Teammates told Lane Johnson he shouldn’t have tweeted dinner bill


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 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.

43 responses to “Teammates told Lane Johnson he shouldn’t have tweeted dinner bill

  1. Agreed, maybe he shouldn’t have tweeted the pic, but COME ONNNN!!!! Grow up people! Who cares if a little hazing goes on, its a right of passage! Quit being so whiny about every little thing!

  2. It would be nice if the NFL could spearhead some ideas to try and coordinate different ways that players could get a proper education and opportunity for good financial advice anyhow. The better the players manage their money, the better it is for the league and everybody involved. There’s a tremendous opportunity for a greater future for this game without even having to add new people or new teams, just enhance the nectar of what you’ve already got and let it stimulate the business environment in a natural and highly cost effective way.

  3. “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.”

    I don’t understand this sentence. Why can’t they get a regular job if the money starts running out? Why do we baby these multimillionaires? Let them go broke if they can’t handle a real job or invest wisely. Although, they could always join a lawsuit. Blech..

  4. This is why I’m not a season ticket holder. These guys burn through their cash, sue the NFL for various ailments when they run out, and then the NFL jacks up the prices/seat licenses. I sometimes wonder if teams that are stingy with contracts and that trade down in the draft a lot do so in part because it helps minimize this behavior or at least push the future bankruptees towards other teams.

  5. Not a big deal, but did a vet really order a $3000 bottle of wine? That’s a bit over the top.

  6. weeping: actually the nfl jacks up prices, no matter what. the owners have a long history of taking advantage of any leverage against either the players or the public; and this isn’t why you aren’t a season ticket holder. and the final sentence in indecipherable.

  7. “The NFL has a real problem with retired players going broke…” The NFL has a problem? Really? I think the players who end up broke have the problem.

  8. Not to mention you’re trying to correlate paying for a dinner to being harassed?

    The Eagles “rookie dinner,” is nowhere near the same as the Dolphins “hazing.”

    And no, rookie hazing shouldn’t be banned. It has been a part of sports since it’s inception. We all go through it at every level of sports we play, especially football.

    For modified and JV football, we used to have to be the first out of the locker room…we’d line up on the hill for stretching…and here would come the varsity squad, throwing us down the hill, peeing in our water bottles, taking our face masks, putting bengay in our jockstraps…doing anything to make us mad, which led to us being better men.

    It sucks, it’s no fun, sometimes people get hurt and that’s where a line needs to be drawn…but it’s sports, and regardless of what anyone says, especially those who never experience being part of a football team…it is, in a way, necessary…again, as long as nobody gets physically hurt.

    Getting mentally hurt? Go play soccer.

  9. These “rookie dinners” are ridiculous. Call it hazing, team building, welcome to the NFL rookie, whatever you want to call it but it is everything that is wrong with the NFL. All the veterans want to do is buy the most expensive meals and drinks and then laugh when they all walk out and the leave the rookie with the bill. Way to show him the ropes morons. Complete lack of class and serves no real purpose what so ever.

  10. I have absolutely no problem with these dinners. It’s a free country and they should be able to spend their money as they wish. I’m pretty sure a $3000 bottle is pretty much a waste on most of these clowns, but again, it’s their money. I think it was absolutely stupid for Johnson to publicize it. It just shows that these guys have absolutely no awareness. After all the Dolphin press last year, you would think they would know better. Let’s be honest. Most of these guys aren’t very bright.

    I also take issue that these guys need to make enough money to last the rest of their life. Why is that? Most of these guys “went” to University. If they are completely unable to be productive members of society after their football career, it’s truly a sad commentary on their life.

  11. They can’t just expense such things? When my boss takes out the office, it gets expensed.

    At the very least, it is a Tax write off as a work expense. Out of pocket client entertainment is Tax deductible.

  12. The NFL doesn’t have a problem with retired players going broke, retired players have a problem with themselves for going broke. You just can’t teach maturity a lot of times. Welcome to the real world.

  13. At a time when many families are struggling to eat, pay their bills and keep their lights on right there in the Philadelphia area…for them to go out and eat $17,000 in one sitting is low class. I have no problem with people earning every nickle they can, just don’t rub it in poor peoples faces. you would think the NFL would go over this with all the social media that goes on today…..

  14. Three guys took 15 other guys out to dinner most of whom are rookies to an expensive steak house at it cost 17,000 with drinks and a tip. That isn’t bad considering their combined weight is around 5,000 pounds.

  15. Hazing is a rite of passage every time someone is joining an elite group. Fraternity, military unit, sports team, even in business. Who hasn’t been given a crap task because they were the “new guy”? It’s how senior members remind junior members they are junior and it bonds the team as the senior members see the mental toughness of the junior members. They begin to see who they are, how they respond, and ultimately if they can be relied upon and trusted. It can be taken to the extreme and then it’s bad. Otherwise it happens and will always happen.

  16. This is why I’m not a season ticket holder. These guys burn through their cash, sue the NFL for various ailments when they run out, and then the NFL jacks up the prices/seat licenses. I sometimes wonder if teams that are stingy with contracts and that trade down in the draft a lot do so in part because it helps minimize this behavior or at least push the future bankrupts towards other teams.
    Yep you go it, they poor NFL has to raise ticket prices because of the lawsuits, man you are the kind of fan they love, how is the Kool Aid tasting

  17. To all the heaters here, entire cities go broke, cooperations go broke, every day people go broke, not always a matter of maturity

  18. This is a one time thing, who cares!!!! Qbs often buy their linemen several thousand dollar watches or guns or some other gift out of appreciation that totals more than 17 grand. The media is so stupid, they pick and choose their fake outrage

  19. Let them keep it up. The restaurant industry is thriving off these clowns overspending.

  20. So what’s Lane’s punishment for posting the bill on Twitter? Let me guess….he’s gonna have to them out to dinner again. Sorry Lane..

