A New Mexico man was left looking like a secondhand tackling dummy after he tried to steal a car from three football players.

Angelo Martinez, 20, was charged with robbery by Albuquerque police last week, after apparently biting off more than he could chew.

The amateur players said they saw Martinez hanging around the Loma Linda Community Center football field after they had finished a practice session.

As they walked to their car, one of the players told broadcaster KOAT he could see Martinez was "acting sketchy as if he was trying to get in."

However, the trio agreed to give Martinez a ride home, but they again became suspicious when he kept changing his mind about where he wanted to go.

Finally, they arrived at a house in south-east Albuquerque, where Martinez allegedly pulled out a gun and demanded they get out of the car.

The players got out, and Martinez started to back the car up still holding the gun. This is when Martinez fumbled the weapon and one of the men jumped back into the car and punched the suspect in the face.

The others followed their teammate back into the car, beating and restraining Martinez.

The men also found a knife in Martinez's waistband and were able to get the gun from him, which was later discovered to be a fake.

When officers arrived they arrested Martinez. They also found a note on Martinez that read: "Give me the keys to your wip [meaning whip, slang for car] and a nobody get heart [sic]. I know where you live so don't make me kill."