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A Super Bowl Champion Finally Gets His Money

Former NFL running back, Philadelphia Eagle, and Super Bowl champion Jay Ajayi had one of more tragic career arcs in recent memory. Ajayi exploded into stardom in 2016 during his second NFL season, but his time at the top was not long-lived.

Jay Ajayi’s career was brought to a screeching halt by injuries, and after just five seasons in the NFL, he was forced to retire. Tragically, despite his immense talent and potential, Ajayi never got his big-time NFL contract. Per Spotrac.com, Ajayi’s career earnings were around $3.9 million. A great career for an average citizen, but a disappointing total for such an elite athlete.

That said, Ajayi was a Pro Bowl talent during his brief prime and became a Super Bowl champion as a member of the Philadelphia Eagles. Certainly a career worth remembering.

And finally, going on three years after his premature retirement, Ajayi has received some good news. Before we get to the details, let’s take a quick walk down memory lane:

The Player

Ajayi was born to Nigerian parents in London, England, but moved to the U.S. at the age of seven. He became an elite dual-sport athlete at Frisco Liberty High School in Texas, staring in both football and track. He became a three-star football recruit as a running back, and went on to attend Boise State.

He broke multiple school records at Boise State, including single season rushing yards, single season rushing touchdowns, single season 100-yard games. He earned Third-Team All-American honors and First-Team All-Mountain West honors (for the second time) during his final, junior season, before entering the 2015 NFL draft.

Ajayi was selected by the Miami Dolphins in the fifth round. His rookie season was shortened due to a broken rib, but during his second NFL season in 2016 he truly exploded onto the scene. In 15 games during his sophomore professional campaign, Ajayi rushed for 1,272 yards and eight touchdowns at a clip of 4.9 yards per carry, earning his first Pro Bowl trip.

Midway through the 2017 season, Ajayi was dealt to the Philadelphia Eagles. Ajayi became a key weapon as a runner and a receiver out of the backfield as the Eagles stormed into the playoffs. Ajayi contributed throughout the playoffs and chipped in 57 yards on the ground as the Philadelphia Eagles won their first-ever Super Bowl in a 41-33 win over the New England Patriots. The future seemed bright for the player and the team.

Tragically, during Week Five of the following season, Ajayi suffered a torn ACL, ending his season, and ultimately, his career. He was never able to bounce back from the injury. The Eagles brought him back for the 2019 season, but he was only able to accrue 30 more yards over three appearances before he was released by the team.

With his health severely in doubt, Ajayi received little to no interest from teams moving forward, and his career ended after the 2019 season, just five years after being drafted, and four years after a Pro Bowl campaign.

That said, he will always be remembered as a champion and a key contributor on the legendary Super Bowl LII squad that brought glory to the city.

And now, finally, let’s get to the good news:

The Insurance Payout

Per NBC Sports Philadelphia, Jay Ajayi has finally reached a settlement for a $5 million payout on his loss-of-value insurance policy. Joshua Sanchez, the former running back’s business manager, told Ian Rappaport of NFL Media that the settlement came to be following “years of discussions and fighting.”

While the payout certainly doesn’t make up for the multiple lucrative contracts that Ajayi could have earned had he stayed healthy, or the glory of a long and dominant professional sports career, it is a step in the right direction for a player who deserved better.

Football players like Ajayi risk their long-term health and wellbeing for the entertainment of the fans as the NFL grows larger and more lucrative by the day, and there is no question they deserve to be compensated handsomely for their talent and their sacrifice.

Congrats to Ajayi for getting what he was due and a huge thank you from this fan for his contribution to Philadelphia sports history.

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