Well, here I am, team. Despite what I told myself about not being able to put my body through another season, what with the countless pep talks and endless late nights and the cold Gatorade showers, I’m back. Team, I don’t know how, I don’t know why (well, to be very frank, I do know why: that $$$ contract), but I’ve stuck with it. I’m still watching The Bachelorette.
But this season has more than the usual roster of men with tight bods and extremely flexible “work” “schedules” who have only Instagram followers to gain from a brief break on television. Yes, this season has two whole (potentially former) NFL players, and one whole guy who writes about them. With this talent, it was worth giving it one more go. One more whack at this “sea of highway-patrol officers,” to quote Leo, 31, a stuntman from Studio City, Cali. with hair that flows like the wind.
Let’s meet the rest of our recruits.
Sports: Analyst at Pro Football Focus, a, uh, football analysis website, which spent the premiere tweeting about its star player.
Love: Mike received no introductory package, which doesn’t bode well for his longevity on the show. He decided to try to make up for that fumble by exiting the limo carrying a cardboard cutout of Becca’s ex Arie (woof), claiming that he wanted Arie to see how happy Becca was. “He’s gotta reap what he sowed,” Mike said of Arie. “He had to see her happy with other dudes.” I have to say, I expected more from this rookie, who isn’t afraid to take sartorial risks like a man bun. Otherwise, Mike kept it low-profile. He made it to the second episode, so he must have done something to impress that the cameras didn’t catch, but otherwise, he gave limited commentary, telling Becca “You betcha” when she asked if he would accept a rose.
Sports: NFL tight end, currently a free agent (but maybe not for long ;) ). Has played on a potpourri of teams named after animals and human creations: the Eagles, Jaguars, Patriots, Lions, and most recently the Saints, who put him on injured reserve in 2017 for what appears to have been an ankle or foot thing. Clay seems focused on making sure people know he is still very passionate about the game, writing on a recent Instagram post that he was “working hard to get back on this field and continue doing what I love. It may be a game to some but to me it’s much more. #combackszn #tbt #ineedajob.” He also hashtagged the announcement of his joining The Bachelorette with “#yesimstillplayingball.”
Love: According to Clay, he doesn’t “fit into that stereotype” of an NFL player, which must mean he’s had fewer than five concussions. Good for him. He’s also been told that he’s “a big sweetheart.” Both messages were sent via footage of him working out shirtless and hanging out with some old people. In the order in which were shown our men meeting Becca, Clay was third out of the limo with the line, “I’ve caught a lot of passes in my day, but if I were to land you, it’d be the biggest catch of my life.”
That aside, Clay seems to have been well schooled in the sports platitudes that translate well on this show, pointing out that there’s “gonna be a lot of guys competing for an amazing girl.” And despite what he says online, football isn’t “something that defines me.” Once inside the mansion, as he and Becca make clay figurines of each other, we learn that they’re both from the Midwest. Clay also says, “I feel like I should send your ex a thank-you card,” because Becca was his favorite from last season. In a line that accidentally reveals he was courted to be on this show and didn’t sign up of his own volition, he lets it slip that he wasn’t sure he wanted to do this, but that Becca being the lead convinced him.
Sports: A retired NFL tight end. His Bachelorette bio: “Post-football, Colton has dedicated himself to helping children fighting Cystic Fibrosis. When he’s not working on his charity, he’s spending time with his family and his dog, Sniper.” Colton played for the Chargers, the Raiders, and (for four days) the Eagles.
Love: Colton dated Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman, which makes him by far the most famous contestant on this season of The Bachelorette and quickly puts him on the shortlist of Potentially Here For The Wrong Reasons. No stranger to attention, he asked Raisman out via a live video Q&A; the pair dated for six months. Colton received the fourth package on the premiere episode, in which he stated that he was destined to be a football player because he was born on Super Bowl Sunday. That being said, he’s given up that life to devote his time to his charity.
“I don’t know much about Becca but I think that’s probably the best way to go into this,” Colton claims in his video (though he appears to have somewhat known one of Becca’s former contestants from her time on The Bachelor). Colton’s limo exit was shown first, and he impressed Becca by shooting off some sort of confetti cannon to start things out “with a bang.”
Judging from the promo for the rest of the season, Colton certainly sticks around the longest, long enough to tell Becca that he loves her. Excitingly, his storyline involves the fact that he might be a virgin and could be, in the words of Chris Harrison, “worried about being intimate with Becca.” (EW.) Later, we see Colton clarify that he’s not waiting for marriage (PHEW), he’s just “waiting for the right person.” That said, another cast member (couldn’t tell you who at this point) casts aspersions on the accuracy of that fact, claiming that he’s “not even sure Colton is a virgin.” ¡ESCÁNDALO!
As is often the case, key members of the roster seem to have bonded already, with Mike, Clay, and Colton demonstrating that their love of football has brought them together off the field. Now that’s what I call TEAMWORK.
There’s a chance some other sports dudes will get some screentime this season. There will definitely be a football date. There are several former college football and baseball players, as well as a Harlem Globetrotter who actually dunked over Becca.
There are also, as usual, several personal trainers, as well as a man who allegedly would go into his office bathroom, create a “nest” of toilet paper on the stall floor, shit into it, gather it all up, and throw it away.
A rousing and joy-filled game of basketball on the slippery front driveway, during which Becca says, “I’m having a ball right now!” Same!
7-5, with Team Kate winning this episode because she got to meet the man who allegedly shits in a nest on the bathroom floor at his place of business.