Johnson: Rookie Dinner Bill ‘No Big Deal’

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Lane Johnson doesn’t see what all the fuss is about.

Over the weekend, the Eagles’ second-year right tackle Tweeted out a dinner receipt from Del Friscos that totaled $17,746.86. The Tweet got picked up by a number of outlets and blew up more than Johnson anticipated.


"It was kind of my idea, keep the tradition going," Johnson said. "I didn’t pay the whole bill. I got help from Todd [Herremans] and Evan [Mathis], so just something I did for them. Ain’t no big deal to me.

"I probably should have gave it some clarity. When I Tweeted it out, all I said was ‘rookie dinner.’ And they think I got pressured into doing it - this, that and the other. But that’s alright."

During the season, the offensive linemen go out to dinner every Thursday night and play credit card roulette, Johnson said. Herremans told his teammates the tradition of rookie offensive linemen taking their peers to dinner has been going on for awhile with the Eagles.

"It’s something they did coming into the NFL," Johnson said. "Really no pressure. I didn’t have to pay for the [whole] meal. It was just something I did. But usually any time we get a chance to go out and eat, it’s always a good thing. We did it throughout the season. This time the check was a little bit more than the average."

Added Jason Kelce: "It’s something that usually you take care of in-season. It’s kind of like the rookie’s first outing with the whole team. He’s kind of made the team. It’s usually right after that 53-man roster has been made. And then it’s kind of like your first bonding experience as a group. Usually it turns out great, but since that Miami [Dolphins] scandal, everybody’s on high alert with that stuff.

"The bottom line is it was a team function. Nobody forced Lane to do that. A lot of the times, this is with any profession, I feel like when you get a promotion or get a raise or something like that, what do you do? The first thing you do is you take out your family, friends, people around you that you care about. Like I just signed a big deal, I’m gonna do something for these guys. I’m not just gonna take everything. Obviously there’s other people that contributed to me getting a bigger deal. So it gets portrayed in the media, they like to act like they have a clue of what’s going on in our locker room. But the fact of the matter is we have a really tight-knit group of guys, and Lane was more than happy to do that."

When Kelce was a rookie, he, Danny Watkins and Julian Vandervelde took the linemen to Barclay Prime.

"Danny paid the most because he was a first-round pick and had the highest signing bonus," Kelce said. "And then me and Julian split the rest of it."

Asked why they didn't do Johnson's rookie dinner last year, Kelce said: "We tried to do it during the season, but it gets into… I mean obviously we’re drinking some alcohol, having a good time, and in-season that’s not the way you’re doing things. Usually you’ll do it on like a Thursday game. You’ll do it that week on a Friday because you have plenty of time to rest. Guys are getting out of town a little bit after a Thursday game. This was the first time we had enough guys in town to where people weren’t gonna miss it."

The sense from the linemen was that the whole thing is really no big deal, although Kelce admitted Johnson probably didn't need to Tweet out the receipt.

"No, I would not have," he said. "And that’s something we’ve already talked to Lane about. You generally don’t want to Tweet that out, but bottom line, we’re not trying to hide anything either. He Tweeted it out. It is what it is. There’s nothing that we’re trying to hide here."

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  • Joe from Easton

    $17k…sheesh, better have been some good steak. Those big hogs deserve it though. They need their protein to keep Nicky Touchdown (aka 27/2 aka Nickfolean Dynamite aka Foles2Sproles aka IgotaconcussionandwokeupthinkingIwasPeytonManning) upright and scoring TD’s!

    • Corey Dawson

      Ever been to Del Frisco’s? I can guarantee they were good steaks. Been there a few times for big family functions, and the food is always outstanding.

      • Joe from Easton

        Never have. I’ve had some good steaks (mostly on vacation), but I’ve always wanted to step it up for something special. I want to go somewhere that I can get a dry aged cut or some Kobe / Wagyu beef. Most I’ve ever paid for a steak (a la carte) was about $50. I’ll need to do better than that for my next culinary experience.

        • aub32

          I don’t know much about booze being so much better when you pay for a $1000 bottle vs. a $50 bottle, but steak is definitely so much better when you pay more. Though I can’t say I’ve paid much more than $85 for a steak.

