The NFL is a league where its players get drafted, sign massive contracts and can earn bonuses throughout the course of their careers. So if you get drafted by a team and receive a large offer, you should be set for life, right? No, that's not always the case.
While many NFL players get a financial cushion to lean back on after announcing their retirements, some NFL players are not as fortunate and continue to struggle with the same issues they've struggled during their early lives...or they stir the pot when they make it to the big stage. Either way, it's quite depressing to witness these players' downfalls. Just like the rest of us, they're not immune to making mistakes in life. Their mistakes, however, can be costly—both financially and mentally—and might even lead to severe run-ins with the law.
All things considered, some NFL players reach a breaking point in their post-retirement lives and have two options: resolve the issue and simply move on or let the detrimental issue take over their lives. There has been enough speculation and stories in the mainstream media about football stars who unfortunately lost their lives due to bad decisions, so let's focus on the ones who are still alive and working towards a new career path or still dealing with the same issues they faced in their pre-retirement lives.
Let's take a look at 15 former NFL stars who hit rock bottom after retiring. We're also going to answer the much-anticipated question: Where are they now?
15 Tiki Barber
Don't get us wrong, Tiki Barber was actually a pretty good running back who rushed for over 10,000 yards over the course of his career. Barber was also named to three Pro Bowls—all with the New York Giants.
After announcing his retirement, Barber landed several types of jobs ranging from a political journalist on Fox & Friends to an investor of O Beverages LLC. However, Barber's various career pursuits didn't fully cover the costs of his divorce settlement with his ex-wife Ginny Cha, whom he left when she was seven months pregnant with their twin daughters Riley and Ella.
Barber eventually reached a divorce settlement with Cha and married a 23-year-old NBC intern named Traci Lynn Johnson in a civil ceremony in a New York courtroom. The couple have two daughters, Brooklyn and Teagan, together.
14 Johnny Manziel
Johnny Manziel, better known as Johnny Football, has always been a hot topic of discussion when he was a quarterback for the Cleveland Browns.
Johnny Football was a top prospect from Texas A&M who was selected by the Browns with the 22nd overall pick in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft. Unfortunately, he was unable to stay out of trouble, and although he hasn't officially announced his retirement, he returned to Texas A&M to take classes after no NFL team offered him a contract.
Finally, in 2016, Johnny's prosecutors finalized a plea agreement in which he agreed to undergo counseling and have his conduct monitored on a regular basis for up to a year or face prosecution for an alleged domestic violence case against his ex-girlfriend Colleen Crowley.
Johnny is currently engaged to his model fiancee Bre Tiesi and is working on making a comeback in football. He's now negotiating with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the CFL, who own his league rights.
13 O.J. Simpson
Five years following his retirement, O.J. Simpson became the object of many tabloids after being involved in a low-speed pursuit in a white Ford Bronco SUV in southern California. His pursuit, arrest (for the alleged double murder of his wife Nicole Brown and her friend Ron Goldman) and trial were three of the most publicized events in American history.
In the end, Simpson was acquitted of all criminal charges, but was accused of stealing sports memorabilia at gunpoint in Las Vegas and served nine years in prison before being granted parole in 2017.
Just weeks after being released from prison, Simpson was banned from a Las Vegas for allegedly being drunk and disruptive. Simpson, however, threatened a $100 million lawsuit against the hotel. Recently, Simpson was seen hanging out with some Bills fans in Vegas during the team's playoff game against Jacksonville.
12 Chad Johnson
Chad Johnson, formerly known as Chad Ochocinco, played 11 seasons in the NFL as a wide receiver. He was named to the Pro Bowl six times, First-Team All-Pro three times and Second-Team All-Pro once. He was also named the league's receiving yards leader in 2006. He unofficially retired from the league in 2012.
Ochocinco changed his last name back to Johnson in 2012. His stint with the Miami Dolphins ended following an arrest for head-butting his then-wife Evelyn Lozada, a reality star on Basketball Wives. Lozada then filed for divorce, which was finalized the same year.
Ochocinco later violated the terms of his probation and playfully slapped the buttocks of a male attorney, which led to additional time in jail. He managed to get released from jail by apologizing to the court.
