Despite Penn State Football lettermen Adrian Amos, Donovan Smith and Allen Robinson having each recently signing their second contracts with the NFL, they talked about their struggles with financial literacy and the business of football in Penn State’s HUB-Robeson Center Friday afternoon as part of Blue-White weekend.
Robinson, a wide receiver, signed a three-year, $42 million contract in 2018. Amos, a safety for the Green Bay Packers, signed a four-year, $37 million contract last month as well as Smith, an offensive tackle, who signed a $41.5 million contract extension with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Robinson, a second-round draft pick in 2014, emphasized the importance of “knowing your own value as a player once free agency starts and bullets start flying” because a decision sometimes must be made before the end of a phone call.
Amos reminisced upon playing through injury at Penn State to reach his goal.
“I wanted to play at the next level,” he said. He knows “there’ll be ramifications after football, but “that’s where the money comes in.”
Amos, Smith, and Robinson agreed that much of their financial literacy was learned through financial advisors or older players in the locker rooms.
Allen, admitting he did not “overly apply” himself in school, expressed frustration at the lack of money management education in high school and college, saying “If you can’t manage $100, you can’t manage $1 million.”
Smith did not know how to write a check when he left Penn State.
Amos has four younger siblings, and he is trying to teach them to value responsibility rather than “the awe affect.”
“Don’t look up to me because I’m good at football, but because of how I got good at football,” he said. Robinson chimed in, saying he “uses football to chase life goals.”
Amos, Smith, and Robinson each recognized the platforms they have as professional football players, but Smith pointed out that the platform only exists for about eight years.
Regarding the recent cases of abuse by NFL players, Robinson said it is disappointing that his colleagues have “a very big platform but a very short window to use it,” and they misuse it in that time frame.
Smith agreed, drawing upon the Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell contract situations and saying the risk for 20 or 30 seconds of attention is not worth it.
Despite these controversies being played out in the news, Robinson said there is rarely any talk about these matters inside the locker room because it is a “safe haven from the media.”
Smith nodded in agreement, saying it’s “like an unwritten rule” to check on your close friends and leave the conversation at that.