Did an NFL linebacker truly surrender football for Pokémon cards?

Image of Las Vegas Raiders linebacker Blake Martinez in his last game, a loss to Jacksonville at TIAA Bank Field on Nov. 6, 2022

Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal/Tribune News Service by means of Getty Images

As 2nd represent previous professional football gamers go, it’s tough to defeat accumulating — and also turning — Pokémon cards worth 6 number amounts.

It’s definitely far better than obtaining snagged about by poor groups, which is where Blake Martinez discovered himself momentarily straight year. At completion of October, the seventh-year linebacker out of Stanford marketed an unusual Pokémon card at public auction for $672,000.

Ten days later on, Martinez, 28, a starter that had actually simply authorized with the Las Vegas Raiders, relinquished the NFL.

Did stealing $600 grand for a Pokémon card truly guide a professional football gamer right into layoff? We’ve connected to Martinez to ask him that straight, yet truthfully, it appears possible! Considering Martinez’ details scenarios, anyhow.

The timeline

Back at the start of August, Martinez held a mystery bag unpacking of his Pokémon trading cards, which he started accumulating as a child. “Look what I found in my basement!!” he said on Instagram, displaying the “Swirllustrator,” a very uncommon, Japan-just holographic card starring Pikachu; expert state less than 40 are recognized to exist. The exact same kind of card sold for $900,000 back in February.

At the moment Martinez exposed the card — we’ve asked when he really obtained it, and also for just how much — he was still a participant of the New York Giants. Martinez tore knee tendons 3 games right into the 2021 period, and also headed right into training school in the third year of a $30.7 million contract with the Giants. However, just $19 numerous that was ensured, and also keeping that currently paid, it implied the Giants can reduce him outright, as if he was a newbie attempting to make the group. So they did.

When did Martinez really obtain this card?

In an Instagram video published Oct. 25, Martinez stated he started accumulating Pokémon cards when he was 6 years of ages, avoided the pastime at some time throughout his childhood years, after that came back right into it, like lots of people did, throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

At initially he mosted likely to discover his childhood years collection yet found that his mama — in a tale so typical it’s nearly saying — had actually provided away or tossed them out. He buckled down adequate concerning accumulating Pokémon that he began a “breaks” business (a dealership obtains purchasers for a box of unopened cards, after that opens them, and also the purchasers are granted the materials. The opening is typically carried out in an on the internet occasion.)

Through this, he satisfied a dealership of uncommon things. “He presented me a bunch of different trophy cards, and the Swirllustrator was one of them,” Martinez stated. He didn’t state just how much he spent for it. (Martinez calls it the “Swirllustrator” due to 2 little swirls in the art work that differentiate the card.)

Is it truly worth greater than an NFL starter makes?

On Oct. 4, the Raiders grabbed Martinez for a one-year, $1.12 million deal, none of that ensured. Around this moment, Martinez’s Pokémon Illustrator returned rated a 9.5, “Gem Mint” in card enthusiasts’ parlance. The Illustrator that cost $900,000 in February was rated a 7.5. Martinez rather fairly thought he had a card worth greater than his take care of the Raiders.

Martinez, in a conference at Pawn Stars’ Gold & Silver Pawn on Oct. 27, speculated that it could fetch $1.5 million at public auction. (Austin “Chumlee” Russell, a Pokémon collection agency himself, stated just it was “Out of my league.”) By after that Martinez had actually noted it with Goldin, an across the country salesclerk of high-value antiques. The winning quote claimed Martinez’s card for $672,000 — a great cash advance, yet rather frustrating because of the Feb. 28 sale. Then once again, Pokémon trading cards have actually been a very unstable market because the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, especially when celebrities get involved.

More notably, if Martinez really began a service to support his passion in Pokémon card accumulating, that can have been the oblique indicate calling it a job — particularly provided his injury background, the capacity for even more (and also even worse), and also the absence of ensured cash.

Did Blake Martinez truly retire after offering this card?

Yes, but not immediately. The card marketed Oct. 29; Martinez began the Raiders’ following game, a 24-0 loss at New Orleans, after that can be found in off the bench Nov. 6 to acquire 11 takes on, playing just about 7 of his group’s breaks on protection.

With the incumbent starter on the damaged checklist, Martinez seemed obtaining a great deal extra playing time. Whether this was a professional or disadvantage in his eyes is unidentified. On Nov. 10, he retired, a day after missing out on method “due to personal reasons.”

Although not typical, it’s additionally not rare for NFL players to retire in their prime — especially at high-impact placements. Carolina Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly retired at age 28 after an eight-year job that consisted of 5 first-team All-Pro choices.

San Francisco linebacker Chris Borland retired in 2015 after simply one year in the organization, ending the threats to his lasting health and wellness weren’t worth it. Linebacker colleague Patrick Willis quickly adhered to at age 30.


Source: Polygon

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