Carolina Panthers’ center Ryan Kalil, along with former teammates Jordan Gross and Geoff Hangarter, is helping out the youngeons. The three have published a book called The Rookie Handbook: How to Survive the First Season in the NFL, where they share their 30 years of NFL experience and stories with first-year players trying to survive the rigors of the league.
In a recent article published on The Players’ Tribune, Kalil shares a story about a 2nd year player’s attempt to prank veteran receiver Steve Smith.
My rookie year, a second-year player messed with Steve Smith. I forgot what this guy said or did, but we all thought Steve was going to explode. He didn’t, though. He didn’t say anything, just kept to himself. We were all really confused.
So we went out to practice, and when we came back, that other player’s entire locker had been cleaned out. All of his stuff was gone.
“Rookies, help me find my stuff! NOW!” He barked.
Steve had a big grin on his face, and he was giving us clues about where the stuff was. Only he was doing it in the form of riddles.
I don’t remember what they were, but the last one had something to do with the Titanic.
Sinking. Ice. Metal.
Yeah, the cold tub.
At the bottom of the tub was all of the player’s stuff, packed into a mesh bag, and tied to a 45 pound weight. We had to get in the freezing tub and basically deadlift his stuff out.
I learned pretty quickly to never mess with Steve Smith.
He wouldn’t go out of his way to prank anyone, he would just retaliate tenfold so that nobody else would ever mess with him again. I don’t know what inspired guys to try, but he set the precedent pretty early that if you do, bad things would happen.
Why isn’t any of this surprising?
Ryan shares a few other good stories in the article which you can read in its entirety here.