I'm going to preface, I do not have much experience with the high style lifestyle that accompanies many professional athletes. While they can drop hundreds of dollars on a meal, I need a few minutes to mull if I can afford to upsize my McDonalds fries. I remembered how jealous I was of these athletes growing up with seemingly endless talent and endless earning potential ahead of them.
Then I got older. Then I got wiser to the real cost of playing in the NFL, both to your body and to your long term finances. For all the athletes that saved their money wisely, there are countless other NFL athletes that wasted and continue to waste their money foolishly.
For many of these professional athletes, they get misguided information. They may invest in a project that goes nowhere or purchase expensive items without ever thinking about a future where they are struggling to get by.
As NFL rookies are entering the league, there is more emphasis than ever being placed on teaching athletes on how to be smart with their money. They do not earn a paycheque every two weeks of the year like many other jobs. While their paycheques are substantial, it takes a degree of planning to make sure you can use your money wisely.
That becomes an all the more tragic story when you consider how many athletes have had their careers cut short by injury, long before they ever make enough money to sustain them the rest of their lives.
Every NFL player is not going to play until his later 30s, many won't make it to their mid or early 30s. It can be enticing to live the NFL lifestyle, especially when you are young and not used to having what seems like an endless stream of money. Unfortunately, as you will see, for many of these athletes, this high style living has cost some long term damage.
15 Adrian Peterson
Now don't get me wrong, Adrian Peterson is far from running out of money. As one of the premier running backs in the history of the NFL, you need to assume that Adrian has enough money set aside for a nice retirement. Perhaps the biggest display of Peterson's money came when he busted out all the stops for his 30th birthday party. Peterson rode into his party on a camel while dressed as a sultan. On top of that, he had a magnificent cake created in the image of the Taj Mahol. There is no telling how much this party cost and I am sure Peterson does not think about it, but there is no doubt that this was one magnificent party.
14 Sam Hurd
Casual NFL fans might not immediately know who Sam Hurd is. With only 53 career receptions over a six year career, Hurd hardly made an impact in the NFL. What he did use his money on however, was large amounts of marijuana and cocaine. This became evident to the world when Hurd got arrested on federal drug charges. I suppose Hurd knew that most athletes run out of money, so why not try and have a successful drug business on the side? Hurd ended up being convicted of trying to set up a drug trafficking ring in three states and as a result got 15 years in jail. Talk about a waste of your NFL money!
13 Terrell Owens
Terrell Owens made headlines throughout his career. As a premier player for several teams, one would have hoped that T.O would have been set for life. Unfortunately, he became one of many athletes who became broke shortly after retirement. One of his silliest purchases was sinking two million dollars into an entertainment complex in Alabama that featured Bingo. This purchase was made all the more ridiculous when you consider that gambling is illegal in Alabama. The project ended up turning into nothing substantial and was a significant loss to Owens, who is now struggling to pay off his debts from his former high-profile life.
12 Vince Young
Vince Young never lived up to his expectations. Drafted in the first round by the Titans, they were hoping he'd become the new face of the franchise. Unfortunately, that did not happen, but thankfully for Young's sake, they still paid him a large amount of money. What should you do when you have more money than you know what to do with? Go to the Cheesecake factory of course! It is heavily rumored that Vince Young would spend upwards of $5,000 a week at the Cheesecake factory. Now don't get me wrong, I love me a good cheesecake, but $5,000? It's like you are trying to burn through money.
11 Bryant McKinnie
Bryant McKinnie might not be a name that immediately jumps out to you when thinking of NFL players who wasted their money. To his credit, offensive linemen do not always get the notoriety of other positions (but they should!). That did not stop McKinnie from racking up a strip club bar tab of $375,000! The bill was run up over the course of 20 months. McKinnie originally strongly denied the claims. Something must have changed McKinnie's mind because he has agreed to pay 40% of the 'bar tab'. 40% of 375,000$ still works out to a whopping 150,000$.
10 Fred Smoot
Fred Smoot's biggest claim to fame did not come on the football field. As a rookie, Smoot was one of several Viking players that helped organize what is now known as the 'love boat scandal'. The scandal included a professional football team taking to a yacht with over 100 'professional' women. Now it is hard to give Smoot credit for this, as who knows how much money he lost while trying to organize the party. But players coming together to organize a 'love boat' during the teams bye week? Well, let's just say Smoot probably learned a few things about how to properly party in the NFL.