          • Joe from Easton

            Yea I bought a filet on vacation last year for $64.00 bucks and it was money. In all honesty though it’s all about the cut. If I could get quality beef like that in my home I could cook it as good or better than any restaurant. I’m quite confident in that statement. I looked into ordering some dry aged stuff but it’s like $99.00 a pound. Would have to be quite the occasion.

          • aub32

            I hear you. I can cook the crap out of a steak, but if I’m not mistaken some restaurants, Ruth Chris for example, cook their steaks in super oven that heat up to ridiculous temperatures. So though I agree the cut has a lot to do with the steak, I think that equipment play a role as well.

          • Joe from Easton

            Yea at a certain point temperature becomes an important variable. I know one of the better steakhouses in my area boasts about having a grill that reaches temps of 1500º F. I know at home I can get a cast iron (my preferred method for searing steak) up to about 500º maybe 550º F and I get a mean steak off of that bad boy. For me the most important thing when cooking a steak (or any meat that you’re searing) is letting it come to room temperature first and liberally seasoning the surface.

          • Rambler

            My “go to” at-home method… Costco USDA Prime steaks (either NY Strips or Filets, but I have heard their Ribeyes are great too)… very simple seasoning rub (salt, pepper, onion/garlic powder)… reverse sear on a grill. If you do not know how to reverse sear, I highly recommend learning it. I absolutely swear by it for any cut of meat at least an inch thick. For a very detailed explanation, I love this guy’s website… http://amazingribs.com/tips_and_technique/cooking_temperatures_and_reverse_sear.html

          • Joe from Easton

            I’ve seen the reverse sear method used. It’s basically slow-cooking and then hard searing to get your crust, right? I’ll have to give it a shot. Seems to me that having a room temperature piece of meat and then hard searing it should achieve the same thing though. Thanks for the tip. I’m always interested in trying new things.

          • Rambler

            Yes sir, that really is the gist of it. I have a science background, so I just love how that website talks about the actual science behind it. I certainly am not an accomplished chef, but am a fairly decent cook. Ever since I started perfecting the reverse sear, my guests have loved it. One other thing that I learned is key is to have a decent meat thermometer. It really takes out the guesswork as to when to pull off the steak.

          • Joe from Easton

            Yea I’m old school in that regard. I should get a thermometer, but I just use the “press test”. After a few (few, haha) steaks I’ve kind of learned what different levels of doneness feel like. I wouldn’t call myself an accomplished chef because I don’t run or cook in a restaurant, but I do pretty darn well for a home cook. I gave it a read and the scientific aspect is certainly fascinating. Good read for sure. I’d imagine if you’re an apartment person that you can reverse sear by using the oven and good skillet too?

          • Rambler

            Yep I used to be old school with the press test too. Just wanted to get a bit more consistent and precise with it, hence the thermometer purchase. Trust me, my buddies rag me when I break out the thermometer. Small price to pay. Yes I have never tried it indoor, but I am sure the same concept applies… maybe heat the oven to 300 degrees and cook the steak a bit, then sear it on the hot skillet. Might actually try it myself.

      • FluxCapacitor

        I’m a huge Ruth’s Chris fan…as good / better? Never been to Del Frisco’s.

        • NickS1

          Been to both, RC a little more, but DF is definitely better, with a far superior wine selection as well. Plus, for guys, the wait staff is more appealing at DF.

    • cliff henny

      IgotaconcussionandwokeupthinkingIwasPeytonManning…HAHA…need to hire Thomas Hearns to drop Nicky D every Friday night then

      • Joe from Easton

        Nicky D aka Big D!ck Nick aka Nicky Niner aka Big Pole Foles

        • cliff henny

          how can Eagles not win….we have ‘The Big Package’…big D!ck Nick and Big Balls Chip

          • Joe from Easton

            hahaha

    • Ark87

      a lot of it consisted of 19 oz. of Remy Martin Louis XIII at $225 per oz. Coming frm a humble background, this just blows my mind.

      Most of it was booze,

      A $3500 bottle of cabernet
      Another bottle of cab for $3000
      and someone cheaped out with a third 2,600 dollar cab

      • Joe from Easton

        I just can’t fathom spending like that on alcohol. Can it really be that much better than a $100 bottle of liquor or wine (which is still expensive in my opinion)? I’ll never know I guess.

        • OldDocRoss

          Neither can I (fathom it) but if I was earning silly money I’d probably do it. In fact I’d definitely do it.

