“Too many people spend money they earned to buy things they don’t want to impress people that they don’t like.”
This quote is a perfect example of these NFL Players who in short, lost everything. They wasted away their millions of dollars of earnings, in some cases stupidly, though some were just purely unlucky. This article entails what transpired in these people’s lives, but also where they are in their lives now. In 2016 or the latest report on how the player is doing, and what their life is like.
There is a big misconception that since NFL players make so much money during their careers, that they will spend their money wisely. I think players are beginning to be smart with their cash, but many do not manage their profits correctly.
Why do some players blow their earnings, and some are smart with it? Some think it is on a basis of education, but simply put, the players weren’t taught better, or did not listen to people who suggested them otherwise. Maybe the players didn’t even have someone to consult with, or manager their money. Either way, they lost everything at some point or another.
Even the players who made the biggest fortunes, somehow or another, end up bankrupt. Most players live reckless lifestyles, and at some point, a realization has to kick in. They need to be careful how they spend their cash, and who they deal it out to. Mathematically, it’s off and doesn’t make sense that people with lavish lifestyles would waste away all their money.
Here are the Top 20 NFL players who went from the top, into the bottom of the barrell. As always, feel free to comment below and let us know if we forgot anybody.
20. Vince Young
Vince Young came into the NFL with a ton of hype after having a game for the ages in the 2005 Rose Bowl against USC. The Titans drafted him 3rd overall from Texas on the wishes of then owner Bud Adams. The owner’s meddling seemed to pay off, as Vince Young won the 2006 Rookie of the Year award and after losing his starting job in 2008, he came back in 2009 for a great bounce back season. Unfortunately, his relationship with coach Jeff Fisher deteriorated and he found himself out of Tennessee after the 2010 season.
After failed stints in Philly and Buffalo, Young was quickly out of the league.
In January of 2014, Young filed for bankruptcy in a Houston federal bankruptcy court. Following his losses Young landed a job at his alma mater at the University of Texas. He works for program alumni relations and raising money for programs that assist low income families. He also works in the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement for the school. He was arrested for a DUI earlier this year, but has kept his job at the school. Let’s hope he stays on track.
19. Dermontti Dawson
Dawson was a center for the Pittsburgh Steelers for a little over a decade. He showed incredible loyalty to the Steelers, as he opted to retire after the team released him in 2000, rather than don another uniform. The Hall of Famer filed for Bankruptcy in 2010, at the time he was around $69 million in debt. After retirement he became a realtor, which is ironic seeing as how he lost his own house through his bankruptcy.
Today he lives in sunny San Diego, as a sales executive for a promo products company. He has two children and is married. Since retirement he and his wife have also established a scholarship in his name at the University of Kentucky, his alma mater. He also tried to get into coaching, as he served an internship in scouting for the Steelers and an intern coach with the Bengals in 2010. He is also a part owner for an independent baseball team in Washington, Pennsylvania. He’s kept himself busy which is always a good sign when a player retires.
18. Deuce McAllister
Deuce McAllister quietly set several Saints franchise records during his time in New Orleans. His 49 career rushing touchdowns are a franchise record. He was released by the Saints in 2009 over salary cap issues, but he was given a tremendous gift by the Saints. They signed him to their roster in their Super Bowl season of 2009. Although he didn’t play, McAllister won a Super Bowl with the Saints before retiring.
The Super Bowl XLIV champion, struggled a lot upon retirement. He was a beast for the New Orleans Saints prior to his transition into civilian life, and hasn’t quite adjusted yet.
Although he owned a Nissan dealership, McAllister filed for bankruptcy a couple years ago. Nissan then sued him and McAllister had to settle out of court. His home was sold by the sheriffs office and police department as a result.
He currently works as the Saints analyst on their local station, and is filling in for Hokie Gajan, who is battling cancer. Hopefully for McAllister’s sake, he can lead a normal life from here on out.
