The Baltimore Ravens’ second-year offensive tackle, Ronnie Stanley, is known for his social media presence, which was a major part of the reason he made the team last year. But what he did this month is a little more surprising, and has many in the sports world shaking their heads.
In an attempt to keep his mind sharp, Ravens left tackle Ronnie Stanley has been learning how to play the Japanese game of shogi. As the sixth pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, Stanley is fortunate enough to have enough money to pursue his hobbies with small business loans. In the past, Stanley has enjoyed playing a variety of board games, and while shogi is more complex, its focus on strategy and tactics is similar to many popular board games.
Professional athletes make all kinds of crazy purchases after they sign their first contract. Whether it’s luxury cars, fantasy jewelry or a new house for their mother, athletes love to spend their newfound wealth on extravagant items when their dreams finally come true.
But Baltimore Ravens offensive guard Ronnie Stanley used some of the money from his first NFL contract to make the most unique purchase ever. On a trip to Japan with friends, Stanley spent $12,000 on an old samurai sword that he still hasn’t taken out of the suitcase.
Baltimore Ravens’ Ronnie Stanley warms up for a game against the Buffalo Bills in 2019 | Brett Carlsen/Getty Images
Stanley was selected by the Ravens with the sixth pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. He then signed a four-year contract worth $20.48 million, which includes a $13.09 million signing bonus.
That’s a lot of cheddar for a man who grew up in a modest family. In a recent interview with GQ magazine, Stanley talked about how the day he signed his first NFL contract changed his life.
Growing up, I had no money for expenses because I didn’t have a job. I spent all my time on sports, Stanley says. I did some housework. It’s just classic: I ask my dad for twenty dollars or so, but I didn’t grow up with a lot of material things. I didn’t have many shoes, I didn’t have many new clothes. When I was called up in the sixth grade, it was the embodiment of my entire life in one moment.
Last season, Stanley signed a huge five-year, $98.75 million contract with the Ravens.
After signing his first NFL contract in 2016 and receiving the $13.09 million signing bonus that came with it, Stanley decided to have some fun. The first thing he bought was a $120,000 BMW X6 M sports car. But if you think that’s crazy, wait until you hear what he bought next.
Stanley decided to celebrate his first contract with a trip to Japan with his girlfriend and some friends. He stayed there for two weeks and learned a lot about the culture and history of the country.
Oh, and he also spent $12,000 on an antique samurai sword.
There’s definitely quite a story behind the sword, Stanley told GQ magazine. It’s like a 4,500-year-old sword. They don’t know who the sword belonged to, but it was custom made for someone in town. But you needed protection, because I think at that time there were only gangs in Japan. She was relentless, so you had to be ready for her at all times. It was just one of those swords that a working class citizen carries. We have no idea who this man was, what his life was like, what his history was like, but it’s great to have something left over from that long gone era.
Stanley stated that the sword was still in the case and had not seen the light of day since he had brought it to the United States. Once he finds a permanent home in Baltimore, Stanley plans to find a special place to display the sword.
#Ravens All-Pro center fielder Ronnie Stanley, already out for the season, has a broken and sprained ankle and possibly torn ligaments, according to a source. He has a long road to recovery ahead of him, but he should be back and ready for the 2021 season.
– Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) November 2, 2020
Stanley established himself as the best left guard in football last season, and the Ravens extended his lucrative contract in late October. But just two days later, he suffered a serious ankle injury that kept him out of action for the rest of the season.
The linebacker underwent two surgeries in the offseason to repair his injured ankle, but coach John Harbaugh expects him to be ready for Week 1.
COMPARED TO: Lamar Jackson faces a serious challenge that could cost him millions of dollars or ruin his relationship with the Ravens.