Matt Elam working retail this offseason

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The Ravens made safety Matt Elam a first-round pick last year, a choice that brings a contract worth millions of dollars over the next four or five years and a high likelihood of future millions beyond that.

That hasn’t stopped Elam from thinking about life beyond football, however. Elam has designs on opening a sports merchandise store later in life and he’s doing some research about what he needs to know to make that happen this offseason by working as a part-time sales associate at a Finish Line outfit at a mall in Gainesville, Florida.

“Everybody was surprised when I started. They were like, ‘Why? You got enough money.’ But it’s not about the money. It’s just me building,” Elam said, via the team’s website. “I went to the store and I just talked to them and told them what my plan was. They were happy to hire me and they hired me two or three days later.”

Elam, who played his college ball in town at the University of Florida, said he’s run into plenty of fans since starting work but hasn’t taken advantage of the employee discount offered to those who work in the store. He also said he’s been learning a lot about the retail game, although it should be a few years before he needs to put what he’s learned into action as anything but a sideline to his football career.

24 responses to “Matt Elam working retail this offseason

  1. This story put a smile on my face. So many times we are reading about young players blowing all of their money, getting arrested, getting strung out on drugs, or just something else idiotic. Good on him for having plans for the future and realizing that learning a business from the ground up is invaluable. I now have a new player to root for.

  2. Sounds like a real smart kid.

    Too many of these athletes listen to their friends/families and start businesses like bars/restaurants with no idea how they are really run, how to make them not lose money etc.

  3. That’s pretty cool, and good for everybody’s benefit when the rich keep trying to get richer through working more and investing more. Maybe one day he can own an NFL team and play against Russell Wilson’s team.

  4. Unfortunately, there are probably dozens of people that NEED a job that could not walk into that store and based on who they are, get hired in such a short time frame. I understand what he is trying to do, but perhaps there is another way to get some exposure without taking up a paid spot on the roster of people just trying to survive and stay off welfare.

  5. Reminds me of former California Angels outfiielder Garret Anderson, who worked retail in he offseason his first few years in baseball, even after signing a multi million dollar deal. His reason: “I won’t always be playing baseball”.

    Good for Elam.

  6. Growing up in the 70’s, you often heard of pro athletes working retail, in the insurance industry and various other fields during the off season. I even remember reading in S.I. of a pitcher working at a gas station in the off season. These were not family jobs. They were necessary to pay the bills and to plan their futures. No way these experiences hurt anybody. Kudos to Elam. Don’t think we’ll be shaking our heads over him going bankrupt a few years after retirement.

  7. I saw his play last year – he should be spending every waking moment trying to get better at football.

  8. Sounds like a really bright kid, and there need to be more like him. Pro athletes have a daunting task ahead of them: they have to make the money that they make between 20-30 (if they are lucky to play that long) last the rest of their lives. They make more money in that slim decade than they will in the rest of their lives COMBINED. Amazing. He has the head to be thinking about his post-football career just after his rookie year and that needs to be praised. There need to be more like him.

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