17. Chris McAlister
Coincidentally, two people with the last name McAlister are on this list. They are not related, but have similar stories. McAlister was a 10th overall pick in 1999 and was part of their vaunted defense in their Super Bowl season of 2000. He went on to have a good career, making three Pro Bowls and becoming a two-time All Pro. He played most of his career in Baltimore, but played his final season in New Orleans. Unfortunately for McAlister, he was not able to finish the season in the Big Easy, as was released two months before their Super Bowl win.
After being married for three months, the former Raven got divorced, and got in trouble for claiming that he couldn’t pay his child support of only $3,000. He made around $45 million as professional football player, and that lack of payment is unacceptable. McAlister has interned with the Buffalo Bills for two consecutive years, trying to make his way onto a coaching staff. There’s no word yet on whether the Bills will bring him back for a third year. It doesn’t seem likely now, as the Bills have already added to their coaching staff.
16. Raghib Ismail
Rocket Ismail made football history when he chose the CFL over the NFL, signing a four year deal with the Toronto Argonauts for $18.2 million. Despite his bold move, no NFL players really followed suit, as the CFL couldn’t afford to pay salaries like that to anyone else.
The famous NFL receiver made a lot of money in his football career but sadly made poor investments after retirement. Some of that money went to plastic surgery which saw the “Rocket” spent thousands of dollars on his face. Additionally failed business ventures like his own Hard Rock Cafe, led to Ismail’s eventual financial meltdown.
Currently, Ismail speaks at churches, and is also talks at events as an inspirational speaker, often featured as a famous Christian. He has done other small jobs like starring in ESPN satire TV shows. He also had some other interesting jobs in his retirement, including coaching the Bouncers team in the extreme sports league of Slamball. His team was a disaster though, as they finished the 2008 season at 2-10.
15. Luther Elliss
Luther Elliss is a former tackle, who had a solid career with the Detroit Lions, before retiring as a Bronco. His responsibilities as a tackle included blocking for the legendary Barry Sanders. He sure had to be on his toes, as Sanders was known for reversing field whenever he could.
Elliss filed for bankruptcy at the age of 36 years old. The two-time Pro Bowler earned over $11.6 million, but managed to blow it with bad investments, and just bad spending habits. He would go on to admit to his spending compulsion, stating that “I couldn’t admit that I needed help”.
Currently Elliss works at a small company in Oregon, cheering on his son who also plays football for the University of Idaho. He originally worked at University of Utah, but quit after he realized he didn’t like the job. He has been very open about sharing his story, hoping that others don’t make the same mistakes that he did: “I think guys are a little hesitant (to ask for help) just because nobody wants to admit that they don’t know. Nobody wants to admit that they’re not Superman — that there’s Kryptonite out there.”
14. Archie Griffin
One of the greatest college football players ever, Archie Griffin, is on this list. He is the only college football player to win the Heisman Trophy twice. His NFL career didn’t quite measure up to his college success, as he played seven seasons with the Bengals, failing to record a 700-yard season. After his NFL career ended, he tried his hand in the USFL, but failed to catch on with the Jacksonville Bulls. His football career fizzled out and he fell on hard times from there.
The former two-time Heisman winner filed for bankruptcy because of his failed ventures, in the shoe business. After struggling to get back on his feet, he made big steps in his life. Griffin became the Ohio State Assistant Alumni Association Director. He also gives talks to the team before each and every game. Griffin is also is a partial owner of a baseball team in the minor leagues named the Dayton Dragons. Though he filed for bankruptcy in 1982, he has done well after a rough retirement beginning.
13. Tiki Barber
Tiki Barber had a good career with the New York Giants but in his final years, he pretty much blackballed himself from the team, after calling out coach Tom Coughlin and questioning the leadership of Eli Manning. Following his retirement after the 2006 season, the Giants went on to win the Super Bowl without him the following season. Barber had a tough time adjusting to life after football, like many players who retire too soon. He started working for NBC as a broadcaster, but eventually the job didn’t pan out for him. Barber lacked the skill set to jump into a major correspondents role, on one of the nation’s biggest networks.
