By now, everyone has seen countless "athletes spend an exorbitant amount of money at a team dinner" stories. And veterans often force rookies to cover the massive charges before they earn the contracts necessary to afford such lavish group gatherings.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers used that trope to their advantage. Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times tweeted a screenshot from Donovan Smith's Instagram story of a $26,357.31 steakhouse bill the offensive linemen accrued for rookies Korren Kirven and Cole Gardner to pay.
But take a closer look. Who would pay $12 for Brussels sprouts, $11 for creamed corn and $11.50 for asparagus? Also, who got the free child's ice cream?
As one Twitter user pointed out, no NFL team rosters enough offensive linemen for them to feasibly spend over $26,000, even if they're large men with big budgets and bigger appetites. This led Smith to reveal that they pranked the rookies with a phony check.
According to ESPN.com's Jenna Laine, the veterans picked up the actual $3,000 tab. A Ruth's Chris Steak House manager confirmed the restaurant's participation and said nobody ordered a child's ice cream on the house.
"We didn't have to pay for anything," Kirven told Laine. "We were shocked at first when we saw the bill. We thought we weren't gonna make it. But at the end, knowing they paid it was pretty cool of them."
The veteran linemen turned a cruel tradition into a funny joke. Otherwise, whoever ordered the fictitious $49 rib eye or $10.50 side of french fries would have had a lot of explaining to do.
[Twitter, h/t Yahoo Sports]