9 Warren Sapp
Warren Sapp was an absolute monster in the NFL. There may have not been a more terrifying site for opposing Quarterbacks then Sapp coming off the line. Unfortunately, the scariest thing to Sapp may have been his debt collectors. Sapp is one of many NFL stars that filed for bankruptcy shortly after retirement. Lost in Sapp's assets was his collection of Nike shoes. Sapp allegedly had 213 pairs of Nike's auctioned off for a paltry $6,390. Given the sheer amount of money that Sapp was earning at points in his career, it must have really hurt to sell off your shoe collection for roughly $30 a pair.
8 Andre Rison
Andre Rison was in the NFL for 12 years. However, Rison's most notable moment is when he appeared in the ESPN documentary Broke. The documentary talked about NFL players, including Rison, that have lost a significant portion of their income. Rison earned over $19 million during his career, but had expensive tastes that quickly impacted his fortunate. Rison admits he was foolish with his money and is paying for it in retirement. Rison's high profile lifestyle included dropping over $1 million on jewelry and other items to try and increase his appearance and social status. On top of that, Rison's money disappeared with silly purchases such as multiple new vehicles in a season. C'mon Andre, you're on the road for half of that time! Why do you need to constantly be buying new cars?
7 Lawrence Taylor
Lawrence Taylor is one of the best NFL players of all time, but Taylor is also one of the more tragic stories in NFL history. As a player he was feared, but off-the-field, Taylor had demons that cost him financially. In an interview with 60 Minutes, Taylor admitted that the partying lifestyle never stopped for Taylor when he retired. Taylor turned to cocaine as his main source of relief, claiming that at one point in his life the only people he knew were addicts or dealers.
6 Travis Henry
Travis Henry didn't have himself an entirely awful NFL career. Drafted by Buffalo in the 2nd round, Henry also played for Tennessee and Denver during his seven year career. While seven years is not an incredibly long time to amass income, it is definitely long enough to seduce countless women. As a result, Henry had 11 children with 10 different women. This is a scary thing when you consider that child support is going to last a lot longer than any NFL career. Henry learned that lesson all too well when he failed to pay over $16,000 in child support. It's hard to say that children are a 'waste' of money, but there is no bigger threat to your income like having 10 kids to support with different women.
5 Chris McAlister
Chris McAlister had several moments in the NFL where he felt like he was on the top of the world. As a first round pick and Super Bowl winner, McAlister found success over an eleven year career. In 2004, five years after he was drafted, McAlister was rewarded with a seven year contract worth $55 million. McAlister's play did not live up to the contract and he was cut in 2009. One of McAlister's financial decisions that he regrets would have been purchasing an absolutely massive truck, fittingly nicknamed King Kong. Sadly, only a few years removed from playing, McAlister was back living at home with no income.
4 Dan Marino
There are a lot of reasons why Dan Marino may get teased during his retirement. Marino, despite being a Hall of Famer, will always be remembered for being excellent, but never being able to win a super bowl. Marino should also be teased for his insane investment in 'Digital Domain'. If the company sounds familiar, it's because they were the ones who did the holographic version of Tupac. They may be more famous now for having gone bankrupt a few years ago and unfortunately for Dan, he owned 8.6% of the company when it happened. This ended up costing Dan millions.
3 Bart Scott
Bart Scott was an aggressive NFL player. Often terrorizing opponents as a member of the Baltimore Ravens or New York Jets, Scott played 11 years in the NFL. I suppose after 11 years you can start to build up a pretty nice savings account. Scott clearly dipped into his savings when purchasing a 450 gallon koi fish pond. The tank was put together by the TV series ‘Tanked’ which could not have made the cost any lower. The koi pond also features two different levels that offer viewing, because only having one level is clearly not good enough.
2 Chad Johnson
Chad Johnson should have studied Travis Henry's life a little bit closer. Like Henry, Johnson is being sunk during his retirement due to his excessive child-support bills. Johnson has fathered five children and claims that he is asked to pay over $16,000 a month for child support. That would be alarming enough, without considering that Johnson claimed his lifestyle is putting him at over $45,000 in debt every single month. This includes $7,500 to be spent on entertainment and food, as well as another $3,000+ to be spent on clothing. Chad, it's time to slow down or you'll be one of several prominent players that lost it all after retirement. Johnson’s expenses also went to cars throughout his career, including a ridiculously oversized semi truck, a Lamborghini, Bentley and other luxury cars that could not have come cheap.
1 Michael Vick
There are not many people in the NFL with a worse past then Michael Vick. For those who are unaware, Vick made over a hundred million in his career with the Atlanta Falcons. That all came crashing down when it was revealed that he was involved in a dog fighting scandal. Prior to going to jail, one of Vick's last purchases was an $85,000 fish pond for his house. Vick also spent over $40,000 on landscaping for his property prior to going away. Something tells me that despite all these efforts, he still needed to re-cut the grass when he got out of jail.