15 Retired NFL Players Who Now Work A Regular Job

Players in the National Football League dream, at a young age, to make a career playing football. They work hard, beginning while young; all the way through college, so their name can be called during the NFL Draft. When an athlete's name is called his whole lifestyle changes. Finally, all the hard work he did to get to this point has paid off. Now during his career in the NFL there are some who put in that same work ethic like they did, even going back to their high school days, to prove they belong in the league and make a name for themselves. For example: We've seen that with Tom Brady, who has worked hard all his life to be at the point he is at now, 40 years old, and still at the top of his game. Peyton Manning who also worked hard throughout his days in the league was also one of the best in the game.

There are also the players who are not playing in the NFL anymore. They own businesses, work as a coach, or are a commentator for a network. Some have become motivational speakers as well. There are players that also go completely broke after football because of off field issues, whether that be owing child support, trouble with the law, or careless with their money. In this article I'm going to take a look at the 15 NFL players who are retired and own a business, and who are motivational speakers.

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Vince Young played six seasons in the NFL five years with the Tennessee Titans and one year with the Philadelphia Eagles. His last year in the league was 2011 at the age of 28. In 2014, Young filed for bankruptcy as he blew through $26 million. His financial adviser at Ronnie Peoples told NFL.com that Young "Spent money faster than he made it. It’s almost like I can have a $30,000 budget that I know we had to pay here, but then, you know, I get an invoice for a Ferrari that he just bought for $176,000, and they want their money.”

In 2014 the University Of Texas hired Young to work with the Division Of Diversity and Community Engagement. His job would include helping with alumni relations and focusing on programs that support first-generation college students from low-income backgrounds. The school announced at the time he would be making $100,000 per year.

Earlier this year, Young left the post to attempt a football comeback with the CFL's Saskatchewan Roughriders. He was cut in training camp, and by all accounts, he'll have his old job waiting for him at his alma mater.


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Ismail made history when he bypassed being drafted into the NFL to take a lucrative deal north of the border in the CFL. Eventually he made his way south and The Rocket played nine years in the NFL for the Carolina Panthers, Dallas Cowboys, and Los Angeles/ Oakland Raiders. In his career the kick returner and wide receiver had 5,259 yards and 28 touchdowns. In his rookie season in the NFL Ismail recorded 353 receiving yards. The following year, he recorded 513 receiving yards and five touchdowns. In 1995 the Raiders went back to  Oakland, he recorded 491 yards receiving.  With the Cowboys he had 2,281 yards receiving and with the Panthers he had 1,657 yards receiving.

Today Ismail is a motivational speaker speaking at churches. To get Ismail to speak at an event could cost anywhere from $5,000-10,000.


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Dawson played in the NFL for 12 seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers. He made about $25 million in his career, but he doesn't have much money left due to the fact he's made some bad business choices. After his NFL career, he tried real estate, but that didn't work. As recently as 2010, he filed for bankruptcy. Dawson had about $69 million in debt.

Dawson told the Lexington Herald Leader in 2010 " Unfortunately, my personal guaranty exposure on the debts of numerous real estate interests has led to the Chapter 7 filing. Today's real estate market, economic conditions, plus the fact that I own non-controlling minority interests in the entities which own the real estate, left me with limited options. I certainly wish things had turned out differently and look forward to continuing my contributions within this community."

Today Dawson is part owner of the Washington Wild Things. They are a baseball team in an independent league in Pennsylvania.


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Bernie Kosar spent 13 years in the NFL with the Cleveland Browns, Miami Dolphins, and the Dallas Cowboys as a quarterback. He earned about $19 million playing in the NFL, but quickly went away when he filed for bankruptcy protection in 2009. At the time his debts fell between $10 million and $50 million.

Kosar's attorney, Michael Kasen at the time, released a statement saying "Bernie has become the latest victim of the economic downturn and collapse of the real estate market. Kosar misplaced trust and reliance on those close to him to manage his businesses and finances." Today he is a motivational speaker on the subject of leadership. He's also lent his name to Kosar's Wood-Fired Grill at the Hard Rock Rocksino Northfield Park, which opened about four years ago.


