Robert Quinn couldn’t find his shirt. He had just dried off after showering following Wednesday’s practice and was looking for a simple white T-shirt to put on before he left the locker room for a conference call with the Dallas Cowboys media. Without finding the shirt he wanted, he quickly threw on another and left for his teleconference.
|Robert Quinn makes his entrance before a game at the Edward Jones Dome.|
When he returned to his locker a few minutes later, he was greeted by a few reporters and asked again, “Where’s my shirt?” That’s when a local television reporter suggested that he can just buy a new one with his new-found fortune.
Quinn, the Pro Bowl defensive end for the St. Louis Rams, was rewarded for his 19-sack season last year with a brand new four-year extension worth $65.6 million last weekend. But Quinn has not changed his purchasing habits and doesn’t plan to. The lure of designer clothing from a high-end department store does not appeal to the 24-year-old Charleston native.
“Money’s not going to change me. I go to Wal-Mart all the time,” said Quinn, who received a four-year, $9.4 million contract after the Rams made him the 14th overall selection in the 2011 NFL draft. “I’m trying to stay smart. Why spend $30 on the same T-shirt I can get for $2.”
Quinn has received some ribbing from teammates, including a meal in Tampa Saturday night when he was forced by the other defensive linemen to pick up the tab. While being interviewed on Wednesday, injured defensive end Chris Long repeatedly played a “cha-ching” sound using a cash register app on his phone.
“That’s just the type of guys we have here,” Quinn said. “Guys are excited for other players getting credit for things they do.”
Quinn and his wife, Christina, have a son, Robert Jr. Quinn said his new deal, of which $41 million is guaranteed, sets his family up for life but they do not plan on changing their spending habits.
“She’s kind of like me,” said Quinn, who as of Wednesday had yet to actually receive a check from his new contract. “It really hasn’t hit me. Once we get one of those blessed checks, there might be a little tear shed from me. She’s excited that we have a sense of security. I’m kind of at a loss for words because, like I said, it really hasn’t hit me yet.”
Quinn did joke that his wife is “probably shopping online all day,” but added that he and his wife are “excited to build toward their family plans.”
While Quinn vows to not change his spending habits to remain grounded, the Rams’ other Pro Bowl player from last season stays humble in a different manner.
|Rams punter Johnny Hekker|
Punter Johnny Hekker, who set an NFL record last season for net yards, once booted a 74-yard punt in 2010 while at Oregon State. Less than a year later, he recorded a punt of negative-four yards at Wisconsin. It’s the latter of the two he thinks about the most.
“I remind myself of it daily,” Hekker told me. “It keeps me humble. My brother doesn’t let me forget it, either.”
Hekker’s humility isn’t restricted to the football field. He is one of several Rams players active in the community and donates his time to numerous charities. He appeared in an NFL Play 60 ad this year, is part of a Kick Cancer campaignwith the other Rams special teamers – kicker Greg Zuerlein and long snapper Jake McQuaide – and he is hosting a karaoke night on Monday with linebacker Jo-Lonn Dunbar as part of the Kick Cancer initiative.
The only negative thing about Hekker’s off-field activities is that his failed attempt to match the young girl’s flexibility in the Play 60 commercial was “a legitimate effort.”
A lot has been made recently about a few high-profile NFL players and their off-field troubles. It’s good to know there are Pro Bowl players like Quinn and Hekker whose priorities keep their lives in order on and off the field.