Cristal Clear

New England Patriots defensive tackle Richard Seymour once described the hazing which NFL rookies could expect to face: at the very least, they would have to run errands for veteran players and carry their sweaty pads. In some cases, they might be the object of semi-serious violence (it is, after all, a veteran's job which a rookie is trying to win.)

One night, Seymour recalled, the Patriots rookies were asked to take the veterans out for dinner. The veterans ate "aggressively" and drank Cristal champagne.

Seymour's share of the tab? $15,000. That, he later recalled, was the moment he decided to put himself on a budget.

[Rookie players also quickly learn to carry at least two cellphones: one for family and "real" friends, the second sometimes called a "girlfriend phone."]

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