The last couple of years, Ocho has tried his hand in coaching, briefly joining the Browns in 2016 and has played for the Monterrey Fundidores in the Liga de Fútbol Americano Profesional in Mexico.
11 Donovan McNabb
Donovan McNabb played both basketball and football at Syracuse University before embarking on a football career with the Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Redskins and Minnesota Vikings. He was named to the Pro Bowl six times. His No. 5 jersey with the Eagles was retired in 2017.
On the contrary, McNabb's life has slowly started to crumble down following his retirement in 2013. He was arrested for a DUI after a traffic accident in Gilbert, Arizona, in 2015.
McNabb seemed to bounce back, landing a job with ESPN as an analyst. However, like many other analysts recently, he was fired by ESPN after a sexual misconduct accusation.
Ouch! Be careful what you do to others.
10 Terrell Owens
Terrell Owens was one of the best players of his era. He was named to the Pro Bowl six times and the First-Team All-Pro five times. He was also a three-time NFL receiving touchdowns leader and an All-Decade Second Team in the 2000s.
Although Owens never announced his retirement, he last played in the NFL for the Seattle Seahawks in 2012. Since them, he had very little left as he was unable to pay child support to three of four mothers of his four children. This occurred after the negative affects of bad investments.
Owens eventually agreed to make the necessary child support payments in order to avoid jail time, but he was still hit with the harsh reality of bad decisions in the past.
Owens never actually officially retired from the NFL, even though he's now eligible to be voted into the Hall of Fame. Owens recently compared himself to Colin Kaepernick, saying much like Kaep, T.O. has been blackballed from the league due to politics.
9 Art Schlichter
A professional football career didn't last long for Art Schlichter, who was selected by the Baltimore Colts (now Indianapolis Colts) with the fourth overall pick in the first round of the 1982 NFL Draft.
Schlichter played for the Colts for two years and Buffalo Bills for just one year before becoming one of the biggest draft busts in NFL history. His gambling addiction took over his life for quite a while until he served the equivalent of 10 years in 44 different prisons in the Midwest. His legal issues ranged from fraud to forgery, which were often publicized by the media. He was released from prison in 2006.
Schlichter founded a gambling awareness nonprofit and seemingly got his life together, but was later charged with felony theft and subsequently tested positive for cocaine while on house arrest. Because of the violation, he was sentenced to 10 years in prison and now has a release date set for 2020.
8 Ray Rice
Ray Rice is a former running back who played his entire NFL career with the Baltimore Ravens from 2008 to 2013. He was part of the triumphant 2012 Ravens, who escaped with a 34-31 victory over the San Francisco 49ers to win Super Bowl XLVIII.
Rice was suspended indefinitely following a domestic violence investigation on his then-fiancee Janay Palmer in Atlantic City, New Jersey, on September 2014. He won his appeal to be reinstated in the NFL on November 2014. He and the Ravens reportedly agreed to settle his lawsuit against the team on January 2015.
Despite being reinstated, no NFL team has touched Rice, due to the negative press siging him would bring, and the fact he's now a running back in his 30s. Rice and Palmer still got married and are currently expecting their second child. As for Rice, he's attempted to turn over a new leaf, speaking out against domestic violence and having been hired as a coach at New Rochelle High, his alma mater.
7 Lawrence Taylor
Lawrence "L.T." Taylor played his entire NFL career with the New York Giants from 1981 to 1993. He was considered to be one of the greatest players in professional football history. He has also been dubbed as the greatest defensive player in league history by players, coaches and even media members.
Taylor has lived a questionable lifestyle during and after his football career. The league suspended him several times after he failed to pass drug tests. He found some work as a color commentator and an actor, but his personal life was highly scrutinized after he pleaded guilty to sexual misconduct with a 16-year-old girl. As a result, he was registered as a sex offender.
He hasn't stayed out of trouble in recent times either, as he was arrested on DUI charges in Florida about six months ago. He was sentenced to 12 months probation, had his license revoked for nine months, and 75 hours of community service.
6 Dan Marino
Dan Marino played 17 seasons for the Miami Dolphins as a quarterback. He holds countless NFL records. Although he has never won a Super Bowl championship, he's still acknowledged as one of the greatest quarterbacks in league history. After all, he carried the Dolphins to 10 postseasons and one Super Bowl appearance in 1985.
