Being a professional football player is a dream that many people harbor in their hearts, even if they’re too shy to admit it. When an athlete is drafted to the NFL, this changes his life forever. Of course, there are the high-adrenaline games, complete with screaming fans, emotionally charged coaches and a host of family and friends. Players also have the luxury of staying in the best hotels when traveling and they’re often sought after to endorse products for a number of reputable companies.
Professional athletes are also known for their tendencies to party too hard sometimes and for being very popular with the ladies. There aren’t too many women who would pass up a chance to date or marry a football player who has millions of dollars.
There’s no getting around it. The role of NFL player is a coveted one. It’s hard work, but the perks that come with this job are pretty sweet. Unfortunately, there are some NFL players who are so consumed in the life that comes with being a professional athlete, that they forget to save for retirement. After all, being a football player is a full-time job and athletes should have a solid financial plan together for when they are no longer able to play professional sports. It’s also essential for NFL players to plan for their financial futures in case they are injured while playing football. According to Fortune, about 16% of players who retire from the NFL go bankrupt. Ouch.
The appeal that comes from living a lavish lifestyle is overwhelming for many, especially football players who come from humble beginnings. These athletes are finally able to have the life they’ve dreamed about and some are helping to improve the lives of their families. However, unorganized spending habits have caused some of these ex-NFL players to go broke and pick up regular jobs. Here’s a list of 15 cautionary tales.
15. Charlie Batch
Batch was a part of the Pittsburgh Steelers, which should indicate that he has some type of financial stability. However, as of 2011, the former athlete had less than $3 million worth of assets,and debt greater than $8 million. He went into real estate after retiring from the NFL working with a few partners at a development company, but the company defaulted on about 25 properties. Not good. Batch, who also played for the Detroit Lions back in the day, was likely praying that he’d be able to use the remaining $1.5 million on his quarterback contract to satisfy his debts. When the NFL came to a new bargaining agreement, no one was doing the touchdown dance harder than Batch. His career net worth is about $9 million. Batch became a color commentator for preseason games and is the studio analyst for pre-game Steelers coverage for The NFL Today. He is also a professional speaker with the National Speakers Association.
14. Bernie Kosar
Kosar’s career earnings totaled about $19 million and, unlike many football players, he didn’t waste his money on lavish houses and jewelry while trying to impress women and invite his friends to wild parties. Instead, Bernie Kosar lost a good chunk of his earnings due to his greedy agent and his nasty divorce. Kosar got into real estate after leaving football, but these jobs didn’t turn into the lucrative cash flow that he’d hoped. Bernie Kosar also had a number of loans that were unpaid and, unfortunately, one of those loans was from his team, the Cleveland Browns. So, now he owes a debt to the franchise that used to pay him. Tragic, indeed. Kosar, who sustained a number of concussions during his football career, is now a motivational speaker who often speaks about leadership.
13. Andre Rison
Rison is a former NFL Pro Bowler. You may also remember him for his sordid romance with the late Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes of TLC. Rison encountered some serious financial trouble after his time in the NFL, and is currently on probation for owing more than $300,000 in child support. After the former football star was turned down for a coaching job in Tuscon, he became an assistant football coach for Skyline High School in Ann Arbor. The head coach of the team states that he grew up admiring Andre Rison’s athletic ability and that the high school players are excited to be working with Rison. Rison is said to earn about $5,000 for his role as assistant coach. It’s not an NFL salary, but it’s better than nothing.
12. Vince Young
Vince Young played for the Tennessee Titans, the Philadelphia Eagles and the Buffalo Bills before becoming a free agent. He made about $26 million during his NFL career, but started having money problems when he claimed that his financial manager misappropriated $5.5 million of his earnings. It was also reported that Young was spending around $5,000 each week at the Cheesecake Factory his first few years in the league, which cut into his fortune a great deal. Vince Young, luckily, got a job at his former college, the University of Texas, working with the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement. He’s not making as much as he did in the NFL ($100,000), but he likely doesn’t have any complaints. It is, after all, a steady job.
11. Lawrence Taylor
Lawrence Taylor was known for his magnetic personality during his time in the NFL. When he retired, he continued his lifestyle of entertaining women and indulging in drugs and alcohol. Perhaps it didn’t occur to him that this type of life is really hard to maintain when you no longer have a continuous flow of cash. Not to mention, getting drunk and high all the time isn’t the healthiest way to live. The ex-football player even started a company before leaving the NFL, so he could work a comfortable job upon retirement. However, he didn’t know the ins and outs of business investing, and this ended up costing him dearly. Lawrence Taylor even had to file for bankruptcy. This is definitely not the way you want to spend retirement when you’ve given your best on the football field. Fortunately, Taylor transitioned into acting, and is known for his roles in movies like Any Given Sunday and When In Rome.