NFL rookies have an initiation process before becoming an official member of a team. One of those rookie requirements is that you take your position group out for dinner. And, no, not just any old dinner. This is the kind of dinner where veteran players can order what they want and sometimes even run that bill up to 30, 40 thousand dollars.
The rookie is left to pay the entire thing as he breaks in that big money contract. It’s like a welcoming to the NFL. During a recent appearance on “The Pivot Podcast,” New York Jets first-round pick and former Ohio State Buckeyes star Garrett Wilson mentioned how excited he is for the team dinner.
— Pivot Podcast (@thepivot) June 17, 2022
“They did tell me about the dinner. I’ve got to take all the receivers to a dinner, so that is going to be cool. I’m excited for that.”
As you can see Wilson is green to what really happens at these dinners. They are usually nothing more than a monetary hazing. And former players Ryan Clark, Channing Crowder and Fred Taylor let him on a few things.
Clark quipped, “It’s not going to be cool.”
Taylor followed, “You know they’re gonna run that bill up, like $75,000?”
Crowder also poked fun at the naive rookie, saying, “He thinks it’s his decision.”
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— Fred Taylor (@FredTaylorMade) June 17, 2022
As in Wilson believes he can control how much the dinner will cost, but he can’t.
Former Ravens WR Torrey Smith Bashes Rookie Hazing Dinners
Wilson being excited for the team dinner seemed to rile up former Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith. The speedy Smith bashed the notion of veterans running up the dinner bill at the expense of rookies. The former Maryland Terrapin and two-time Super Bowl-winning pass-catcher tweeted the following on the subject:
Rookie dinners are BS! I’m glad I had an OG that realized teaching me to blow money is STUPID! It does not prove you belong on a team. Shout out to @AnquanBoldin !
Dudes come into the league with no financial literacy and real problems but folks think 50k dinners are cool! NAH!
— Torrey Smith (@TorreySmithWR) June 21, 2022
Smith was lucky enough to have someone as well-respected around the league as Boldin to hip him to the situation. Some rookies are left out to dry and have nobody to school them. While we don’t know if it happened to Smith in Baltimore, it seems destined to happen to Wilson with his Jets teammates.
Wilson Expecting Big Year In Jets Offense
The New York Jets have the pieces to be a much-improved team. Led by second-year quarterback Zach Wilson, who showed a mixture of brilliance and all the inconsistencies and uncertainties that come with being a rookie, Gang Green is optimistic this season.
An improved offensive line and two nice tailbacks in second-year back Michael Carter and rookie Breece Hall should help Wilson’s maturation immensely. Wilson joins a receivers room that features Corey Davis, Elijah Moore, Denzel Mims and Braxton Berrios. It’s a room with speed to burn.
But Wilson, the No. 10 overall pick, is expected to be the bell cow of the unit, with his route-running, speed and great hands. At Ohio State, Wilson tallied 2,213 receiving yards and 23 touchdowns in three seasons.
Corey Davis chimed in on his new teammate Wilson in an interview with ESPN’s Rich Cimini.
“Dude is special. Dude is very special,” Davis said. “He’s got crazy routes, crazy hands and always focused. His separation is unbelievable. I’m glad we got that dude.”