If you are a young adult now, there is a good chance you grew up watching the fantastic football of the 2000s. It was hard hitting, high-flying and incredibly entertaining to watch. It was absolutely amazing watching what some of these superstars could do on the football field. However, as the years went on and these players got older, we began to see them not only retire from the league, but also fade into obscurity in most cases. These were some of the premier players in the league and you hardly hear about any of them anymore.
Well, we are about to change that. This article will take a look at 15 former NFL stars of the 2000s and see what they have been up to since retiring from the NFL. Some have been successful and been doing amazing things in retirement, while others have had their fair share of struggles. Without any further ado, let’s take a look at what 15 NFL stars you have forgotten about are getting up to now.
15. Tiki Barber
Tiki Barber is without a doubt one of the best running backs in the history of the New York Giants football team. Barber played for them for 10 years and put up over 15,000 total yards and over 60 total touchdowns. In addition to being a great football player, Barber was also a very well-spoken person. So when he retired, it was natural for him to shift into broadcasting. However, that didn’t work so well for him as he bounced around numerous different stations and eventually got fired for leaving his pregnant wife for a 23-year-old intern, which was obviously a breach of contract. His divorce settlement cost him a lot of money and he is currently working on CBS sports radio to try to get back on top.
14. Ty Law
While his name has been in the news recently as a potential Hall of Famer this year, Ty Law is largely forgotten in the conversation of some of the best cornerbacks of the 2000s. He is without a doubt best known for his multi-year stint with the New England Patriots from the late 1990s to the mid-2000s. He won three Super Bowls with them and was a true hard hitting corner with ball-hawking abilities as well. Since he has retired from active play in the NFL, Ty Law has become an entrepreneur. His main venture is Launch Trampoline Park. Let me tell you, if you have never been to a trampoline park, they are very fun. Law’s parks have done very well and now he has several different locations throughout the New England-area.
13. JaMarcus Russell
Oh, what could have been. During his college career, Jamarcus Russell looked unstoppable as he finished 21-4 and looked to have all the physical makings of a future superstar at QB. However, we all know how that turned out. He was drafted first overall in the 2007 NFL draft and while he sat for most of his rookie season, he actually played decently in his sophomore year. However, his career then began a huge downward spiral and he was out of the league before 2010. His effort, weight and intelligence were all called into question and he was simply inconsistent on and off the field. He has tried to put his failures and his “bust” label behind him, but that’s easier said than done. He is currently a youth football coach in Mobile, Alabama and due to much of his massive rookie contract being guaranteed, he never has to worry about money ever again.
12. Mark Brunell
While Mark Brunell was never a huge star, he had a very successful NFL career through the 1990s and 2000s. He was a three-time Pro Bowler, won a Super Bowl and played for a variety of different teams during his NFL career. So while he is known as a football player, he is perhaps better known for his financial struggles after retiring. While he made a ton of cash during his career, he lost nearly all of it to various bad business choices and went bankrupt. He tried to stay afloat for as long as he could, but it didn’t work out. Since he filed for bankruptcy, Brunell has secured a gig with ESPN and also works as a high school football coach down in Florida.
11. Jake Plummer
Jake Plummer is a very interesting character and is largely forgotten when talking about some of the best quarterbacks of the 2000s. He was a solid contributor for both the Arizona Cardinals and the Denver Broncos. He should be noted far more often for his athleticism and the fact he was partly responsible for the influx of fast and more mobile quarterbacks being viable starters. He is fairly forgettable because he only made one Pro Bowl but don’t get it twisted, he was a great player. Since retiring from the NFL, Plummer has taken an interest in another sport, called handball. He has competed as a pro and has even hosted his own pro tournament as well. In addition to his love for handball, Plummer has also been a coach and a studio analyst for college football.
10. Keith Bulluck
Despite his career getting off to a relatively slow start, Keith Bulluck would eventually turn into one of the best linebackers of all time. He was a three-time All-Pro and an absolute tackling machine over his ten years as a member of the Tennesse Titans. While he was a great ball player, he knew it wouldn’t last forever and planned for his future while he was still playing. He attended workshops for business at Harvard and Stanford, taking advantage of the various perks of being in the NFL. He continued to foster this education about business after his retirement when he managed to secure an MBA at the George Washington University School of Business. Since then, he opened a digital branding agency for athletes and he is finding a lot of success post-retirement.
9. Clinton Portis
Clinton Portis had an amazing first two years in the NFL with the Denver Broncos and seemed like a future superstar, he was then subsequently traded to the Washington Redskins for Champ Bailey, which turned out to be one of the most mutually beneficial trades in the history of the NFL. Portis would go on to play seven solid seasons for the team before ultimately retiring after the 2010 NFL season. Portis made a lot of money in his career, but due to money mismanagement by his financial advisors, he lost it all and filed for bankruptcy in 2015. This was so devastating for Portis that he contemplated murdering his former advisors but thankfully decided against it. He currently is doing work for several different media outlets.
