NFL star Chris Long made headlines last year for donating his entire 2017 salary, $1 million in total, to charity. The move earned Long much-deserved praise, but he tells CNBC Make It that he hasn't always spent his professional football earnings so wisely.
Long, 33, is a defensive end for the reigning Super Bowl champions the Philadelphia Eagles, who kick off the new NFL season Thursday night with a game against the Atlanta Falcons. Long played in the NFL for over a decade, starting in 2008 in St. Louis, and he's earned roughly $92 million in total salary and other wages over his NFL career, according to Spotrac.
Entering his 11th season in the NFL, Long says he still remembers his "first big paycheck" in the NFL and what he spent it on. Long, who earned $2.9 million over his first season in the NFL, tells CNBC Make It that he used his first paycheck to lease a car.
"My first big paycheck — this is kind of funny — I bought a Cadillac DTS," Long says. "I thought it looked really comfortable."
The DTS, a full-size luxury sedan produced by Cadillac between 2006 and 2011, cost at least $43,000 in 2008, according to Autotrader. Long tells CNBC Make It that he chose to lease the sedan because it thought it was a more sensible choice than some of the flashier vehicles he saw his teammates buying at the time.
"I thought, like, 'I'm making a good choice here because I'm not buying the, like, [Hummer] H2 or the [Rolls-Royce] Phantom that a lot of my teammates were buying," Long says. "And it was the truth because I got tired of [the DTS] pretty quickly and [the price] didn't hurt too bad."
Long says he ended up ditching the Cadillac before his lease was up because he'd grown tired of the way it looked. "It was a really comfortable car, but it looked like an old man car and then I got some better taste and eventually sold it," he says.
In a 2008 interview, Long mentioned that he loves his Cadillac DTS for its "smooth ride" and he noted that he'd one day like to own a classic Lincoln Continental. Long's car collection at the time also included a 1983 Mercury Grand Marquis as well as a Hummer H2, he said, which means Long must have eventually caved and opted to buy something a bit more flashy (the H2 cost over $57,000 in 2008).
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