The horrifying details of an NFL player robbed, slashed at gunpoint with an AK-47
Earl Wolff went home to visit his mother and friend for their birthdays and survived a harrowing ordeal
Earl Wolff is a safety for the Jacksonville Jaguars, a three-year NFL veteran, and a two-time micro-fracture surgery recipient, but he's also a man from Fayetteville, N.C. Back in February, Wolff returned to his hometown to visit for the birthdays of his childhood friend and his mother.
My 2011 white Range Rover is parked on the street. As I get in and reach for the seatbelt, someone yanks my door open. There's a man wearing a black ski mask and pointing an AK-47 inches from my face.
"Give me the keys!" he barks. "And get out of the car!"
I freeze, wondering if my buddy is playing a trick on me. I wonder if it's a sick joke. I babble, but words aren't coming out of my mouth.
"Give me your wallet! Your phone!"
I step out and hand over my belongings. Another man with a shotgun rushes toward me and shoves me into the back seat. Two other men with shotguns appear from the side of the house and hop in the car. The man with the AK-47 gets behind the wheel, and I'm squished between two of the masked men in the backseat. We begin driving around the neighborhood.
"Where's the money at?" one shouts at me.
"I, I ... I don't have any money," I stammer. "I don't have a dollar on me."
"Where's the money at?" he says again.
"You can have the car, you can have anything you want," I say. "Just let me get back to my family."
"Why are you lying?" says the man in the front passenger seat. "Lie to me again and I'll kill you."
I can't feel my mouth when I talk. I try to breathe. I think of my mom. I think of God. I stare straight ahead. I'm trembling.
"I'll tell you anything you want to know," I say.
They ask me who is in the house and I tell them. Though I can't see their faces, I can tell by their voices that they are young. They ask for my name.
"Earl," I say. "Earl Wolff."
"Wait," one of the men says. "The one that plays in the league?"
"Yes," I say.
"And you're telling me you have no money?"
One of the men next to me slashes me twice in the right knee with his gun. I'm bleeding.
In a first-person piece for Sports Illustrated's The MMQB, Wolff describes not just the rest of the experience with his captors -- during which he was repeatedly shoved into and out of the car, with more and more people piling in; driven to the bank to retrieve money from his account; brought back to his friend's house to extort money from him; and finally dropped in the street after the captors hear police sirens in the distance, at which point he went running into a trailer park and then a gas station for assistance; he then spent 24 hours in a police station reliving the event in order to help identify suspects.
He also describes his relationship with his mother, who he came home to visit in the first place and had to call at 3 o'clock in the morning to tell he was OK, even though she had no idea he was ever in danger.
Wolff stated at the conclusion of the piece that his knee, despite being slashed, did not need additional surgery, and that he is now in camp with the Jaguars hoping to make the team.
Wolff played at North Carolina State in college and played in 18 games with the Eagles from 2013-14.
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