Marino never was the football star gone bad, but he has sparked some headlines in his post-retirement life. In 2012, he was reportedly out of $13.6 million after Digital Domain, the company behind Tupac's hologram at Coachella 2012, filed for bankruptcy. In 2013, he confessed to fathering a child with a CBS employee in 2005 and paid the employee a several million dollars to keep their daughter out of the public eye.
Marino was let go by CBS a few years ago and has since been with the Dolphins as a special advisor.
5 Michael Vick
Michael Vick works an an analyst for Fox NFL Kickoff on FS1, but let's look over his past because it's quite interesting.
Vick played 13 seasons in the NFL, mainly with the Atlanta Falcons and Philadelphia Eagles. He was named to four Pro Bowls over the course of his career. His career came to a halt in 2007 after he pleaded guilty for his involvement in a dog fighting ring. He spent 21 months in prison for the animal-related crime. After he finished serving his prison sentence, he signed with the Eagles and had brief stints with the New York Jets and Pittsburgh Steelers. He announced his retirement on June 12, 2017.
Vick has made an effort to stay around the game, taking part in a flag football game for the AFFL last summer. He spent part of last summer as a coaching intern in Kansas City and has also been hired as an analyst for Fox Sports. Clearly Vick wants to stay around the game any way he can.
4 Warren Sapp
Warren Sapp is a Hall of Fame defensive tackle who played in the NFL for 12 years. After announcing his retirement, he became an analyst on NFL Network until 2015.
Sapp stirred up quite a few controversies during his career like his confrontation with Mike Sherman, repeated skipping incidents and ejections for unsportsmanlike conduct with officials.
Not only that, Sapp was charged with alleged domestic abuse against his girlfriend, just months after he got arrested for reportedly soliciting a prostitute. He has also filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, saying the balances in his checking and savings accounts had less than $1,000 in them.
Recently, allegations were brought against Sapp of workplace sexual misconduct. Sapp's accuser, a former employee of the NFL Network claimed Sapp performed various inappropriate acts in front of her and asked her very personal questions. Sapp has since come out and said he did nothing wrong.
3 Vince Young
Vince Young is currently a free agent, but he most recently played for the Cleveland Browns' practice squad in 2014. He played in the NFL for six seasons from 2006 to 2011.
Don't get us wrong, Young was once the best college quarterback in the nation. As expected, he entered the NFL and earned around $34 million, but later made headlines for his financial struggles for spending most of his salary, partially because he defaulted on a $1.9 million high interest payday loan. This led to him filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and eventually settling with Pro Player Funding. Not the kind of news you want to hear, but must hear.
Young never lost his desire to stay in the game and despite having a cushy job at his alma matter Texas, he ventured up to Canada, to play for the Saskatchewan Roughriders in the CFL. Young made a good early impression, but a hamstring injury in camp got him cut.
2 Dermontti Dawson
Dermontti Dawson played his entire career as a center for the Pittsburgh Penguins from 1988 to 2000. After his 12-season career, he was inducted to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2012.
When it comes to his other post-retirement shenanigans, Dawson filed for bankruptcy in 2010 after failing to manage his personal finances. He claimed to have a whopping $69 million in debts, but lots of people struggled to see how he could've accumulated a super high amount of debt like that. His financial life was just really unfortunate at one moment in time, but hopefully his life has started to improve a little bit and he'll get back on his feet for the better.
1 JaMarcus Russell
JaMarcus Russell is often described as one of the biggest draft busts in NFL history. He had a solid college career at LSU, where he finished his college career with a 21-4 record as a starting quarterback. He was then drafted by the Oakland Raiders with the first overall pick, but held back until the team signed him to a $61 million contract with $32 million guaranteed.
Russell played just three seasons for the Raiders and finished his professional career with a 7-18 record as a starter. He has never announced his retirement, as he tried to make a comeback in pro football, but it never worked out for him.
Russell was invited to several NFL workouts a few years ago, but never signed. In 2016, Russell wrote an open letter to 32 NFL teams, saying he would play for free. Nobody answered.
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