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Mushin Muhammad spent 14 seasons in the NFL with the Carolina Panthers and the Chicago Bears. Throughout his career he had 11,438 receiving yards and 62 touchdowns. Muhammad liked putting things on credit and it caught up to him. In 2009 Wachovia Bank sued Muhammad and his brother for roughly $24,000. In 2012 he had a rebound as part owner of a Wild Wing Cafe Franchise. The 32-restaurant chain includes 11 corporate-owned locations and 21 franchises, serving chicken wings, beer, and other bar food while serving as a venue for local musical acts.

He made a statement at the time saying "This is a great partnership for our fir., By targeting specific sectors, we’ve been able to establish a team that is uniquely suited to effectively execute our firm’s investment strategy.”


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Luther Ellis was a defensive tackle for the Denver Broncos and the Detroit Lions. After his football career he filed for bankruptcy. Elliss was paid $11.6 million from 2000-2004 and relied on family members and churches to help him out. He lost his home in Utah and spent all his savings. He told the Detroit News at the time " The Lions did a good job, they put on financial programs that we had to attend talking about investing and saving money, and gave statistics on how many of us would be broke. Guys were saying, 'It's not going to be me, I'm too smart for that. And here I am, one of those guys."

Today Luther Elliss travels to promote Fuel Up Play 60 a children's health initiative. He said the program, telling Health and Fit Magazine in 2012, "Is to prepare and work every day to improve children’s lives through the Fuel Up to Play 60 program and through my work with adoption groups. I’m blessed by what I have experienced as an NFL player and as long as people will listen, I’ll share my passion with them.”


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Deuce McAllister was a great running back for the New Orleans Saints. He rushed for 6,096 yards and 49 touchdowns. He made $70 million in his career with the NFL, but wasn't smart with his money. He started a car dealership that went bad and had him spending more than he was making. In 2012 a lawsuit was settled for his failed dealership business. Nissan Motor Acceptence Corp claimed McAllister owed more than $1.5 million for missed payments and exceeded credit limits.

Today Deuce McAllister is a public speaker at different events. The average cost to have him speak ranges from $5,000-10,000. Charging that much should help with debts he has. That is, if people are actually paying to hear him speak. We hope for the best.


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Drew Bledsoe the former quarterback for the New England Patriots, Dallas Cowboys, and Buffalo Bills. He has done a lot in his post football career. He now makes his own wine and owns Doubleback Winery in Walla Walla, Washington. In 2008 Bledsoe launched Doubleback with his goal to to produce world class Cabernet wine. The vision for Doubleback remains to be a "premium wine experience completely focused on quality." To further assist the vision of high-quality, estate-focused wine, Drew acquired a second estate vineyard named Bob Heal. He then purchased his third estate vineyard named Flying B in 2016, which will become the future home of Doubleback. They are supposed to break ground in 2017.

Bledsoe told the Fortune in 2015, "For a Washington wine, we are priced toward the top end, with only a handful priced above us, When you compare us to the global market, we are fairly inexpensive."

The winery is now producing several thousands of cases per year. The wines are pricey, selling at about $89 per bottle. Bledsoe also had advice for players that leave the league. "Get inside a business, learn about it, and work for someone in your chosen line of work before you really understand it and go put your hard earned money at risk. We are wired to be risk takers, that’s how you get to be a professional athlete. But you have to be really careful with that.”


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Fred Smerlas played in the NFL for 14 seasons. The five-time Pro Bowler played for the Buffalo Bills, New England Patriots, and the San Francisco 49ers. Despite his accolades, he played in a time where football players weren't quite the multi-millionaires they are today, so he had to have a career plan after football.

Today he owns Fred and Steve's Steakhouse at Twin River Casino in Lincoln, Rhode Island. He opened the restaurant in March of 2007 with Steve De'OsHesie, a long time friend and colleague. Smerlas also owns All-Pro Productions which is a telemarketing contractor and fundraiser for police, firefighter, and similar organizations in Massachusetts. All-Pro Productions has raised $559,042 since 2007. In 2010 All-Pro Productions raised $416,626 from donors for a Veterans outreach center.