After his uneventful stint at NBC, Barber decided to leave his wife, for an intern at his work. Today he works on novels, and has published many. In 2011, Barber tried to come out of retirement, reportedly because he had trouble paying his divorce settlement. Despite a workout with the Dolphins, no team signed him. In 2014, he ran a marathon for C.C. Sabathia’s foundation, which showed that he still had some speed in his legs.
12. Warren Sapp
Warren Sapp was one of the most dominant defensive linemen in the NFL during his career, winning a Super Bowl with the Buccaneers in their 2002 season. Unfortunately for Sapp, his retirement has been marred with run-ins with the law and poor financial decisions. It’s been a bumpy retirement for Warren Sapp, it really has. He made millions in the NFL, and what did he spend it on? A mansion with lion skin rugs. Pretty unique, right?
Sapp has made many poor decisions in the last few years and those mistakes have left him a mess. The guy has thousands of shoes in his closet, actually around 2,400 pairs, as he is a sneaker-head. Due to his habits, the former Pro Bowler is over $6.7 million in debt. To add insult to injury, in 2015 he was arrested for hiring a prostitute, and fired by the NFL Network soon after. He has since sold his house, and is trying to find a sustainable job. Let’s hope Sapp is able to find himself, as no football fan wants to see him turn into another NFL tragedy.
11. Andre Rison
Andre Rison seemed to have it made in the NFL, receiving a big contract early in his career. He signed a $17 million contract with the Browns back in the 90s. He was one of the league’s premier receivers, and possibly well deserving of the money. His career seemed to unravel after feuding with Cleveland fans following the news of the team’s move to Baltimore. He once lashed out at their fans saying,”We didn’t make the f**ing move. So, for all the booers, f*** you too. I’ll be glad when we get to Baltimore, if that’s the case. We don’t have any home-field advantage. I’ve never been booed at home. Baltimore’s our home. Baltimore, here we come.”
Following his retirement, Rison made a lot of poor financial decisions. In 2007, he filed for bankruptcy, and couldn’t afford pay child support. In the year 2012, he got a five-year probation for once again not paying child support. Though Rison had a pretty successful career, winning a Super Bowl and having multiple Pro Bowl appearnces, he just couldn’t figure out how to budget any of his earnings. He was featured in ESPN’s 30-for-30 documentary “Broke”.
10. Mark Brunell
To begin this part of the article, let me start by saying that Mark Brunell made over $50 million in the NFL. Let that sink in. Brunell may have had a few solid seasons in Jacksonville, but the Jaguars were a very strong team all around. Brunell was not the main reason the Jags were able to reach the AFC Championship game in 1999, but his contract had you believing that to be the case.
Regardless of how you feel about a non-elite quarterback making that kind of money, he filed for bankruptcy in 2010, and was $25 million in debt in the end. during his playing days, he opened up fast food chains, which didn’t help his economic situation.
Today he volunteers at Florida colleges, and coaches at a high school in Florida. Additionally Brunell’s daughter was named Miss Alabama, and Brunell still owns a bunch of Whataburger restaurants. He and his wife have recently bought a property in Jacksonville, taking out a $1.3 million mortgage. He seems perfectly content to stay in the northern Florida area and continue doing what he’s doing.
9. Ryan Leaf
Ryan Leaf was once touted as possibly having a higher ceiling than Peyton Manning in the NFL. The red flags surrounding Ryan Leaf became apparent almost immediately after he was drafted. While Manning said he was going to head straight to work after the Colts took him, Leaf said he was going to party in Las Vegas. After three disastrous seasons in San Diego, Leaf was released and bounced around the league. He has held a variety of jobs since retirement and completed his degree at Washington State. In 2011, he wrote a book titled 596 Switch: The Improbable Journey from The Palouse to Pasadena. The book focused on his season with the 1997 Washington State team that made it to the Rose Bowl.