          Not as a regular thing of course. Unless it turns out $1500 wine really *is* that much nicer in which case, yeah, probably as a regular thing.

          • Joe from Easton

            Yea I get it. I’m not getting on Lane for doing it.

            I said on a different thread that based on his $6.6 million income so far this is equivalent to a guy making $50k a year popping for a $128.00 dinner. In that respect, I do this pretty often lol.

            I truly do just wonder if it’s (the booze) is that much better. I know I’ve bought $50+ bottles of wine for special occasions and drink <$20 bottles regularly with dinner on a weekend and don't find much of a difference. Maybe I just don't have the pallet for it.

          • OldDocRoss

            I highly doubt it can be that much better. Think you’re mostly paying for the age/scarcity of things rather than the quality. I’m pretty much signed up to the “There are but 2 types of wine” club.

            EDIT: Stupid HTML

          • Joe from Easton

            clicked the link… don’t get it..?

            yea, I believe you’re right about the scarcity / age thing. It’s value add. If you’re loaded then why wouldn’t you blow money to say, “my whiskey / wine / scotch / whatever is older and more rare than yours!”?

          • OldDocRoss

            Fixed it. Tried to be smart and use hypertext to avoid the YouTube vid embedding, but was scuppered by the fact my HTML skills suck.

          • Joe from Easton

            Hahahaha

          • Maggie

            With a pallet and a forklift you could take home a dozen cases of wine!

          • southy

            Quick note on the quality/price of wine:

            A restuarant is going to mark the bottle up about 300% (they get almost no wholesale discount), so a $3k bottle at Del Friscos will be worth about $1000 retail.

            At a wine store you are almost sure to find any number of sub-$100 bottles of wine that you like better than that $1000 bottle they are serving you, simply because wine is so subjective and there isn’t what you could call a “measurable” quality difference above $100-150 a bottle.

            The reason some bottles get to be that highly priced is due to age (even so, for aging wines they typically DECLINE in quality past 7-9 years old), type of wine/amount of supply, and prestige of the producer. There needs to be something “special” about it beyond just being good wine.

            Often it bugs me when you hear about people spending thousands on a bottle unless they know what they’re getting into. It’s not likely to appeal to your specific taste in wine, and there’s a real solid chance that a 20yr old bottle is bad because cork is just unreliable. The only good thing about the restaurant markup is you can send the wine back if it’s bad – if these guys know enough to tell when that’s the case.

        • Ark87

          One day when I make it I’ll let you know, or if you make it first, make sure you come back to tell me.

          • Joe from Easton

            If I make it like that I’ll be coming back here and gathering contact info for all the regs and we’ll have our own Eagles team building dinner.

          • aub32

            Amen to that brother. lol

          • Joe from Easton

            Even #7 will be invited, but he has to wear a Foles jersey and say grace at dinner.

          • aub32

            LMFAO. Aww man that would be hilarious.

          • Joe from Easton

            I play the lottery twice a week. It could happen!

          • dnabrice

            They’re both Christians, so I think either could handle it.

          • Kev_H

            This reminds me of a story from an old book, The Millionaire Next Door. In a nutshell two scholars set out to study rich people to see how they can best be marketed to. The conclusion was that the high wealth people were very frugal and modest in their tastes (their grown children are the opposite).

            Preparing for the first focus group, the researchers weren’t sure what to order for catering. They asked a guy scheduled to participate what he liked to drink. He responded “beer.” So they asked him what brand and he said he had two favorite brands- Budweiser and free.

    • Andy

      Most of the $ was spent on wine.

    • dnabrice

      The steaks weren’t the biggest part of the bill. 24oz Porters were $58. 32oz ribeyes were 89. The wine was the pricey part. A Screaming Eagle Cab…$3,500. And they had a bunch of Remy Martins Luis VIII, $100 a shot….

  • cliff henny

    $17k, hope they ran the bill up on the Fireman

  • OldDocRoss

    I think this piece from PFT might be the low/high point of reporting on this story:

    http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2014/06/09/lane-johnson-gets-touchy-about-criticism-of-his-17747-dinner-bill/

    It’s tough to list all the silly things about it, but in no particular order:

    1. The writer says Johnson’s original tweet attracted criticism, and as supporting evidence provides a link to another article by…..himself.