8. Zach Thomas
The late 1990s and 2000s were home to some of the most frightening and best linebackers of all time. Of course, you have guys like Ray Lewis, Brian Urlacher, Derrick Brooks and more, but one guy that is often forgotten about is Zach Thomas. This is a travesty, as Zach Thomas made seven Pro Bowls and five first team All-Pros and should be remembered as fondly as the previous three names I mentioned. When Thomas retired, it was a huge loss for the Dolphins and the NFL as a whole.
Since retiring, Zach Thomas has been up to a lot of different things. He has several different businesses (including a string of upscale health facilities in Texas) and spends his time being a father to his three young children in South Florida where he still resides to this day.
7. Mike Alstott
Despite playing the position of fullback (which is not a position known for breeding superstars), Mike Alstott was a definite superstar during the 2000s during his time with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He was a ferocious blocker and no one wanted to come face to face with him in the hole. He made six Pro Bowls in his career and may have gone to more if his career wasn’t tragically cut short by a terrible neck injury. He is currently an advocate against the widespread and rampant use of painkillers in the NFL. In addition to that, he has also been involved in the restaurant industry and also has a charity. Also, like many different former NFL players, he has also dabbled in coaching high school football which he has been doing for a few years.
6. Joey Harrington
While he achieved much less success than most of the people on this list, Joey Harrington was still a starting quarterback in the NFL for many different years and different teams. He is best known for his time with the Detroit Lions, in which he was fairly mediocre, but the team was awful so we can’t blame him. However, once he retired, he decided to get serious about something that he was incredibly talented at, which is playing the piano. He was performed guest piano work for several large acts and around the Oregon area. Of course, it wouldn’t be an NFL retirement without opening a restaurant and Harrington has done that when he opened one in Portland a few years back. He has also had some experience as a broadcaster for a news station in Oregon.
5. Warrick Dunn
Warrick Dunn was an undersized running back but more than made up for it with his speed, agility and pass catching ability. Dunn had a 10+ year career in the NFL and made it to three Pro Bowls. He rushed for over 1,000 yards five separate times and had over 10,000 rushing yards in his career with the Falcons and Buccaneers. So while he was an amazing football player, he was an even better man off the field. After retiring, Dunn went on to focus more on his multiple charities. His most notable is the Homes for the Holidays program that gives single-parent families down payment assistance and home furnishings. To date, the program has helped over 150 parents and families, including the family of Texans QB Deshaun Watson.
4. Chris McAlister
During his prime with the Baltimore Ravens, Chris McAlister was one of the single best cornerbacks in the entire NFL. He was named to three Pro Bowl teams as well as being named an All-Pro twice. He won a Super Bowl with the team and was one of the best players on their legendary defense during the 2000s. While many of these stories within this article have had happy endings, this one did not.
After retiring, Chris McAlister would soon find himself in a ton of financial trouble. His financial troubles were due to a custody battle with an ex-wife as well as his crazy party habits. But to be broke and living with your parents around a year after retiring from a 10-year career, that’s pretty extreme. Hopefully, he can turn it around, but retirement hasn’t been great for McAlister so far.
3. Priest Holmes
Priest Holmes came into the NFL as an undrafted free agent in 1997 and turned that opportunity into a huge career. While he got his start with the Ravens (and even won a Super Bowl with them), he is without a doubt best known for his amazing career with the Kansas City Chiefs. With the Chiefs, Holmes put up some amazing stats and was easily a top 5 running back during this time period. However, an unfortunate beck injury forced Holmes into an early retirement in 2007. Since retiring, Holmes has focused on being a philanthropist through his Priest Holmes Foundation. The foundation is all about encouraging education for underprivileged children and enhancing their lives in any way possible. He also went back and got his Bachelors degree from the University of Texas.
2. Dhani Jones
During college with the University of Michigan, Dhani Jones was a superstar and helped them win a national championship in 1997. He was drafted in the sixth round of the 2000 NFL draft by the New York Giants. While he would never become a huge star on the field, he did play for four different teams over a successful 10-year career. However, once he retired, he became an even bigger star as he went on to become a TV host for a number of different shows on channels like CNBC and the Travel Channel. In addition to his TV work, Jones founded a creative agency, opened up a cafe and works with several different charities. He has done very well for himself in his post-playing career.
1. Adrian Wilson
From his debut in 2001 until his retirement in the early 2010s, Adrian Wilson was one of the most feared safeties in the NFL. He was a hard hitter, who could also drop into coverage and also make plays on the ball as well. He was a freak of nature, incredibly athletic and made five Pro Bowls during his career, as well as three All-Pro teams. Since retiring, Wilson has been up to a lot, including opening a high-end shoe store in Scottsdale and also being a scout for the Arizona Cardinals. He has been one of the top scouts for the team and don’t be shocked to one day here his name be mentioned as a potential GM in the NFL one day.
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