Leaf has encountered many legal troubles since retirement. He was sentenced to five years in prison, stemming from earlier charges of burglary, theft and drug charges. On September 9, 2014, Leaf was sentenced to five years in prison, but got credit for time served in Montana. His time was served over burglary, theft and drug charges. He was released from prison in December of 2014 and is currently on parole. It’s best he lays low for a while.
8. Lawrence Taylor
LT was a legend in New York and from his rookie year up until his retirement, he was the force the anchored Big Blue’s defense that won them two Super Bowls.
Lawrence Taylor is perhaps the best linebacker of all time, but his life off the field has been a mess for many years. It’s a shame he hasn’t been able to keep it together.
The Hall of Fame member struggled with money upon retirement. “LT” lived a lavish lifestyle that eventually led to bankruptcy, and foreclosure of his home. He has had many drug related offenses recently, and many domestic allegations from women.
Where is he now?
LT does not have a job, but is keeping it on the down low. He has not gotten in trouble with the law since 2012, when he was accused of having sex with a 16-year-old. LT pleaded guilty to sexual misconduct. Though LT is registered as a low-risk level one sex offender, the court rejected the victim’s claims that LT had assaulted her. Taylor has laid low since the incident and it’s probably best that he does so.
7. Bernie Kosar
The NFL star quarterback made $19 million in his career, mostly due to his stint as the star of the Cleveland Browns. The Browns have been extremely futile in the post-merger era, but Kosar was a bright spot, leading them into the playoffs several times. He is still heralded as a hero in Cleveland, as the Browns have yet to find a franchise quarterback anywhere close to him. Sadly, Kosar’s financial situation took a massive hit after his NFL career.
By 2009, he had only $44 in his checking account. Absurdity indeed. He owed a lot of money to a lawn mowing company, as well and has claimed to frequently have a negative bank balance.
Where is he now?
Kosar was in the news after he received a $750 fine in 2013 for speeding, and other reckless driving incidents. Since then Kosar has been living with his family, working on investments and is potentially opening up a steakhouse again. He has struggled with the effects the game took on his body. He is currently in a treatment program to alleviate his symptoms of lingering concussions.
6. Travis Henry
Travis Henry played for the Buffalo Bills, and a couple other teams. He had a brief stint in Tennessee and also wound up playing with the Denver Broncos. He had some good years in the league and by all means, should have been set up for life.
You know why he went broke? He had nine children with nine women, and owed $170,000 of child support for all of the kids. He went to jail for a short amount of time for failing to pay $16,000 in back support.
But that’s not all.
In 2009, he was sentenced to jail for drug trafficking, as he was dealing cocaine, and was eventually sentenced for three years in a federal prison. He was reinstated to the NFL in 2012, but no team wanted to take a chance on him.
There is a happy ending to this story, as Henry just welcomed twins into the world…which makes it 11 and counting.
5. Dan Marino
After being a franchise quarterback for so long, and having some crossover appeal, with cameos in Ace Ventura and The Simpsons, no one would have expected Marino to lose his earnings. Marino might possibly be the greatest quarterback of all time, but wasn’t so graceful int he business world. He made a really, really bad decision in 2012, and strange enough it involved the Tupac Shakur hologram from Coachella.
He invested in the company “Digital Domain” who made the hologram. Although it was very cool, and interesting to see Tupac back, it was expensive for Marino. He bought $1,575,525 worth of shares of this company. Little did Dan know this company would never do something like this ever again, as Digital Domain filed for bankruptcy right after his purchase. Marino lost nearly $14 million. It wasn’t all his money, but that is pretty damn substantial.
Today, Marino does interviews with ESPN, and opened up a foundation for autism. He sometimes appears on TV to do commercials or announcing. The Dolphins have since taken him back to do some work in their front office.
