The tradition of making rookies in the NFL pay potentially exorbitant dinner tabs for their teammates has been getting more and more negative press in recent years. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers turned that tradition on its head and pranked a pair of the team’s rookies at a recent team dinner.

On Wednesday night, Tampa Bay’s offensive line went to dinner at Ruth’s Chris Steak House, which isn’t really known for being affordable. When the tab came, rookies Korren Kirven and Cole Gardner were expected to pay the roughly $26,000 owed.

Kirvin posted a picture of the bill on Instagram, which included more than $20,000 in alcohol.

…until their teammates revealed it was a fake bill, and the real bill was only around $3,000. Furthermore, the veterans picked up the check to take the rookies off the hook.

Left tackle Donovan Smith confirmed the bill was fake on Twitter.

Multiple teammates corroborated Smith’s account to ESPN. A restaurant manager confirmed that they were in on it, and that no one ordered the “child’s ice cream” served gratis.

The best part? The veterans told the two rookies — both undrafted free agents — that they would be picking up the tab. Their treat.

“We didn’t have to pay for anything,” Kirven said.

“We were shocked at first when we saw the bill. We thought we weren’t gonna make it. But at the end, knowing they paid it was pretty cool of them.”

Hopefully, there wasn’t another dinner with a five figure tab we don’t know about that the rookies were forced to cover.

[ESPN]

About Joe Lucia

I'm the managing editor of Awful Announcing and the news editor of The Comeback. I also made The Outside Corner a thing for six seasons.