Ravens Player Selling Shoes at Retail Store in Offseason

Baltimore Ravens safety Matt Elam (right), a first-round draft pick from Florida last year, is working at a shoe store in the offseason to set himself up for life after the NFL. 

Elam wants to own retail stores after his playing career is done, so he decided to get a retail job at a Finish Line in a mall in Gainesville, Florida, where he, the former Florida star, is also finishing up credits to get his degree from Florida. 

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.”

Elam is a part-time sales associate, clocking about 20 hours per week. He works on the floor and occasionally stocks the shelves in the back.

According to the Ravens, "Elam was hired about a month ago after submitting online applications to five stores in the Oaks Mall. He then followed up with the manager at Finish Line and was hired a couple days later."

“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.”

Elam said he is learning a lot for his future ventures. 

“I didn’t realize there was so much organization, so much planning. I didn’t realize there was so much to it,” Elam said. “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.”

And he is not even using the employee discount.  

“I get a discount, but I barely use it because I don’t want them to think I’m just trying to use them,” he said. “I don’t want to give them that idea.”

Elam said he does not want to be one of those athletes who has nothing to fall back on after football, and that is why he is working 20 hours a week at the shoe store. 

“I know you can’t do football forever. I’m going to use it to benefit me when I’m doing so that my kids won’t have to worry about this,” Elam said. “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.”


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