A 308-pound NFL player explains why he drives a comically small used car that cost him $9,000

Baltimore Ravens guard John Urschel has one of the more unique stories in the NFL. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Penn State in three years and spent his senior year getting his master’s degree in mathematics while teaching Integral Vector Calculus Trigonometry during the fall semester.

He has been published in the Journal of Computation Mathematics and wants to get his Ph.D when his playing career is over.

He’s one of the smartest players in the NFL. He’s also one of the most frugal.

According to a profile by Childs Walker of the Baltimore Sun, he lives on $US25,000 a year and had a roommate last year to keep his expenses down. Urschel made $US564,000 in salary and bonuses as a rookie in 2014 after getting picked in the fifth round of the NFL Draft. While his rookie deal is worth $US2.3 million through 2017, only the $US144,000 signing bonus was guaranteed. If he gets cut, the Ravens don’t owe him a penny, so it appears he has decided to spend wisely.

Hence his car: a used 2013 Nissan Versa.

At the opening of Ravens training camp, Urschel tweeted a great photo of his ride compared to those of his fellow NFL players:

The luxuriousness of the cars aside, the sheer size difference is jarring. Urschel is a 6-foot-3, 308-pound man, what’s he doing in a small compact car?

ESPN Ravens beat writer Jamison Hensley got to the bottom of it. Urschel told him that the Versa — which he bought used for $US9,000 — is his “dream car” and that it’s plenty spacious.

His full explanation for why he drives it:

“It’s great on gas. It’s surprisingly spacious. And you know what the best feeling is? You’re driving into a parking deck, it’s near full and you’re on the first level and there is that space that everyone has passed because they said, ‘No, we can’t park in there.’ And I take my Versa and I just go right in there. I’m on the first level, parking lot full and everyone else is parking on the upper deck where the car is getting hot. I’m not even taking the stairs.”

Hard to argue with that.


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