Wrangler jeans, the preferred outfitter of middle-aged softball players everywhere!

Catcher: Vince Wilfork

I need a trendsetter on my team, and Wilfork single-handedly made overalls the new black … on a motherfucking softball field:

Also, doesn’t Wilfork give off major Hamilton Porter vibes? His behind-the-plate trash talk must be legendary.

First Base: Tim Tebow

Tebow has never made it past first base, so this is where he’d be most comfortable.

Second Base: Aaron Rodgers

Are bat flips frowned upon in softball? If so, Rodgers would make us the most hated team in whatever league we’re playing in, and football players thrive off adversity. Bring on the beanballs.

Third Base: Roger Goodell

Goodell is already incredibly adept at taking softball questions from the media, so it stands to reason that he’ll excel at actual softball, too. Plus, we need someone who’s going to quibble with the ump over arcane uniform regulations.

Shortstop: J.J. Watt

Watt would be the overanxious dude who brings WAY TOO MUCH equipment — I’m talking five bats, batting gloves, a donut, eye black, a regular glove, a catcher’s mitt, sunflower seeds, Big League Chew, you name it. When all you want to do is drink your vodka-spiked Gatorade, he’d be pestering you with questions about infield shifts and lineup tweaks. His infatuation with hidden ball tricks would grow tiresome, and if he ever pitched, he’d constantly attempt pickoffs. But he’s a proven veteran, and every good team needs a jackass to complain about behind his back.

Rover: Josh Gordon

Flash Gordon’s supreme athleticism makes him perfect for this role, especially because we don’t test for marijuana.

Left Field: Jadeveon Clowney

Clowney may never be healthy enough to contribute on the field, but we need someone whose physique is going to strike the fear of God into opposing teams. Accordingly, he’d be required to play without a shirt.

Center Field: Odell Beckham Jr.

FACT: OBJ has multisport ambitions, and if he wanted to pursue a career in MLB, he could become the next Jim Edmonds. Thankfully, though, his propensity for relentless trash talk makes him a better fit for beer league softball than baseball’s silly, unwritten rulebook.

Right Field: Rob Gronkowski

Gronk would bring at least 10 coolers of beer to every game, and oh yeah, he can MASH TATERS, too:

Female fans would reliably fill the bleachers to cheer him on — think Grady’s Ladies — and there’d be a clause in his contract mandating that championship celebrations take place on Gronk’s Party Ship. He’d offset Watt’s annoyingness, lead obnoxious cheers in the dugout, and make our team a fixture on TMZ. His Babe Ruthian persona would appeal to old-timey beat writers and kids alike, and sabermetricians would hail him as the first infinity-tool player. A softball team without Gronk is like a football team without Gronk, a luxury liner without Gronk, or — God forbid — a party without Gronk: borrrrring.