The only thing that an NFL player is more likely to experience than a concussion, is filing for bankruptcy. Well that may be a bit of an exaggeration, but not by much, as nearly 80% of NFL players will go broke within three years of retirement. Despite the average salary in the NFL being over $2 million, somehow these players are finding a way to blow all of their money shortly after calling it quits.
There are a few reasons attributed to the high rate of bankruptcy among football players, with the number one reason being immaturity. Maybe it’s the immature mindset of pretending to be a high roller, or the ignorant mentality of thinking that there will always be one more big payday. In any case most NFL players have only ever played football, and have limited skills in other areas leaving them at a severe disadvantage after their playing career is over. Some players however rise to the occasion, and make great investments that multiplies their wealth tenfold.
Today we will be looking at 20 players and how they either managed their NFL earnings into a booming business, or busted broke. As always feel free to leave your opinions in the comments below.
10. Boom: Michael Strahan ($54 Million)
Michael Strahan is still one of the most successful former NFL players, despite leaving one of his television shows, and losing nearly half a dozen endorsement deals. To clarify, Strahan is leaving Live with Kelly and Michael, because he is being brought on as a full-time anchor for Good Morning America. As a stipulation to his GMA contract, Strahan will be forced to drop all endorsement deals which include Subway, Dr. Pepper, and Metamucil. The former New York Giant will however be allowed to keep his clothing deal with JC Penney, and will still be featured on Fox on Sundays.
For Strahan’s efforts, the 2007 Super Bowl champion will double his salary from ABC going from $10 million to $20 million, and add to his $55 million net worth. With the added exposure of being on GMA full-time, Strahan is hoping that his line of affordable suits takes off.
10. Broke: Mark Brunell ($100,000)
During his 17 year career in the NFL, quarterback Mark Brunell was able to rack up $50 million in contracts. Brunell wasn’t just given his money, he earned every penny that he got, with his resume listing three Pro Bowl trips, a Super Bowl championship, and every major passing record for the Jacksonville Jaguars. Brunell’s story is a bit different than others on this list, as his initial investments were actually very good. His company, Champion LLC, only suffered major losses after the housing bubble crisis in 2007.
In an attempt to combat the crisis, Brunell pumped his own personal money into his company, covering loans and legal fees for years. The burden proved to be too much for the former Jaguar, and led to the downfall of his other investments in food establishments. In the end Brunell lost nearly all of his money, leaving him with barely enough to scrape by. He currently is reported to have a net worth of $100,000, which is largely due to the success of his football camps.
9. Boom: Jerry Rice ($55 Million)
What does being the best wide receiver in NFL history get you? How about a cool $55 million net worth for your troubles, at least that is how it worked out for Jerry Rice. If you examine Jerry Rice’s last big contract before his retirement, you can really see how the NFL has changed over the past few years. Some players in today’s NFL have bigger signing bonuses than Rice’s entire contract in 1996; $32 million. Though it would be the last “big money” contract that the long time 49er would sign, it wouldn’t be his last big payday.
Since retiring Rice has secured multiple lucrative endorsement deals, including high profile spots with Visa, All Sport, and Gatorade. Besides his commercial deals, Rice has written two separate books about his life, and is a co-host on Sports Sunday on NBC. Rice even had his likeness used for a Nintendo Wii exclusive game called Jerry Rice & Nitus’ Dog Football; it’s no maddent but it helped add to Rice’s portfolio.
9. Broke: Bernie Kosar ($100,000)
Bernie Kosar has kept a pretty low profile for himself since retiring from the NFL in 1996. Despite leading teams for the Cleveland Browns for eight years, Kosar actually saw his greatest career highlight by winning Super Bowl XXVIII with the Dallas Cowboys; he was Troy Aikman’s backup. You would think with a first round draft selection, 12 year career, and a championship ring to his name, that Kosar would be living the high life right now in his retirement years. Unfortunately for Kosar a series of bad decisions and investments would cement his future, and cause the former millionaire to file for bankruptcy.
It’s hard to fault Kosar for losing most of his money, as his personal accountant was someone who he thought he could trust; his father. Kosar’s father had a bad habit of draining his son’s account, paying for extended families phones, cars, and mortgages. Though his father no longer handles his finances, Kosar is still feeling the burden of his choices, barely being worth six figures.
8. Boom: Brett Favre ($100 Million)
Before he was sexting lewd photos of himself to Jenn Sterger, and pretending to retire a few times, Brett Favre was a really good quarterback in the NFL. The Green Bay Packers legend was so good in fact, that his name still carried enough weight to hold on to his endorsement despite the scandals he was apart of. Besides the huge money that he made during his 16 year career in the NFL – being the first player to ever sign a $100 million dollar contract – the future Hall of Famer had plenty of lucrative side endorsements.
Favre has appeared in commercials for companies like sears, Wrangler, Remington, MasterCard, and Nike. Ironically enough, you wouldn’t be able to tell that the Mississippi native has a net worth of over $100 million, as his normal attire reflects his everyman persona. It’s safe to assume that when you have held or currently hold every major quarterback throwing record, you are entitled to a few extra bucks outside the league salary.