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Steve DeOssie played 13 seasons in the NFL as a linebacker for the Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, New England Patriots, and the New York Jets. He won Super Bowl XXV with the Giants. Today, he currently owns Fred and Steve's Steakhouse at Twin River Casino in Lincoln, Rhode Island, along with FredSmerlas. House specialties include sweet creamed corn off the cob with pancetta, smothered cubanelle peppers, lobster mac and cheese with truffle oil, and tobacco onions.

Fred and Steve have had the restaurant for 10 years. He is also a partner in the Blackstone's Cigar Bar at the same Casino. Steve also works for New England Tailgate on NBC Sports Boston and an analyst for the Patriots on 98.5 - The Sports Hub in Boston.


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The former New England Patriots great was one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL of his time. He had that memorable interception in Super Bowl XXXVI to help bring the Patriots to their first ever Super Bowl championship. Today Law is the owner of his own trampoline park called "Launch" located in Norwood, Massachusetts. An article in USA Today estimated this industry’s revenue at almost $100 million. The industry has enjoyed rapid growth as of late. There are currently six Launch Trampoline Parks in the United States.

Ty Law and his business advisors focused on a business alone with low operating costs, as well as operations that can be managed remotely, along with the opportunity for great returns. Law is a great example of entering retirement from the NFL and investing in something that has grown.


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Dan Marino had a Hall Of Fame career in the NFL even though he never won a Super Bowl. The nine time Pro Bowler spent his entire career with the Miami Dolphins, passing for 61,361 yards and 420 touchdowns. He and Anthony Bruno currently own Anthony's Coal Fired Pizza. There are 62 locations throughout the Northeast and Florida. The most recent location was established in April 2017 when he opened his restaurant in Cranston, Rhode Island. This opening made it his 62nd location.

Marino spoke about opening his 62nd location saying, "A lot of people come to Florida and know and love Anthony’s. Now that we are opening them up in New York, New Jersey and on Long Island, people recognize the brand and we see the same customers up here.”


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Favre spent 20 years in the NFL 16 of those was with the Green Bay Packers winning one Super Bowl. He threw for 71,838 yards and 508 touchdowns. Today he partly owns Brett Favre's Steakhouse in Green Bay, Wisconsin with Joe Buonavolanto. Replicas of Super Bowl trophies, photos, and canvas paintings are featured at the steakhouse. Brett Favre's Steakhouse opened in 1998 on a street named Brett Favre Pass.

In 2017 they changed the name to Hall of Fame Chophouse, effective on July 25, 2017. There was a media release which said the reason for the name change. The name change was because of the Green Bay Packers Halls of Fame. General manager Dennis Fenrick told the USA Today "steaks and seafood will remain the core of Hall of Fame Chophouse’s menu, though some prime cut steaks and new seafood entrees will be added."


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Archie Manning, father of Peyton and Eli Manning, played in the NFL for 15 seasons. He played for the New Orleans Saints, Houston Oilers, and the Minnesota Vikings. For the Saints he set passing records, played in two Pro Bowls, and was named the NFC Most Valuable Player in 1978. In October 2013, Manning was selected to be one of the 13 inaugural members of The College Football Playoff Postseason Selection Committee. In 2014 he stepped down from the said Committee due to health reasons. He was also drafted four times by major league baseball.

Today he currently owns Manning's in New Orleans Louisiana. One favorite on the menu is the Archie Burger. With the money his sons have raked in playing in the NFL, you wonder if the restaurant is merely a hobby of Archie's.


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Mike Ditka played for 12 seasons in the NFL. He played for the Chicago Bears, Dallas Cowboys, and Philadelphia Eagles. He coached the 85 Bears to a Super Bowl Victory over the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XX. Today he owns the restaurant Ditka's which has three locations in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Chicago, Illinois, and Oakbrook Terrace, Illinois. Some of the menu items include Fullback Size filet mignon with spinach and onion rings, and Da Pork Chop. The WI-FI password is 85 Bears if you go there and want free WI-FI. The restaurant looks like something I would definitely try if I go to Chicago.

On top of that, Ditka still appears on ESPN from time to time, often giving very controversial opinions regarding social issues in the country.

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