4. Michael Vick
Although Vick’s career isn’t over yet, the troubled superstar has had it rough.
In 2007, he was arrested for running a dog fighting ring. He served jail time, and was hated by fans and the press. Before this, Vick was liked and admired by NFL supporters, many of which turned on the quarterback soon after his conviction. Vick lost all of his sponsorship deals including Nike and Coke-A-Cola, and was required to pay back his $18 million signing bonus.
His reputation is forever indented.
Despite losing so much money, Vick has been able to rebound quite nicely. He’s been able to stay in the league thus far, despite a diminishing skillset and a ton of injuries. He’s had stints with the Eagles, Jets and Steelers since returning to the league in 2010. Today he is a free agent looking for a team to take a chance on him. He has also continued to condemn dog fighting, and his past actions. It’s unclear what he will do next if his NFL career is indeed over.
While Vick didn’t make all his money back from the time he lost it, considering where he is now compared to 10 years ago, it is overall a good bounce back story.
3. Terrell Owens
T.O, you either love him or you hate him. Many of his former teammates probably feel the same way, as Owens had a way of wearing out his welcome wherever he went. When he was at his best, the distraction was worth it, but as his play diminished, fewer teams had any desire to put up with the bad side of Owens. Despite being one of the best of his era, Owens was recently snubbed from the Hall of Fame, possibly due to his attitude problems during his career. After football (and bankruptcy) Owens took on the IRS and lost $400,000, okay no big deal, he’s a millionaire. But by 2011, he was dead broke, and made really dumb investments. In court, he told the judge he was struggling, he received no mercy from the court.
Today Owens takes every opportunity that he can to make money, being featured in modeling advertisements, reality shows, and recently starting his own podcast. Owens is even contemplating a comeback to the NFL, with the L.A. Rams reportedly interested. Owens technically has not retired and is second in all-time receiving yards behind Jerry Rice. Him suiting up in Los Angeles this fall is a long shot, but there are still plenty of TO fans who would love to see it.
2. JaMarcus Russell
JaMarcus Russell is the biggest draft bust in NFL history, lasting only three years in the league. He never did much, but earned over $30 million thanks to a lack of a rookie wage scale. He proceeded to flush his career down the toilet from there. He didn’t do himself any favors after the Raiders released him.
In 2010, he was arrested for having codeine and other substances. Russell attributed the possession of substances as being ingredients in “lean”, a drink that acts as a downer. He is behind on his mortgage payments, and payed $200,000 to the state of California for falling back in taxes.
Where is the biggest bust in NFL history now?
Today, Russell claims that he would play football for free, just to get another chance. He thinks he deserves another crack at fame. The former Raider may find his way on a team sometime, just not as a starting quarterback. Even those odds are extremely slim, as there are now simply too many younger options for teams. Some people get second chances but it doesn’t appear Russell is going to get another chance.
1. Ray Rice
Ray Rice was liked by the NFL, and fans in general for a good amount of time. Until the video surfaced.
The video showed Ray Rice beating up his girlfriend in an elevator. In an instant Rice is automatically hated by all of the NFL, and the world, after this one stupid move. I’m sure it wasn’t the only time though that he was rash towards her.
Rice lost millions of dollars, most noted his $35 million contract, and $10 million guaranteed. He lost Electronic Arts and Nike endorsements because of a dumb move in 2014. He is paying for it now.
Today, he is a free agent, and is suing the Baltimore Ravens for a levied two-game suspension of some nature. He wants $3.5 million out of the case, and the settlement details have not been posted publicly, but it can be assumed he won based on media sites reports.
It’s unlikely we’ll ever see Rice in the NFL again, as he is a running back on the wrong side of 30 with too much baggage.
Ray Rice had it all, and squashed a great career, with the worst move of his life. Don’t be like Ray Rice… just don’t.
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