By Danny Cox
Rookies in the NFL can have it really well if they succeed and play up to their talents and earn their money. Life can be made high and pretty for them if they live up to expectations or even go above them and receive a huge paycheck in return.
They are all grown men by the time they hit the NFL, and they are able to make their life choices in order to be a success.
No matter what though, rookies in the NFL are still just that…rookies. There is no getting away from it, because whether you’re the very last pick in the NFL draft, an undrafted rookie, or the number one overall pick, you’re going to have it coming to you.
That’s exactly what happened to Chicago Bears’ rookie defensive end Shea McClellin when he was handed the tab at Mastro’s Steakhouse in Chicago on Tuesday night. The rookie and practice-squad defensive end Aston Whiteside were told to pick up the tab of a rookie night dinner.
Doesn’t seem like such a big deal for a first-round pick and practice squad guy, does it?
It really doesn’t seem like something too horrible, but McClellin and Whiteside surely didn’t expect to see what was on that tab. What they saw was a tab for dinner that included lobster bisque, a strip steak, some roasted chicken, and a grand total of $38,091.91.
Yeah, even splitting that down the middle doesn’t exactly make things balanced.
Luckily for the two rookies, it was just a joke. Veteran Bears’ defensive end Israel Idonije said “they didn’t know what to do with themselves.”
Idonije and a number of other Bears players then sat back for a few minutes while the guys tried to figure out exactly how to pay for it all. When they seemed to be at their wit’s end, the boys were told that the bill was a fake and the actual total was just more than $10,000.
McClellin and Whiteside got off really easy when looking back at the history of rookie hazing in the NFL. Most of the time, the rookies get their “welcome to the league” while in training camp by way of some phenomenal haircuts, spur-of-the-moment talent shows, and learning what it’s like to be taped to the goalpost and doused with ice water.
Others get it easier, as Von Miller of the Denver Broncos learned what it was like to carry the shoulder pads and equipment of veterans when he was a rookie in 2011. There were numerous pictures taken of him holding multiple sets of shoulder pads from last summer that appeared online.
Yet, he always did it with a smile on his face.
When Tim Tebow was a rookie with the Broncos back in 2010, he was given a haircut that was more fitting of his religious beliefs. Tebow enjoyed training camp with a haircut very similar to that of 18th century friars.
There were some other good rookie hazings and pranks over the years. Who can forget the picture of Miami Dolphins Rookie Travis Ivey as he talked to reporters after practice back in 2010? The sight of a grown man’s eyes barely being visible as he wore four or five sets of shoulder pads was priceless.
Rookie hazing is a harmful experience in the NFL, and never seems to get out of hand. In lower levels of football such as college and high school, hazing has gotten carried away at times and it puts a black eye on the practice.
When it is something simple and hilarious like handing rookies a fake bill for close to $38,000 though, it makes us remember that even the big and burly guys of the NFL have a sense of humor.
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Danny Cox knows a little something about the NFL, whether it means letting you know what penalty will come from the flag just thrown on the field or quickly spouting off who the Chicago Bears drafted in the first round of the 1987 draft (Jim Harbaugh). He plans on bringing you the best news, previews, recaps, and anything else that may come along with the exciting world of the National Football League. His work can be found on Examiner.com.