It doesn’t come as a surprise that plenty of athletes including NFL players sport a bearded look. Although it has no links to improving athletic performance, the beard does give a player his signature look in terms of aesthetics. Throughout the years, we’ve seen NFL players showcase some of the best beards on the field. However, it’s worth looking into what they look like without them. For this piece, let’s take a closer look at what bearded NFL players looked like without facial hair.
Dolphins QB Ryan Fitzpatrick (pictured below pre-beard) starred at Highland HS in Gilbert, AZ where he set 12 school records & once threw a 99-yard TD pass
He was 1 of 28 players from AZ high schools on NFL rosters in week 1 pic.twitter.com/Cj5oo8NPjl
— Mark Dalton (@CardsMarkD) September 25, 2020
Ryan Fitzpatrick had a lengthy NFL career after playing for several teams. He certainly rose to fame after making his presence with the Buffalo Bills. However, it was also his beard that drew the attention of several NFL fans. But in high school, Fitzpatrick still had yet to sport a beard. At this time, he was already proving why he belonged in the NFL.
Odell Beckham Jr.
Video: Odell Beckham Jr. was shy, versatile, unstoppable at Newman high school https://t.co/IGSkOdCiOO pic.twitter.com/lMOX0metxc
— TruChampions (@tru_champions) February 11, 2022
Odell Beckham Jr. turned in one of the best NFL rookie seasons in history before helping the Rams secure a victory at Super Bowl LVI. But even before entering the NFL, a young OBJ was already a multi-sport athlete that would have succeeded just the same in baseball or basketball.
Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliot has never lost a road game in high school, college & with the Cowboys. 36 road games and 36 victories for Elliott! pic.twitter.com/d2Z0a5KVqz
— Darren M. Haynes (@DarrenMHaynes) December 5, 2016
Ever since his days at John Burroughs High School, Ezekiel never wanted to lose even if he was far away from home. In fact, Elliott even carved out a unique winning streak of his own which only snapped during his rookie season in the NFL. Nevertheless, Eliott is still making his presence felt at the professional level with three Pro Bowl appearances, two All-Pro selections, and leading the NFL in rushing yards twice.
Brandon McManus Seals Legend Status At Former Lansdale High School https://t.co/Luq98vsbeB pic.twitter.com/W4IKWhJHVO
— PhiladelphiaDailyDig (@PhiladelphiaDig) February 9, 2016
Brandon McManus has been a reliable kicker for the Denver Broncos by racking up the field goals. But while his play on the field has been great, he also has the beard to show for it. But back in high school, the Super Bowl champion didn’t even sport notable facial hair as seen in his high school yearbook photo.
From Lake Travis to #Heisman
Baker Mayfield back in high school:
VIDEO: https://t.co/eblQavAX2G pic.twitter.com/obqsw22RSz
— MaxPreps (@MaxPreps) December 10, 2017
Back in Lake Travis High School, Baker Mayfield didn’t sport a beard yet. However, he was clearly the school’s best football star. After making his mark in high school, Mayfield would rack up the hardware at the college level, earning the Manning Award, Maxwell Award, Sugar Bowl MVP, and the Heisman Trophy. At the NFL level, Mayfield played an instrumental role in helping the Browns end their playoff drought before starring as a quarterback for the Rams.
@GioWFAN @JerryRecco @Alsboringtweets what number does Aaron Rodgers wear with @nyjets Community College #4 or Cal #8??? Hopefully he respects Joe’s #12 even though Joe gave blessings. I doubt #4 because of Farve @WFANmornings pic.twitter.com/vOM5B6GA5q
— Junkin Irishman (@JunkinIrishman) March 1, 2023
Aaron Rodgers was a prospect that was often overlooked since his college days. In fact, Rodgers had to settle with a backup role to Brett Favre during his earlier days with the Packers. Fortunately, Rodgers stuck it out to become a four-time NFL MVP, Super Bowl champion, and Super Bowl MVP. While it could be the beard, Rodgers’ success stems more from his patience and skills on the field.
For Sale: $2.00. Brett Favre Falcons Rookie Anniversary Card @OnReplin @HobbyConnector @JohnMer45327439 @Elliott0924 #TheQStorySportsCards pic.twitter.com/6bi9XUNOUX
— ᴛʜᴇQꜱᴛᴏʀʏ ꜱᴘᴏʀᴛꜱ ᴄᴀʀᴅꜱ & ᴍᴇᴍᴏʀᴀʙɪʟɪᴀ (@theqstorycards) August 12, 2021
Speaking of the Packers, there’s no question that Brett Favre was one of the best players in franchise history. But before joining the Packers, Favre was beardless and underutilized with the Falcons. Fortunately, a move to Green Bay paved the way to three straight MVPs and a win at Super Bowl XXXI.
Former Ohio State center Nick Mangold has been named the greatest high school All-American of all time: https://t.co/XjYFpdjahr pic.twitter.com/U9CNDfc1Ie
— Buckeye Sports Bulletin (@Buckeye_Sports) April 8, 2020
During his days with the Jets, Nick Mangold gained popularity for his beard, but also for his effectiveness at the center position. In fact, while sporting a golden beard, Mangold garnered three All-Pro selections and seven Pro Bowl appearances. But even without a beard during high school and college days, Mangold was already a force to be reckoned with.
Happy 33rd birthday to former Wisconsin Badgers LB, DeAndre Levy! 🎉
He spent his entire eight-year career with the Detroit Lions.
📸: SB Nation; Joe Robbins/Getty Images#NFLBadgers x #Lions pic.twitter.com/D5eqsLtspX
— NFL Badgers (@NFLBadgers) March 26, 2020
DeAndre Levy sported a thick beard while playing his entire career with the Detroit Lions. The Lions’ former linebacker would go on to earn Second team All-Pro honors in 2014. But before joining the Lions in the NFL, Levy had little to no beard during his days at Wisconsin. Nevertheless, Levy still earned the university’s Tom Weisner Award and earned the distinction of All-Big Ten honorable mention.
College Brett Keisel.
NFL Brett Keisel. pic.twitter.com/575L6qlU3q
— Steve Braband (@stevebraband) March 11, 2015
When it comes to the beard game, there’s not a lot who can beat Brett Keisel. In fact, his game is as intense as his beard, after helping the Steelers take victories at Super Bowls XL and XLIII. In fact, the beard was a transformation that Keisel leaned on to power the franchise to another Super Bowl appearance. However, during his college days, Keisel was actually beardless. Fast forward to today, he sported his college look again after taking off the beard recently in order to help cancer patients at the UPMC Children’s Hospital, putting the beard to good use again even after his NFL career.