The 7 NFL players who had the crap scared outta them AS AN ELEPHANT CHARGED at their vehicle described the moment to TMZ Sports ... and it's pretty damn funny.

We posted the video Friday ...  the fellas are down in Mozambique on safari and got a little too close to nature when one of Dumbo's cousin's pump faked them with a charge.

Now Duke Ihenacho, Brandon Marshall (of the Broncos), William Gay, Omar Bolden, Mike Adams, Tony Carter, and P.J. Williams are talking about it, and make it clear they had to change their shorts.

BTW the combined weight of all the guys is around 1,500 pounds ... the SMALLEST variety of African elephant weighs in at around 6,000 lbs ... so yeah, advantage nature.