NFL busts come and go, and when they go, they really GO. They disappear out of the league after around 5 years never to be heard from again. These players go from being the biggest talk in the town to not even being in the town at all. This can have quite the effect on a player's mental state, and it's interesting to see how they bounce back from it. Some players go back to college and get there degrees, some find jobs in sports whether it's by being a broadcaster or coach, and some turn to illegal activities.
It's always interesting to track these players after they fall out of the spotlight for whatever reason, whether it's injury, legal trouble, or just being plain bad. It's always a great thing to see players bounce back even if their football careers don't end up going as they wanted. Sometimes, these players are just destined for other things and they find their footing.
Today we will take a look at some of the biggest busts of the 2000s and talk about 8 that have found their footing in a new profession and are doing well, and 7 that have fallen into the abyss of hard times.
15 Doing Well: Courtney Brown
Courtney Brown is widely debated as the biggest NFL Draft bust of all time. Drafted in 2000 with the #1 overall pick by, you guessed it, the Cleveland Browns. Brown was an absolute monster coming out of Penn State, and it appeared that his skill set would transfer to the NFL. The 6’7 defensive lineman had a quality rookie season, posting around 69 tackles and racking up 4.5 sacks. Courtney had his next season cut short, where he only appeared in 5 games. The rest of Brown’s sad career was only a mere 4 years, where he finished with the Denver Broncos. Courtney played in only 40 games for the rest of his career.
Nowadays, Courtney Brown does outstanding work as a missionary in the Dominican Republic.
14 Struggling: Charles Rogers
Charles Rogers is an interesting draft "bust". The talent was there. He played like a future star in his first five NFL games after being drafted by the Detroit Lions in the 2003 NFL Draft. And then injuries struck. Charles broke his clavicle in practice and was out for the season. The very next season, Charles broke it again. This broke Rogers emotionally, and the Lions allowed him to stay home the rest of the year. The next season, Rogers turned to drugs. He was suspended for the first 4 games of the 2005 season, and the Lions never really let him play big time minutes again. A year later, the wide receiver was released from the team, never to play another snap in the NFL.
Ever since his release, Charles has spiraled out of control. He has been arrested countless times, and has four different baby mamas. The man who once was compared to Randy Moss fell far, far from that tree.
13 Doing Well: David Carr
I’m sure Houston Texans fans are thinking “what could’ve been!” about David Carr. The Fresno State quarterback was taken #1 overall by the Texas franchise and he had a very disappointing career that followed. After David’s five years in Houston, he became a lifetime backup for teams including the Carolina Panthers, New York Giants, and San Francisco 49ers. He even had the opportunity to win a ring playing behind Eli Manning and the New York Giants in 2011, even though he didn’t play a single snap all year.
Fast forward to today, and Carr is a media analyst for NFL Network and he coaches a high school football team in California. Not to mention, Carr’s brother Derek, is the franchise quarterback for the Oakland Raiders. Not bad for the former draft bust.
12 Struggling: JaMarcus Russell
Oh, JaMarcus. Unanimously the biggest draft bust of all time, JaMarcus Russell was drafted #1 overall by the Oakland Raiders in the 2007 NFL Draft. This big-built slinging quarterback out of LSU was supposed to be the best quarterback prospect since Peyton Manning. He made it on this list, so you should be able to figure out the rest. Russell's career started pretty rough. He sat out all of training camp for a six-year, $68 million contract that he finally got in September. He didn't see the field until December, and when he did, it was not pretty. Russell only lasted two more seasons in Oakland, before getting cut. JaMarcus would never play another down in the NFL.
Not only did the quarterback gain a considerable amount of weight once exiting the NFL, but he also formed a codeine habit. He wrote an open letter to 32 NFL teams offering to play for free in 2016, but didn't receive a response. The biggest bust of all time didn't help his case off the field either.
11 Doing Well: Joey Harrington
Another top five quarterback that ended up having a disappointing career and labeled a bust. This time Joey Harrington, the Oregon quarterback that was taken number 3 overall by the Detroit Lions in 2002. To be fair, the Detroit Lions were not good. However, Joey wasn’t the best himself. He lasted in D-Town for three seasons, before being traded to Miami. He preformed okay in Miami, and then went on to be a backup for Atlanta and New Orleans. He was out of the league by 2010 after completing his stint with the New Orleans Saints.
He went on to become a Jazz Pianist, and eventually a color commentator for Oregon football games, his Alma Mater. Now, Harrington is a college football analyst for FOX. Not too shabby, Joey Sunshine.
10 Struggling: Wendell Bryant
Wendell Bryant was an absolute STUD of a defensive tackle coming out of Wisconsin in 2002. The Arizona Cardinals, who had a need for d-line at the time noticed and picked up the 300 pound lineman with their 12th pick. Needless to say, Wendell didn't do great for the Phoenix team. In fact, he did the opposite. Bryant appeared in 29 total NFL games. 29. He had 28 total tackles and 1.5 sacks in his three seasons in the league.
He was suspended for drug use after his third season and he never made it back onto another roster. Most recently, Wendell tried to mount a comeback with an indoor football league: and he didn't even make the team. What a fall from grace.
9 Doing Well: Vernon Gholston
Gholston perfectly emasculates what happens with most of the Jets highly hyped draft picks: they end up as busts. The 6'3 defensive end caught Rex Ryan's eye coming into the 2008 NFL draft, and for good reason. This is why they selected him with the sixth overall pick. After a shaky preseason and a short leash, Vernon didn't see the field much his rookie season. He spent two more seasons in the Jets organization, not recording a single sack in his stint. In 2011, Gholston was released by the New York Jets. Vernon spent time with Chicago and St. Louis after the release, not sticking with either franchise.
