Talk about a bad hit.
Ole Miss offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil on Thursday night literally watched as his value fell by millions of dollars after a video surfaced on his Twitter account, allegedly hacked, showing him smoking on a bong through a gas mask.
Tunsil, once considered a top draft pick, was widely expected by NFL draft prognosticators to be selected sixth overall by the Baltimore Ravens. Once the video surfaced, teams wanted nothing to do with him. Tunsil fell and fell and then finally the Miami Dolphins selected him as the 13th pick, saying they were aware of the video and that it was shot two years ago.
Tunsil avoided questions about the Twitter photo several times Thursday night, instead saying how blessed he was to have been picked by the Dolphins.
How much did Tunsil lose and what's at stake?
If he had been selected sixth, he would have earned $20.5 million, according to sports salary website Spotrac. Who got that loot? The Ravens instead selected Ronnie Stanley of Notre Dame. In turn, Tunsil's drop to 13th meant his total projected earnings fell to $12,801,661. That means that the bong picture may have cost Tunsil almost $8 million.
"He lost a fortune last night," a prominent NFL agent told CNBC, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation.
What's more, it's not just about his contract but sponsorships and his reputation.
"This was unfortunate and stupid and makes him untouchable as a marketing commodity," said Bob Dorfman, a sports marketing specialist at Baker Street Advertising.
As to how much Tunsil sacrifices, Dorfman said it's probably in the low seven-figures, whether it's local deals, speaking engagements or autograph signings,
And when you think things couldn't get any worse, after the Dolphins selected Tunsil, his Instragram account got hacked revealing an alleged screenshot of a text message chain between him and his Ole Miss coach, where he's asking for money to help pay for rent and his mother's electric bill, a violation of NCAA rules.
When asked if he had ever taken money from a coach, Tunsil added fuel to the fire. "I'd have to say yeah," he said.
Last year, sponsors wouldn't go near number 1 draft pick Jameis Winston of Florida State after a series of accusations against him. A year later, he still only has a couple of companies backing him.
Can Tunsil overcome this? Dorfman said playing well and winning can help, but as an offensive lineman he won't be as visible.
"Playing well and helping your team make the playoffs, all of those things can help."
CORRECTION: This story has been updated to reflect the amount that Tunsil's salary is estimated to have fallen. It has also been updated to reflect the correct spelling of Jameis Winston's name.