Desperate to add bulk to their defensive line, the New York Giants on Wednesday signed a 4-foot-9, 3,600-pound hippopotamus to a three-year deal worth a reported $5.85 million, including a $1.2 million signing bonus. The hippo, called “Po” by family and friends, is likely to be the first nonhuman mammal to play in the NFL.
Giants head coach Tom Coughman spotted the hippo while on a sightseeing tour last summer in Katavi National Park, located in western Tanzania.
“The hippo is aggressive and even dangerous,” said Coughman. “With its short powerful legs and huge barrel-shaped torso, this beast could be the ferocious monster we’re looking for at nose tackle. He’s the next best thing to having an actual dinosaur on the line as a run-stuffer in short-yardage situations.”
As part of the deal that brought the hippo to the Giants, the team sent one player—linebacker Tim Johnson—to Katavi National Park, where he signed a contract to roam and graze for two years.