  21. “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.”

    Well then, here’s an idea. Stop forcing rookies to buy $17K dinners, along with all the other hazing that goes on.

    For several years, the Panthers had a tradition of taping rookies to goal posts during camp. The pictures were hilarious. How about doing that and stopping hazing there?

  22. There’s a difference between hazing and a rookie buying the vets dinner. HUGE difference.

    If the vets pressured the rookie, or in some other way “made” him pay then it probably falls into the category of hazing. If the dinner includes vets ordering $5000 shots of booze and otherwise trying their best to pump up the final bill, then it probably falls into the category of hazing.

    But if it is a group outing (or bonding as some put it) and it is all in fun and done with some class and enjoyment by all, then I don’t think it falls into the category of hazing.

    Is $17k a lot of a dinner out? Darn right it is. But is it hazing? In and of itself, no. No it isn’t. But one major thing is different now days.

    Before the new CBA when those high profile 1st round rookies ala Sam Bradford were getting $80M deals with $50M guaranteed and $18M signing bonuses, a $17k dinner tab is no big deal. Not even a $50k tab (although I think Bryant’s teammates were jerks about what they ordered). But these days when the contracts are slotted, those kinds of dinner tabs are out of line IMO.

    I think the rookie’s taking the vets out for dinner is a cool thing, but I also think it is up to the vets to be real leaders, huddle up together beforehand and lay down some “unspoken” ground rules that says, order what you want to eat. Order what you want to drink. But order it because you want it, not because you want to drive the bill as high as possible. And then all agree to share in the final cost for anything that goes over XYZ dollar amount (whatever seems reasonable).

    It’s all about being adults, and having a positive bonding experience.

  23. Everyone sure is making a big deal out of this! I can’t speak for everyone but I always learn the hard way.

    Maybe all this grief will make him realize his mistakes and he will learn from it.

    Or Maybe he will go broke. Either way I feel like everyone is as green with envy as his eagles jersey.

  24. The bill isn’t out of line considering the pay scale of the people involved. I would feel differently if he was a 7th round pick.

    The reality is many of us have gotten stuck with a check as part of a hazing… and been on the other side as well. Not anywhere near that big obviously but appropriate to the salaries of those involved. Now… 55k is just silly but I don’t think getting stuck with the check in and of itself is some great crime against humanity.

    All that being said, putting a picture of the check on Twitter is stupid. Expecting that people aren’t going to react negatively when that check equals average household income for 3 months is even more stupid. But part of maturing is doing something stupid and learning from it. And hat’s off to Kelce for telling him.

  25. Of course he shouldn’t have. Then NFL’ers could keep up with the charade saying what went on in Miami was far from the norm.

    And then people would buy it, to boot…

  26. And in a few years they will be suing the NFL for something or another. They will conveniently forget these largesses that helped contribute to their financial ruin.

  27. I bet if rookie contracts started at $500k…which gets hacked down after taxes,these guys would be less inclined to agree to dinner. I’m sure with some frugality, a guy could live well for the remainder of his days on $20 mil,but these guys don’t. They come from an environment where mom has to get a house and not work anymore,so not only is he paying taxes and utilities on his mansion,but hers as well. She needs a pink Escalade along with his 4 expensive cars that require insurance,upkeep and gas,plus mom needs some spending money for her new lifestyle…and then there’s the crew who require similar items. Those guys aren’t working or they “work” for the athlete. Toss in the weekly trip to the local club’s VIP room, undoubtedly child support,lawyer fees,agent fees,NFLPA dues and that $20 mil is gone in 6 or 7 years. I have minimal wants so I could live quite well until my dying day on that money and still have 90% left to pass on to my family.They need to look at guys like John Elway or Troy Vincent who increase their worth post football,by investing and working.

  28. Well GOD DANM! No wonder NFL players are broke after 5 years! 17,000 for a dinner?
    I would NEVER go out to eat with my teammates!

    Beyotch yall better be happy with some Domino’s!

  29. If that was Jonathan Martin he would have quit the team oh wait a minute … he did.

  30. poor rookies….spending .05% of their income on a nice dinner…..the equivalent of me, a working man, spending $100 on a night out….and I just KNOW that all of the commenters here have never spent that kind of money on a night of fun….

    We should give them some more money.

  31. All these folks here that are lucky if they earn $17,000 in 6 months are ridiculing millionaire gladiators for how they spend the money WE gave them. If you don’t like the “optics” of $17,000 dinners, then don’t spend money on the product. Simple as that. We stop spending, no more $17,000 dinners.

  32. queue silence as the hysteria proves to be just another media event (ref: Food for thought by Bowen on philly dot com today).

  33. What a joke. Who cares how much he paid? I sure as heck don’t and neither should you. It’s his money, he earned it and it’s his decision as to how the money is spent. This should not be considered in the same realm as hazing and far from a Ritchie Incognito racial hazing of a player. Some people have absolutely nothing better to do than bitch. Get over it and while your at it, get a life too !!!

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