    2. The writer implies Johnson tweeted the bill to show off that he could afford to spend big on a dinner. So no chance Johnson was just having some fun with what he knew was a silly amount to spend.

    3. He says the original tweet implied Johnson paid. It didn’t. It said “Rookie Dinner”. There is no implication of who paid there at all. The writer made an assumption and wrote an article on the back of it. And was wrong.

    4. He says Lane shouldn’t tweet things like this if he doesn’t want them to comment on his business. That’s fair, but he then goes on to imply Johnson was unhappy because people thought his boasting was garish. He wasn’t, he was pissy with people who wrongly leapt to the conclusion that he was forced to pay the bill.

    5. Not having learned his lesson on the conclusion jumping from his original article, the writer then finishes up with “ZOMG, what if Lane goes broke like these other guys??!”. Based on one bill. Which he admits he still doesn’t know who paid.

    Just stellar work all round.

    • ray jay

      slow news day…

    • EaglefaninAZ

      And anyone that cares even a little is a very large puddle of Summer’s Eve. The “Spring Flowers” one. Not the other flavor.

  • Andy

    I guess they didn’t draft a lineman so Johnson has to pay for another year. I’m surprised that that the two veteran lineman who DID get big, new deals (JP and Kelce) didn’t kick in to celebrate!

    • Maggie

      The article states they didn’t get Lane last year so it was this year in pre-season. Did you not read all of the piece?

      • Andy

        I did read the piece for comprehension. I was making a joke in the first sentence of my comment about them not drafting a lineman.

        The second sentence was more serious, as Kelce explicitly said “A lot of the times, this is with any profession, I feel like when you
        get a promotion or get a raise or something like that, what do you do?
        The first thing you do is you take out your family, friends, people
        around you that you care about. ”

        I found it ironic that he would say that after a dinner where Lane paid most of the bill, and the article states that Herremans and Mathis (the two lineman who didn’t get big raises this offseason) also contributed to the tab but he and Jason Peters, who both did get contract extensions (i.e. a promotion or a raise or something) were the only two starting lineman who didn’t reportedly pay for dinner.

  • aub32

    I can’t wait till the next time I’m asked to pick up an expensive tab and get to drop the line, “Who do you think I am? Lane Johnson?”

  • septa_rida

    Del Frisco’s has a nice bar and burger too.

  • Natalie S.

    I don’t understand how people say this is “no big deal” and “rookies have the money so why is it an issue.” What I have to say is ALL the players have the money. They make enough that if they want to go out and blow $500 on a meal for themselves, no big deal. Why do they need to have or expect younger players to foot the bill?

    Just because they are pro athletes does not make this kind of using and power over younger players okay, no matter how much money they make. Now what about the college players who see this and think its okay to expect their rookies to pay for their night out drinking or dinner? Or what if I’m the new person at an office and the rest of my coworkers go out to dinner and expect me to foot the bill for the entire meal and drinks. What if its all the people who have positions above me and I am the entry level person? That would be ridiculous. When are we going to start looking at and treating professional athletes as just that, professionals. This is their job! This is not high school or college. Boys will be boys won’t cut it here. They should be men.

    These players need to act like adults and professionals. And the NFL (and NBA and MLB) need to expect players act as such. Main point, if they are going to be extravagant, they should do it on their own dime

  • EaglefaninAZ

    Move along. Nothing to see here. Sheesh… most boring article on this blog EVER. Bar none.
    Get back to the real work at hand, boys. I’m counting on this page for all of my Eagles news. Sheil, I think perhaps you thought that “it must be addressed since it’s such a big deal in the other media’s offerings” but all you did was drop to their level.
    Count me as thoroughly disappointed.

  • dc

    “So it gets portrayed in the media, they like to act like they have a clue of what’s going on in our locker room.” this is so true. the media doesn’t have the first clue what is the real story with things like this. media makes up stories and 99% of the time the stories are false. dirty laundry/. parasites and leaches.

  • UKEagle99

    The steaks were cheap it was the wine & the Cognac that ran the bill up! Effectively 7 bottles of red wine and 1 litre of Cognac, those were some happy lineman with sore heads the next day!

    Good for them, glad they did it out of season as well, very professional!

  • Andrew

    Why do people care what grown men spend their money on?