Aussie NFL rookie Blake Muir finds new home on Atlanta Falcons practice squad

Australian NFL rookie Blake Muir had only been with the Atlanta Falcons a few months, but he quickly got a cautionary tale about exchanging Christmas gifts with teammates on a combined salary of $21 million.

The Sydney-born offensive lineman arrived in Atlanta in early November having spent much of the 2016 season in Green Bay on the practice squad. Though it was tough being cut by the Packers, the move turned out to be a blessing in disguise with the in-form Falcons, led by a stellar offense, currently look poised for playoffs football.

One of the first things he noticed in the Falcons locker room was how close the team was, and despite his late season arrival, Muir was welcomed into ‘The Brotherhood’ with open arms.

However, he also learned that celebrating Christmas with teammates on million-dollar contracts can be rough on a practice squad player’s wallet.

NFL PODCAST Hard Count catch up with Aussie Falcons offensive lineman Blake Muir about how the Atlanta locker room celebrate Christmas.

Speaking to Fox Sports Australia’s NFL podcast, Hard Count, Muir explained that while he was excited to be a part of Atlanta’s offensive line’s Christmas gift-giving, the minimum spend enforced did leave him a little uneasy.

“Minimum buy-in for the gift was $800 bucks. And if everyone judges it to be a crappy present, you have to buy it back from them. I wasn’t too happy about the $800 thing!” Muir laughed.

That’s over $1100 Australian, which is a lot of coin to part with for a practice squad player like Muir who is paid week-to-week, is not on a guaranteed contract and can get cut at any time.

Practice squad players earn a miniumum weekly wage of $6,900 in the NFL and though that might sound decent, it’s a pittance when compared to how much Muir’s teammates make.

Of the eight contracted offensive lineman at the Falcons, according to Spotrac, their combined annual salary total is $20,866,868. Plenty of cash to throw around there.

It wasn’t a regular gift exchange that Muir was getting into either. Forget your boring office ‘Secret Santa’, this was ‘White Elephant’, an entertaining (but brutal) twist on traditional gift-giving.

“A White Elephant is where everyone brings a gift and then you take turns in selecting gifts and you can steal someone else’s gift,” Muir said.

Muir (right) was on the Green Bay practice squad for much of the season before arriving in Atlanta.
Muir (right) was on the Green Bay practice squad for much of the season before arriving in Atlanta. Source: Fox Sports Australia

So what does one buy a new teammate for $800?

“I ended up buying an $800 drone,” Muir said.

The Aussie got the last laugh though, with the ruthless beauty of the ‘White Elephant’ saving his back pocket in the end.

“I managed to get it back for myself so I could exchange it and get my money back,” Muir said. “Another guy he got a real expensive watch and he did the exact same thing. I would love to fly around an $800 drone, but you gotta live through the off-season!”

Listen to the full interview with Blake Muir in the podcast above about the Falcons’ push to the playoffs, the Aussie’s move from Green Bay and the special ‘Brotherhood’ he’s found in Atlanta, or click here to listen on iTunes.

Melanie Dinjaski covers US Sport for Fox Sports Australia. Follow her on Twitter @MelanieDinjaski

Source: Fox Sports Australia

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