It's become a tradition in the NFL for players to go out for an exorbitantly expensive meal to welcome rookies — and then stick them with the bill.
Houston Texans safety K.J. Dillon fell victim to such a stunt Monday night at a Pappas restaurant. The tab was a whopping $16,255.20.
Notable items on the bill include seven orders of sea bass with lobster and two orders of filet mignon, but the main price driver was alcohol. A total of 22 Hennessy Pardis Imperials cost Dillon — who says he doesn't drink — a cool $7,700. All Dillon ordered, according to tweets that have since been deleted, was a $13 Caesar salad.
Dillon also deleted a tweet that included a picture of the bill, but you can see a cached version via Google.
He might actually have gotten off easier than some. When Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant was a rookie, he reportedly refused to carry shoulder pads for veteran team members and was punished with a $54,000 bill.
Judging by his Twitter feed, Dillon didn't seem to take offense. But former NFL punter Adam Podlesh wasn't laughing. He replied to Dillon, tweeting that the stunt is further evidence of a culture that fuels a "bankruptcy epidemic" among NFL players.
The Houston Chronicle points out that Dillon is making the rookie minimum of $450,000 a year. "If Dillon tipped 20 percent then his credit card suffered a charge of $19,500, which is 4 percent of his yearly salary," the newspaper adds.
"That is the same relative spending as a $50k a year new employee spending almost $3000 on his co-workers," Podlesh tweeted.
Despite high salaries, athletes in major sports leagues like the NFL and NBA have much shorter peak earning periods than those in most other professions. Bad investments, exorbitant spending and expensive divorces can leave many former players empty-handed. A 2009 Sports Illustrated investigation found that 78 percent of NFL players had gone bankrupt or were under serious financial stress within two years of retiring.
For Dillon's part, he tweeted that the team veterans take him out for dinner once a week and that they "never asked for a dime. I got them boys." Still, he was eating cheap the next day.
In an earlier version of this story, we said that Philadelphia Eagles offensive guard Evan Mathis tweeted a photo of a $64,000 dinner bill that he left for his newest teammates to pay. Mathis did tweet such a photo, but later he admitted that his claim was a hoax.