The Bachelor franchise and football players go together like wine and yoga pants or Bill Belichick and hoodies with the sleeves cut off. In 2004, Jesse Palmer was both an active NFL quarterback and the Bachelor. Onetime wide receiver Ryan Hoag -- the last pick in the 2003 NFL draft -- was on The Bachelorette in 2008 and Bachelor Pad in 2012. 2016's Bachelorette JoJo Fletcher is engaged to Jordan Rodgers, a onetime NFL quarterback (and estranged brother of an actual superstar NFL quarterback, Aaron Rodgers).
But this season's Bachelorette, Becca Kufrin, might be the biggest football fan the franchise has ever had, although it's unclear how much she actually cares about the game. You see, Becca absolutely adores football players. Her ex-boyfriend who crashed The Bachelor last season is a college football coach, and she's said that her celebrity crush is retired linebacker Michael Strahan. And true to form, she has a record two NFL players among her 28 guys: Clay Harbor and Colton Underwood.
Who are these strapping fellows, and do they have what it takes to make it to the end zone that is the final rose ceremony?
Clay Harbor is officially an active tight end -- a receiver who also serves as a blocker -- though he's currently unsigned. He played college football at Missouri State and was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in 2010. He has played for the Eagles, the Jacksonville Jaguars, the New England Patriots, the Detroit Lions and most recently the New Orleans Saints. He's scored eight touchdowns and has 1,170 receiving yards on 114 catches. At 30, he's getting pretty old for a tight end and was injured for the entirety of the 2017 season, so his playing days might be over. The fact that he hurt his wrist playing football on The Bachelorette doesn't bode well for his football future, either. He voluntarily left the show to treat the injury, and though he says he's recovered and ready to play this fall, but it remains to be seen if any team will sign him.
Colton Underwood also played tight end as well as linebacker, though he's now retired. His pro career was less successful than Harbor's. He entered the league as an undrafted free agent out of Illinois State in 2014 and played for the San Diego Chargers, Philadelphia Eagles and Oakland Raiders. Unfortunately, he only played for these teams in preseason games and on the practice squad, never making a final roster. He suffered a career-ending injury in 2016 and officially retired last summer. He's now 26. But he's making a nice life for himself outside of football, directing a charitable foundation supporting people living with cystic fibrosis. He also dated Olympic gymnast and activist Aly Raisman, so he has prior experience dating women more famous than him. He also dated Becca's The Bachelor castmate Tia Booth, which became a source of drama on The Bachelorette.
Becca's roster is peppered with sportsmen. There's a former minor league baseball player, a former semipro soccer player and a former Harlem Globetrotter. There's even a football analyst, which is someone who watches football professionally. So there's reason to believe this will be the most competitive season ever.
Will either of these tight ends be the one to receive Becca's heart? We'll see!
The Bachelorette airs Mondays at 8/7c on ABC.