Most people have hobbies; some people transform them into obsessions.
When it comes to Ravens linebacker Dannell Ellerbe and his shoe collection, obsession may be an understatement.
Growing up in Rockingham, NC., Ellerbe didn’t have a lot of money to afford new shoes but always made sure to take care of the ones he had, and of course keep them looking new.
“Having [a shoe collection] was something I’ve always wanted since elementary school,” Ellerbe said. “I always had clean shoes when I was a kid but I couldn’t get the shoes that I wanted growing up, so now that I can, it feels good.”
If opening a box of shoes makes Ellerbe feel good, he must be on cloud-nine because he’ll frequently post pictures of his new shoes to his Instagram account, a ritual that happens a few times per week.
When it comes to Ellerbe’s buying habits, there are no methods to his madness.
“I just don’t buy shoes to get them, but when I see shoes that I want, I go get them,” he said. “I don’t really notice how many I get.”
So, just how many pairs of shoes does Ellerbe own?
“Right now, I’m not sure because I gave a lot away,” he said. “I know somewhere over 100; now I’m running out of closet space.”
With Ellerbe’s closet filling up, he already has a backup plan to store his collection. The photo posted blow is from Ellerbe’s Instagram account showing his overflow storage, at his girlfriends house.
In relationships, generally women are the culprit of a shoe obsessions but that’s not the case for Ellerbe and his girlfriend. When asked if she owns more shoes than he does, Ellerbe chuckled and repeadedly said, “nah”.
His collection may be impressive but Ellerbe isn’t the only guy in the Ravens locker room with a shoe collection worthy of bragging about; in fact, a teammate may have him beat.
“I believe Q (Anquan Boldin) is first, he’s got a lot of shoes too. He’s probably got more than me.”
Ellerbe makes plenty of money to afford his habit as the team placed a second-round tender on the former Georgia Bulldog. This season he has a guaranteed salary of $1.927 million. Cornerback Lardarius Webb received a contract extension including $20 million guaranteed on a six-year $50 million deal. Even though he makes a lot of money, Ellerbe doesn’t see Webb’s growing bank account dictating a growing shoe collection.
“[Lardarius] Webb tries to get a lot of shoes too but he’s kind of tight with his money.”
Being a linebacker in the NFL has plenty of perks and out of full disclosure, Ellerbe does have a shoe deal with Nike. Even though Nike does supply some shoes to Ellerbe as part of their agreement, he pays for the majority of them.
The pair of shoes Ravens fans are most familiar seeing Ellerbe in are cleats as he takes the field each Sunday during football season. Even though players can get a new pair of cleats each week if they wanted, Ellerbe surprisingly doesn’t prefer it.
“I used to get a new pair of cleats every game but now I like for them to be worn down a little bit,” he said.
Some may see his shoe collection as overwhelming but it’s Ellerbe’s way of rewarding himself for his hard work to make it as a starting NFL linebacker. In a contract year, if Ellerbe elevates his game and takes advantage of increased playing time due to Ray Lewis’ triceps injury, a larger contract could be on the horizon.
Which of course means…Ellerbe is going to need a bigger closet.
To see more of Ellerbe’s shoe collection, follow him on Instagram (Five9) or on Twitter @Ellerbe59.