Baltimore Ravens safety Matt Elam has found himself an offseason job in retail, and it sounds like the work is much more than just a public relations stunt. Elam, a former first-round pick out of Florida, has been working at a Finish Line shoe store at a mall in Gainesville.
On Wednesday, Elam explained how it has always been his dream to open his own sports merchandise store. By getting a job at Finish Line, the 22-year-old is hoping to gain valuable experience.
“I just need to get retail knowledge,” Elam told BaltimoreRavens.com. “That’s basically what I’m doing. I’m getting that knowledge for when it’s time. Everybody was surprised when I started. They were like, ‘Why? You got enough money.’ But it’s not about the money. It’s just me building.”
Elam said he is unsure of how much he makes an hour (I don’t think he needs the cash). He works about 20 hours per week as a sales associate on the floor and occasionally stocking shelves in the back.
“I didn’t realize there was so much organization, so much planning,” he said. “I didn’t realize there was so much to it. I just thought you’d say you want a shoe, so then you’d go back and grab a shoe. There’s way more to it. You have number coding. You have color coding, all of that. I just realized that there’s more to it than I thought.”
How often do we hear about NFL players who retire, blow all of their money, and have no idea what to do with their lives? By working at a retail store, Elam is hoping to protect himself from a situation like that.
“I know you can’t do football forever,” he explained. “I’m going to use it to benefit me when I’m doing so that my kids won’t have to worry about this. I take a lot of pride in that because I feel like a lot of kids are blind to this, and don’t have these opportunities, and don’t have the knowledge. I hope I can open a lot of their eyes.”
This obviously isn’t the equivalent of Elam going undercover at Foot Locker and surprising fans. He’s actually learning from the experience and planning for the future. Good for him.