Some of the NFL players we listed below will shock you. Some wont. But reading this will make you think long and hard before you go out and blow your money again on what appears to be a worthy investment. That new video game system? Maybe it's better just to go outside and throw the football around. That fishing trip to Maui, flying first class, and staying in that five-star hotel? Maybe it's best to wait a few years, and in the meantime, take a quick drive to the local watering hole.
This article will likely make you appreciate what you have because those who seem to have it all, in reality, often have nothing. At one point in time, you were looking at these star athletes with envy, jealous that you didn't have their three Lincoln cars of three different colors sitting in front of a multi-million-dollar mansion. But now, many of them look at you, whose seemingly modest life appears both enjoyable and worlds away, with a type of unfamiliar reverence.
The question is, why do professional sports players fall into the rabbit hole? Sure, us common folk may understand the reasons behind player bankruptcy, but often players are oblivious to the concepts from the moment they receive their first pay check to the moment they declare ruin.
Here is the main reason: Often players feel the need and pressure to max out, which means they spend all of their money when they get it. It's an umbrella concept that encompasses countless other reasons. For example, many players grow up poor, work hard, make it to the NFL, and get rich. It's the American Dream; however, most don't know how to manage that Dream, and their finances fall flat. Along with poorly investing their money, players often feel the pressure of spending. The New York Times cited former NFL offensive tackle Roman Oben as a prime example of a player who felt pressure to spend big when he didn't want too. Players often teased Oben about his Toyota Land Cruiser with 68,000 miles on it.
And despite continued efforts by the NFL to educate players, the reasons NFL players go bankrupt is as long as the massive salaries they once owned.
20 Dick Lane, DE
19 Raghib Ismail, WR
Not all might be lost with Ismail, which is why he's higher on this list. Ismail, known as the "The Rocket" for his blazing speed and athleticism, racked up close to $18 million playing in the Canadian and National Football League. However, he lost much of that money when he invested in several poor business ventures, including a cosmetics procedure that supposedly helped the skin better intake oxygen, nationwide phone card dispensers, and tourist shops that sold calligraphy.
18 Luther Elliss, DT-DE
17 Archie Griffin, RB
16 Tiki Barber, RB
15 Warren Sapp, DT
14 Andre Rison, WR
13 Chris McAlister, CB
12 Mark Brunell, QB
11 Johnny Unitas, QB
10 Lawrence Taylor, LB
9 Dan Marino, QB
8 Bernie Kosar, QB
7 Deuce McAllister, RB
6 Travis Henry, RB
5 Michael Vick, QB
4 Dermontti Dawson, C
3 Terrell Owens, WR
2 JaMarcus Russell, QB
1 Ray Rice, RB
This is where the definition of "lost everything" really works its dark magic. We went back and forth about whether Rice should be lower on this list, or really, even on this list. After all, he still has money. It wasn't that long ago he was suiting up for the Ravens hoping to make 2014 a comeback year.
But before he had that chance, he made one horrific decision the night of February 15th, 2014 that would change the landscape of both his and his wife's life forever. Video of Rice dragging the body of his soon-to-be wife, Janay, out of an elevator in an Atlantic City casino popped up on TMZ. Months later, TMZ would publish more footage of him roundhouse punching Janay in the head. She immediately dropped to the floor unconscious. The immediate aftermath was horrific, and both the Rice family and the NFL continue to pay dearly for it.
Not only did the Ravens release Rice, but he lost out on the remaining $10 million of his original five-year $35 million deal. Sure, he took home most of his contract's worth, but this story goes beyond dollar signs. There is a certain human element involved , which had never hit a player or the NFL so hard before.
While $10 million is a nice chunk of change to lose, you also have to consider how he lost EA and Nike endorsements. The chance he receives future endorsements is also slim. Oh, and those future autograph appearances for being a Super Bowl winning running back? See ya later. More importantly, his reputation is shot and any attempt at recovery will likely be thwarted by the quick surfacing of his elevator brutality. Ray Rice truly lost it all.
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