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The cost of being a rookie in the NFL

Discussion in 'RAMS - NFL TALK' started by Prime Time, Jun 9, 2014.

  1. Prime Time

    Prime Time RODerator

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    Lane Johnson gets touchy about criticism of his $17,747 dinner bill
    Posted by Michael David Smith on June 9, 2014

    [​IMG] AP

    Last week Eagles offensive tackle Lane Johnson posted on Twitter a picture of a receipt for what Johnson referred to as a “rookie dinner.” The bill for the dinner came to $17,747.86.

    That brought Johnson in for some criticism, especially coming on the heels of Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant saying days earlier that it bugged him that he was forced to spend $55,000 on a dinner for veterans when he was a rookie.

    Now Johnson is complaining that the criticism is unfounded.

    “For those of you so concerned with MY business, I am grateful to be able to treat my O-line to such a great evening VOLUNTARILY!” Johnson wrote in response to that criticism.

    Here’s a tip for Johnson: If you don’t want people commenting on what you consider “MY business,” don’t tweet pictures of $17,747.86 dinner receipts. Johnson tweeted the receipt because he likes showing off that he and his teammates can afford to spend on one dinner what most Americans have to work months to earn. It apparently never occurred to him that some people might think that kind of Twitter boasting is garish, and that he’d take some criticism for it. Once he got the criticism, he got upset.

    Johnson still hasn’t explained who paid what for this “rookie dinner.” His first tweet suggested that the Eagles’ rookies paid for it. His second tweet suggested that he paid for it. One report said Johnson paid “a portion” of the bill.

    Regardless of which player paid what, when players are going out to dinner and spending more than $1,000 a man, it’s easy to see why so many former NFL players go broke. As a 24-year-old who signed a contract last year that will pay him almost $20 million, Johnson may think he doesn’t have to worry about money. But he should talk to former players like Bernie Kosar and Mark Brunell and Vince Young and Warren Sapp and Jamal Lewis, just to name a few. All of them made more money than Johnson and all of them went bankrupt.

    Maybe Johnson will turn out to be better about managing his money than those guys. Or maybe when his NFL career is over he’ll realize that he not only can’t afford to spend thousands of dollars on dinner, but he can’t even afford to make ends meet. Sometimes when you’re a 24-year-old with a lot of money in your pocket, you need someone to be concerned about your business.

    Teammates told Lane Johnson he shouldn’t have tweeted dinner bill
    Posted by Michael David Smith on June 9, 2014

    [​IMG] AP

    After Eagles offensive tackle Lane Johnson tweeted a picture of the $17,747 “rookie dinner” receipt from a recent outing with teammates, some of those teammates told him that was a bad move.

    Eagles center Jason Kelce told PhillyMag.com that older members of the offensive line told the 24-year-old Kelce that they wouldn’t post something like that for all the world to see.

    “No, I would not have,” Kelce said. “And that’s something we’ve already talked to Lane about. You generally don’t want to tweet that out, but bottom line, we’re not trying to hide anything either. He tweeted it out. It is what it is. There’s nothing that we’re trying to hide here.”

    Bragging about spending $17,747 on one dinner is not a good look on Twitter, and it’s also not a wise financial decision, even for a multimillionaire like Johnson. NFL players often forget that just because they make millions in their 20s, that doesn’t mean they’re going to be rich forever: That money will have to last them a lifetime, and professional athletes are just about the only professionals in America who make more money in their 20s than they make for the rest of their lives. The NFL has a real problem with retired players going broke, and making a habit of spending a fortune on nights out at age 24 is a good way to go broke by age 44.

    Still, in fairness to Johnson, it should be pointed out that this was not the same kind of “rookie dinner” tab that Cowboys veterans stuck Dez Bryant with in 2010. Johnson, the Eagles’ first-round pick last year, said that he paid for a large portion of the bill because he didn’t fulfill his “rookie dinner” tradition last year, and that older veterans picked up some of the tab as well.

    “It was kind of my idea, keep the tradition going,” Johnson said. “I didn’t pay the whole bill. I got help from Todd [Herremans] and Evan [Mathis], so just something I did for them. Ain’t no big deal to me. I probably should have gave it some clarity. When I tweeted it out, all I said was ‘rookie dinner.’ And they think I got pressured into doing it – this, that and the other. But that’s alright.”

    Kelce was drafted by the Eagles in 2011, two years before Johnson, and he said rookies picking up the check for a big dinner with veterans is an annual tradition. However, Kelce realizes that the situation in Miami last year, when Jonathan Martin left the team and Richie Incognito was suspended over hazing allegations that included pressuring Martin to pay for a vacation, it’s a sensitive subject.

    “It’s something that usually you take care of in-season. It’s kind of like the rookie’s first outing with the whole team. He’s kind of made the team. It’s usually right after that 53-man roster has been made. And then it’s kind of like your first bonding experience as a group. Usually it turns out great, but since that Miami scandal, everybody’s on high alert with that stuff,” Kelce said.

    The mess in Miami should have ended rookie hazing entirely. But it does still exist in the NFL, even if the players at that Philadelphia “rookie dinner” don’t think it was a big deal.
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