Most seventh-round draft picks never make it past preseason. Gus Frerotte, pick No. 197 in the 1994 Draft, spent 15 seasons in the NFL, started in 93 games and threw for 114 touchdowns.
However, Frerotte is primarily remembered for spraining his neck after headbutting a padded wall during a touchdown celebration. The incident happened on November 23, 1997 in a Giants vs. Redskins game at Jack Kent Cooke Stadium — now FedEx Field. Nearly 20 years have gone by, but Frerotte says run-ins with football fans serve as constant reminders of his blunder.
“You know, if you didn’t have a sense of humor about it, I don’t think that you would ever survive it,” said Frerotte on Thom Loverro’s Cigars and Curveballs podcast. “Because I don’t think I go anywhere without somebody talking about it, or asking me about it, or what happened. And they try to be nice, but they really kind of want to be mean — some people. And other people just want to know what happened.”
Frerotte is part of a strange fraternity of NFL players who have injured themselves while celebrating.
Bill Gramática tore his ACL after celebrating a field goal in 2001.
Several years later, Stephen Tulloch injured his ACL while getting a bit exuberant after sacking Aaron Rodgers in 2014.
Just one month later, Lamarr Houston tore his ACL while performing an eerily similar celebration after sacking of Jimmy Garoppolo.
Frerotte seems to take the encounters in stride and chooses to instead focus on the longevity of his NFL career.
“It happened, and I’ve been able to move on from it, but I still can talk about it, because it was a part of my life. You know, it didn’t define me, and it still doesn’t define me. And that’s what’s great. I think if I didn’t laugh about it, I wouldn’t have been able to go on and play another 10 years after that.”