If your boss told you that you could not show up for work, what would you do? Take a vacation? Write that novel you've always been meaning to get to?
How about get a new job?
For NFL players, that question is more than just hypothetical during their league's labor stoppage. Unlike most Americans, they may not have to take a new job to pay the bills, but some are finding interesting ways to stay busy.
Take the Cincinnati Bengals' Chad Ochocinco, never shy when it comes to self-promotion. Known for his fancy footwork on the field, this month the wide receiver traded one type of football for another.
The wide receiver tried out for a spot on Sporting Kansas City, a Major League Soccer team, saying that soccer always has been his first love.
"To have fun, to be able to live a dream that I have always wanted to do -- and that's to play soccer at an elite level," Ochocinco said of what he was hoping to accomplish with the transition from American football to futbol.
There's no end in sight in the labor dispute between the owners and players, and some believe the legal battle could last for several months in court.
Now in its third week, the NFL lockout has given hundreds of athletes some unexpected free time. The athletes cannot contact their coaches and they cannot work out at the team's facilities.
Like Ochocinco, some athletes are getting creative.
Tommy Zbikowski of the Baltimore Ravens is back in the ring, boxing professionally in Las Vegas and Atlantic City. The Ravens safety was an amateur boxer while he played college football at Notre Dame.
He said he's trying to work his way up to being a legitimate contender.
"Boxing, if it's a hobby, you're only doing it in the gym and for conditioning," he said. "It can't be a hobby because you understand how serious it [is] once the dude starts throwing punches at your head."
Zbikowski has won both of his professional fights since the lockout started, and his football bosses in Baltimore are cheering him on. Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti thinks Zbikowski's career as a pugilist is "awesome."
Super Bowl champion Hines Ward swapped his cleats for dancing shoes and is competing on this season of ABC's "Dancing with the Stars."
"I know I'm gonna get ragged a lot from a lot of the guys in the locker room, but I'm in it to win it," he said of his ballroom dancing potential.
But with questions about whether the NFL's strict personal conduct code is still in effect during the lockout, other players are finding it hard to stay out of trouble.
Tampa Bay's Aqib Talib was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon after a domestic incident.
Green Bay's Johnny Jolly was arrested in Houston for possession of 600 grams of codeine.
The usually confident Ochocinco admitted that his soccer tryout humbled him.
"I ate the humble pie before I even landed. Trust me," he said. "I understand how difficult this game is to play, and I already knew what it was."
His soccer career didn't kick off on the right foot, but the Bengals starter was offered an honorary reserve spot on the Kansas City team earlier this week.
It beats sitting at home waiting for the lockout to end, he said.
"When it does happen or we're able to go back and play, I'll be in better shape than everyone else because I might be the only training at this level right now," he said.
ABC News' Karyn Rodus contributed to this report.