SportsNFL's Jalen Ramsey on the Sneakers, Free Food, and Training Camp Dangers of a Rookie Life
Welcome to Part 1 of a new series called Pick Six where we tag along with the Jaguars' dynamic cornerback, who's as exciting off the field as he is on it, giving GQ an exclusive look at what it's like living life large as an NFL rookie.
Here's what has happened to Jalen Ramsey since the explosive DB and intriguing player to watch for this upcoming NFL season told GQ he should be drafted with the No. 1 pick in the 2016 NFL Draft:
He did not go #1.
Instead, he went a still impressive #5 to the Jacksonville Jaguars, after the Los Angeles Rams, Philadelphia Eagles, San Diego Chargers, and Dallas Cowboys passed on his talents. He wasn't upset to slide past Los Angeles and San Diego—"Those state taxes kill you!"—but he had a feeling he'd go to the Cowboys. Since they passed on him, he had some fun at their expense recently…
…but says that everything worked out for the best with his going to Jacksonville.
The morning following the draft he got to fly with his mom and dad on a private jet for the first time. Since, he's been settling into Jacksonville where he's got a new place and a man cave that is "really nice and would be my spot if I had any furniture in it. But I don't."
He was given the highest Madden rating (82) of any NFL rookie, which he says is dope because "now I don’t have to create myself and make myself better on the game. I’m already decent." But he made sure to note that once the season starts he'll be paying attention to make sure they are updating his ratings accordingly.
In real life, things have not gone quite as smoothly. Much to his chagrin, he was assigned jersey #38, which he says either belongs on a safety or "you got to have dreads to wear." After not being able to convince teammate James Sample to give up the coveted Jordan #23, he settled for #20 instead.
Coming off a recent knee surgery to repair a meniscus tear, Ramsey has been limited in training camp and was held out of the Jaguars first preseason game against the Jets, the first time he's had to sit out a game "since forever" (more specifically, he tells us it's the first time since he sat out his sophomore season in high school). But he says that now, health-wise, he's a nine out of 10 and for Jaguars fans not to worry: "I know by the time September 11 rolls around and it’s time to play the Packers, I’ll be 100% for sure."
We caught up with the rookie as he was waiting for some furniture to be delivered, before heading off to a dentist appointment—the oh so sexy trappings of a glamorous NFL lifestyle—as he gave us six highlights of his rookie life right now.
1. Song on Repeat
“Ultralight Beam” by Kanye West. That was the song I walked out to at the draft, actually. That’s my song right now too because I still feel like I’m living on a high. I still listen to it daily. It's also what I chose to be played during player announcements of our games.
2. Clothing Grail of the Moment
Gold is my favorite color. So of course this being the Olympic year, Jordan* sent us the Olympic Package, but they also sent us the Elite Package, which has all the gold stuff. The Gold Tongue 5’s and the Gold Low 11’s. I’ve been on those heavy right now. Just rocking my J’s.
* Jalen is signed to Team Jordan.
3. Biggest Rookie Mistake
The first week of camp we did 1-on-1’s and Allen Robinson just broke me. That was probably the worst I’d been broke. He gave me the business. But it’s been good going back and forth with him now. I’m not really nervous anymore, to be honest, because I go against a top-five receiver everyday in practice.
4. Your “Oh, Okay, So This is What My Life is Like Now That I’m an NFL Player” Epiphany
As a joke, I tweeted a snack I was eating. Vienna sausages with some Powerade, Hot Cheetos, and Mike & Ike's.
Immediately, Carrabba’s and a couple other restaurants hit me up and were like, “Hey, come get some better food on us.” They actually delivered me a full meal, catered. Me and a few friends. We still have leftovers. And I was like, “Oh, okay! People actually look at my tweets. " Some people actually take it seriously, and now I’m about to get a good free meal. Mike & Ike's sent me tons of candy because they were like, “We’re glad you love candy. Hopefully this will last you the camp.” Skittles sent me a bunch. All the candy I’ve gotten will probably last me and all the Defensive Backs in the DB room until the first three weeks of the season at least.
5. Pop Culture Guilty Pleasure
It’s called Zoo. I couldn’t tell you the actors and actresses names, but it’s real, real good. It’s like the animals turn and they figure out that if they all work together, they can take over the world and kill humans. Julius Thomas, our tight end, he got me started on it a while back when it was in the off season. I was at his house in California when he turned it on, I was like, “What is this?” But I started it and ever since, I can't stop watching.
6. Rookie Spoils
I’ve really been spoiling myself with shoes lately. I need to stop but I’m seriously addicted to shoes. It’s probably in the 30s to 50s range, the number of pairs I've gotten since the draft. I keep all the shoes I can get in the world. I didn’t use to really dress up too too much, but I’ve ventured out to getting dress shoes and nice casual shoes to wear and things like that, which I usually wouldn’t have done because I didn’t have the money to do. Now I do. So I’ve gotten a little fancy.