Baltimore Ravens safety Matt Elam is spending his offseason in an unusual way, working at a Finish Line store in a Gainesville area mall. Certainly it has to be the most unusual way an NFL player is spending his down time, but possibly the smartest.
— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) February 26, 2014
From the Ravens’ website:
The safety from Florida decided to get a retail job, and ended up getting hired at a Finish Line in a mall in Gainesville, Fla.
Since Elam was a kid, he has wanted to eventually open his own sports merchandise store and saw this as his way to get some first-hand experience.
“I just need to get retail knowledge,” Elam said. “That’s basically what I’m doing. I’m getting that knowledge for when it’s time.”
“Everybody was surprised when I started,” he said. “They were like, ‘Why? You got enough money.’ But it’s not about the money. It’s just me building.”
Aside from working 20 hours at the store he is also taking classes at the nearby University of Florida, where he played his college football, to finish up his degree. He also says he rarely uses his store discount because he doesn’t want his manager to think that is the only reason he works there.
Fans have also begun to flock to the store to get autographs from the local hero.
“A lot of people have started recognizing me,” Elam said. “Kids will come in for pictures and fans will come in asking for pictures, autographs. People will be buying stuff just for me to sign it. It’s pretty exciting.”