The Best Gift I Ever Got
In their current careers, the holiday season brings Week 17 games, playoff scenarios and coach firings—and for one team, one golden ring. But the best memories often come at home. The MMQB asked NFL players around the league to share the best holiday gift they ever received. Their answers were big and small, for Christmas and for Hanukkah—and it probably won’t surprise you which 8-year-old future NFL quarterback spent Christmas morning playing football with his brothers.
Justin Tuck, defensive end, Oakland Raiders
As a kid, I’ll never forget getting a He-Man sword. My mom used to call me He-Man. That was my nickname. I just loved running around the house, saying, “The Power of Grayskull! I have the power!” I don’t know why, but I have never forgotten that Christmas gift. I think I was 6. That’s the one that sticks out in my head.
Joel Bitonio, guard, Cleveland Browns
It was a surprise gift—we weren't really asking for it—but my sister and I got a trampoline when I was probably 8 or 9. We were so happy. I think I jumped on that thing every day for two or three years. We would wrestle, play football and do tricks on it!
Russell Wilson, quarterback, Seattle Seahawks
A baseball glove. I got one when I was really, really young. It was an A2000 Wilson baseball glove. I played baseball all the time, so I used it all the time growing up.
Ryan Kerrigan, linebacker, Washington
My parents surprised me and gave me a drum set when I was in seventh grade. I didn't end up playing it too often, because every time I did, I got complaints that I was being too loud. So as great as it was at the time, it didn't stick around too long.
Andre Williams, running back, New York Giants
The best Christmas gift had to be Game Boy Advance when I was 9. Pokémon changed the game because suddenly trips to Wal-Mart or the DMV with mom didn’t have to be so boring.
Kyle Arrington, cornerback, New England Patriots
As a kid, to be honest with you, if you got me any G.I. Joe, I was good to go. So one Christmas, my parents got me maybe 30 different G.I. Joes. It was the best Christmas ever.
Michael Bennett, defensive end, Seattle Seahawks
A newborn baby. My daughter, Blake, was born Dec. 6, 2011. She came out healthy, and she's very special, so that meant the most to me. But you know, can't give too many presents out, between her birthday and Christmas, so we try to compress when we give the gifts out.
Robert Griffin III, quarterback, Washington
It was a set of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. It had all of the mutant ninja turtles, and the truck that they used to drive. I loved the ninja turtles. My mom and dad got it for me, and it totally surprised me. We weren't a well-to-do family, so that was big for them.
Osi Umenyiora, defensive end, Atlanta Falcons
I didn't receive Christmas gifts while I was younger in Nigeria. There were 13 of us kids, and it just wasn't feasible. So we just had a Christmas dinner. Jollof rice, plantains, fried turkey, goat meat, cake, and we were allowed one bottle of either Coke, Sprite or Fanta.
Brock Vereen, safety, Chicago Bears
A throwback Earl Campbell Texas college jersey. Not sure why I was so big on him, but I loved it. My dad’s the one who got it for me. I was in eighth grade.
Eli Manning, quarterback, New York Giants
I got a Bo Jackson Oakland Raiders full uniform when I was 8 years old or so. No. 34, full Raiders uniform, pants and shoulder pads and jersey. And it said “Bo” on the back. It didn’t say “Jackson,” it said “Bo.” He was playing the “Bo knows baseball” and “Bo knows football” [TV ads], so I was a Bo Jackson fan for a little bit. Wore it right away. Fully padded up and running outside, running routes. Had my brothers throwing me passes and playing a little Christmas day football outside.
Corey Wootton, defensive end, Minnesota Vikings
The Jordan XI in 1995. I was 8. Those were always my favorite. I wore them every chance I could, and I'd clean them any time any dirt would get on them.
Ryan Clark, safety, Washington
Sega Genesis. I got it when it first came out. It had Sonic the Hedgehog. I was 9 years old. That was the best Christmas gift I've ever received, and it's not even close. It's something I really wanted and actually didn't expect to get it. I had asked for it, and my parents said, “I don't know, I don't know.” But then at Christmas, they came through for me, as they always did. I don't know why I ever doubted them.
Geoff Schwartz, guard, New York Giants
My very first menorah my parents got me when I was on my own. I've taken it on road trips during the season. It's traveled with me from Charlotte to Minnesota to Kansas City, and finally to New Jersey.
Zach Line, fullback, Minnesota Vikings
I remember getting a skateboard and a grinding rail for it. It was awesome. I was probably 13. I thought I was professional, though.
Kyle Long, guard, Chicago Bears
I remember getting Ocarina of Time (Zelda) for N64. It was a time consuming game for a kid. I got stuck all the time. Frustrating.
Pierre Garçon, wide receiver, Washington
When I was little, I got a football, from the church. That was my best present.
LeGarrette Blount, running back, New England Patriots
My Louis Vuitton bag that my girl gave me a few years ago. It's sweet. I take it with me every trip. Ah man, it's nice, real nice.
Stevie Brown, safety, New York Giants
I got a mountain bike. I think I was probably 8 or so. I wasn’t expecting to get it. I didn’t ask for it. I just came outside on the porch, and there was a big mountain bike sitting there for me. I was the first one to have a mountain bike out of us three siblings, and I’m the youngest. Because I was the favorite. People don’t believe me when I tell them. It’s the law of physics, pretty much. You’re the youngest, you’re the favorite. It’s just how it works.
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