Thanks to today's round-the-clock media cycle, the no-limit access of social media, and fans' endless thirst for more content, the art of the entrance has grown to become extremely important in select sports circles. Simply arriving is no longer enough for some athletes, they have to show up and show out. Outfits and shoes are tracked nearly as much as points per game, and a person's ride represents personality more than ever, especially in the National Football League.
As NFL players close the chapter on another offseason and prepare to start training camps, they have a choice to make: Block out the noise and arrive under a cloak of lowkey focus or put the league on alert with an ostentatious display. These athletes are captured from the moment they roll into the parking lot, and there are usually quite a few shock-and-awe moments, as seen below.
Earlier in the decade, Indianapolis Colts wide receiver legend Reggie Wayne had perfected the flex landing. Throughout the years, he showed up in an IndyCar, a military Humvee caravan, a helicopter, and a dump truck (because the impending season would require lots of hard work). Since then, Wayne has inspired many athletes, including one of the league's most-talented offensive weapons, Antonio Brown.
The former Pittsburgh Steelers and current Oakland Raiders wide receiver is the architect behind some of the most-talked-about training day entrances of all time. In the past, he's presented himself at camp in a Steelers-themed Rolls-Royce Wraith, a helicopter, and a classic Rolls-Royce convertible with a chauffeur. But 2019 is a year of new things for Brown. Playing for a new team in a new area, he decided he had to up his game. As a nod to the popular activity in northern California, Brown showed up to camp in a colorful hot air balloon.
Brown's routine might have been the most grandiose, but it wasn't even the coolest stunt in the league. We're giving that award to Kansas City Chiefs running back Anthony Sherman, who borrowed Clint Boyer's NASCAR Mustang for a quick test drive.
Maybe the most hyped-up player entrance came in Jacksonville, where stud cornerback Jalen Ramsey rode to practice in an adidas Boost-themed armored Brinks truck. Lockdown defender, get it?
As if a kicker needed more protection, Kansas City Chiefs punter Dustin Colquitt came to camp in a massive military truck, while Steelers wide receiver Eli Rogers came in on a Peterbilt semi. Chicago Bears running back Tarik Cohen raised some eyebrows in Bourbonnais, Illinois, when he poorly executed some drifts in a wild-style Polaris Slingshot, a celebrity favorite.
Dustin Colquitt: “The specialists are here” pic.twitter.com/OFdZTx4zow— Brooke Pryor (@bepryor) July 26, 2019
Not everybody is as aggressive as those guys, though. Some like to let their personal vehicles do the talking. Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley III arrived in a beautiful Rolls-Royce Phantom, Minnesota Vikings tight end Irv Smith Jr. came ready to play in a matte purple-wrapped Mercedes-AMG GLE63 S coupe, and Green Bay Packers linebacker Blake Martinez drove his daughter to camp in a matte black Tesla Model S. And we didn't even mention Odell's Cleveland Browns-themed Rolls-Royce Cullinan.
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Blake Martinez's daughter, Kinsley, was born last summer during training camp. This year, she's along for the ride — but only on check-in day at St. Norbert College — although he joked she'd be a better roommate than fellow... https://t.co/KLWJz5ctU2 pic.twitter.com/qA4VEHsXcp— Rob Demovsky (@RobDemovsky) July 23, 2019
The rides make it looks like fun and games, but the players are now nose-deep in playbooks and ice baths as they prepare for the season. The first preseason matchup, the NFL Hall of Fame game between the Atlanta Falcons and Denver Broncos, opens August 1, 2019.