Just last year, Vernon started up his very own business to help families with mental and behavioral disabilities. Good on you, Vernon.
8 Struggling: Johnathan Sullivan
What a mistake drafting big sully was for the New Orleans Saints in 2003. The Georgia Bulldog looked great in the combine for his size, and it inclined the Saints to pick him up with the 6th pick. What they didn't know was that after he was drafted, he would literally eat his way out of the league. In his three years in the league, Sullivan gained nearly 50 pounds! It didn't help that his production was lackluster as well. One of the first moves Sean Payton made as New Orleans new head coach was trading Johnathan to the Patriots.
He failed to make the team and has been out of the league since. Since then, Sullivan has had a couple run-ins with the law, both involving marijuana use. You would think the big man could do something productive, like buy a burger stand.
7 Doing Well: Troy Williamson
Troy Williamson, the speedy wide receiver out of South Carolina, has an interesting story. The Vikings selected him with the 7th pick to help their wide receiver corps after Randy Moss departed for the Raiders. Troy was more than willing to fill his role however there was one problem, he couldn't catch for the life of him. His three seasons were plagued by drops, and that led to him not seeing the field very much for his next team: the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Nowadays, Troy Williamson is doing incredibly well for himself. He has opened a Which-Wich sandwich shop in his hometown, and he runs a foundation that helps misfortunate kids with their issues growing up all throughout the country. Awesome work coming from a guy who had a not-so-awesome NFL career.
6 Struggling: David Terrell
David Terrell was a versatile wide receiver coming out of the University of Michigan. This versatility led to him getting drafted 8th overall by the Chicago Bears in the 2001 NFL Draft. Terrell had a pretty good rookie season, where he racked up around 450 yards and 4 TDs. Then he broke his foot. And whether it was bad quarterback play or injury, the 6'2 wide receiver never really caught his footing again. He was released after four seasons and never played another down although he auditioned for many teams. To be fair, Terrell went from playing with Tom Brady in Michigan to Kordell Stewart in Chicago. In 2013, David was arrested for selling drugs. The felony charge is still looming on Terrell.
5 Doing Well: Jamal Reynolds
Jamal Reynolds' NFL career was sad, and not just for Green Bay Packer fans. The Florida State product was supposed to be a productive defensive end after he was taken with the 10th overall pick by Green Bay. He was injured from the get-go and the emergence of other defensive ends slid him down the depth chart. He never got a starting role again and was later dropped and signed by the Cleveland Browns. He lasted a year before he was cut, never to be heard from again.
Now, Jamal buys foreclosed homes and refurbishes them. Reynolds has a nice job considering he doesn't have a college degree. Good on Reynolds for finding a way to make money that doesn't involve sacking the quarterback.
4 Struggling: Peter Warrick
Peter Warrick was not a bad player for the Cincinnati Bengals. He wasn't great either. After his college career at Florida State, Peter was taken number 4 overall by the Cincinnati Bengals in 2000. He was a bit of a trouble-maker, but he was a solid option on the offense for this team. Warrick was injured for most of the 2004 season, and then he was benched by a no-name receiver. By next season, Warrick was already cut and off the team. Talk about a short leash. Peter played on the Seattle Seahawks for one year before exiting the league.
After the NFL, Warrick has signed with multiple indoor football leagues, and he has drama with almost all of them. He never even reported to the Las Vegas Gladiators, even though he signed with them. If Peter Warrick was mature, he wouldn't even had made this list.
3 Doing Well: J.P. Losman
Ah, J.P. Losman. The hot shot quarterback out of Tulane that was drafted with the 22nd pick in the 2004 NFL Draft by the Buffalo Bills. Losman was the fourth quarterback in the draft taken after Eli Manning, Phillip Rivers, and Ben Roethlisberger. In case you couldn't tell, he is the worst out of that bunch. Losman's career began with him breaking his leg in training camp, and he got limited time his rookie season. J.P. never really found his footing as a starting quarterback on the Bills, and he was off the team by 2008. He went on to play for Oakland, Seattle, and Miami in limited roles before he retired in 2012.
Now, J.P. is a coaching intern with the Clemson Tigers. Considering the Clemson Tigers won the championship last season, that's not a bad gig for the bust out of Tulane.
2 Struggling: Mike Williams
Mike Williams the big boy left tackle born and raised out of Texas was selected fourth overall in the 2002 NFL Draft by the Buffalo Bills. Mike was not very good for Buffalo, and was eventually benched for a undrafted free agent by the name of Jason Peters. Williams lasted two more seasons in Buffalo, and then he went on to have stints with the Jacksonville Jaguars and Washington Redskins. A pretty scary event occurred after Mike came back to play with the Redskins. Blood clots were discovered near his heart and he was forced to miss his entire comeback season with the Redskins. Williams was cut before he could make any other impact and he hasn't been heard from since. Williams now coaches high school football in California.
1 Doing Well: Robert Gallery
6'7, 325 pound Robert Gallery was taken with the number 2 overall pick in 2004 by the Oakland Raiders out of the University of Iowa. After his collegiate career, the high draft choice makes sense, especially for an o-line needy team. Boy was everyone wrong. Gallery was considered a bust from his main position of left tackle, and he gave up around 3 sacks every year in Oakland. Those are okay numbers except for his 2006 season, where he gave up the fourth most sacks in the league. Gallery was waived and went on to play for the Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots with limited success.
Nowadays, Robert Gallery refurbishes old-school cars for his own enjoyment. He even has his own shop! Keep doing you, Rob. Keep doing you.