Being a professional athlete comes with a lot of fame and fortune, especially if you are one of the best in the league. But what we see too often from these big time players is that they tend to get too wrapped up in the spotlight and waste away their fortune. These former NFL players know all to well what it feels like to hit hard times and lose it all.
Former LSU great and first overall pick in the 2007 NFL draft received a $68 million dollar contract from the Oakland Raiders, but after two years of consistent play Russell was released. He lost most of his money after that and was arrested several times for drugs.
Rice was on his way to becoming one of the best running backs in NFL history until he decided to knock his fiancee unconscious. He was let go by the Ravens, suspended by the NFL indefinitely, jobless and now broke.
Hall of Fame linebacker Lawrence Taylor had one of the best defensive careers in NFL history and has two rings to prove it. After failing several drug tests and being arrested quite often for drugs, Taylor ended up losing a lot of his fortune. He had to file for bankruptcy in the ’90s after the IRS came after him for tax fraud.
Barber is known as being one of the most consistent backs to ever play the game and made a lot of money doing it. Once he called it quits, he started working as a sports analyst for NBC, but was soon let go once it was discovered that he had been unfaithful to his wife with an NBC intern.
Known as one of the greatest wide receivers to ever lace them up, Owens was just as much known for his selfish personality as his incredible talent. Every single team he was on during his career he caused problems. When he retired he owned the IRS $00,000, made poor investments and constantly failed to pay child support.
Marino is one of the top five quarterbacks to ever play the position in NFL history, breaking records and earning a lot of money while doing it. He became an analyst after retirement and invested most of his earnings in a company called Digital Domain. When the company went bankrupt, Marino lost $14 million due to the 1,575,525 shares he purchased.
Sapp was a first ballot Hall of Famer after having an amazing career with the Buccaneers and Raiders. Life after the NFL got pretty rough for Sapp due to his expensive lifestyle and was forced to file for bankruptcy in 2012. He had to auction off most his prized possessions to pay lawyers, government and the IRS.
Brunell made an estimated $50 million during his NFL career where he primarily played for the Jacksonville Jaguars. After retiring, he made some poor investments in real estate and the Whataburger fast food chain and had to file for bankruptcy in 2010. He is now a high school football coach.
Henry saw spurts of greatness during his short NFL career before being released for failing multiple drug tests. He was briefly imprisoned for trafficking cocaine and failing to pay child support for his eleven children from ten different women.
Vick was on his way to being one of the best quarterbacks to ever play the position, but once he was arrested for running a dog fighting ring out of his house, that all went down the drain. In 2007 Vick went to jail and lost his $130 million contract. He has played for several teams since his release but has never been able to shine like he once did.
McAlister made around $45 million playing cornerback for the Baltimore Ravens and New Orleans Saints. Even with all that money he ended up having to file for bankruptcy for not being able to pay $3,000 for child support.
Dick “Night Train” Lane
Hall of Famer Dick Lane served four years in the army before dominating the NFL as one of the best defensive backs during the 1950s and the 1960s. After his career he began drinking heavily, made bad business deals and used drugs profusely which caused him to lose everything.
A long time center for the Pittsburgh Steelers, Dawson had a great career and was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. In 2010 he had to file for chapter 7 bankruptcy after his real estate business failed and $69 million in liabilities and debts that he couldn’t pay.
Griffin is the only two-time, back-to-back Heisman winner in college football history, but hsi college play never transferred to the NFL. During his seven years with the Bengals he only scored seven times. He filed for bankruptcy in 1982 due to a failed shoe business.
Ismail played for many different teams during his 20 year NFL career making close to $20 million as a wide receiver. He lost nearly all of his money after making several poor business choices.
A defensive tackle for the Detroit Lions and Denver Broncos during his playing time, Ellis went from multi-millionaire to bankruptcy after failed business investments.
Rison had a successful career as a receiver playing for several teams in the NFL and once signing a $17 million contract with the Browns. He blew through a lot of his fortune and was forced to file for bankruptcy after failed child support payments.
McAllister was a consistent and loyal running back for the New Orleans Saints, but was a horrible business man. He had to file for bankruptcy after his Nissan Dealership went out of business and he owed the bank around $1.8 million for failing to pay his mortgage.
Unitas played for several different teams, but saw most of his success and won a championship with the Baltimore Colts. After football, he became an investor but failed miserably as it caused him to file for bankruptcy in 1991.
Probably the best quarterback to ever play for Cleveland, Kosar was a huge fan favorite before hanging them up in 1996. After retiring he became part-owner of the Florida Panthers and opened a restaurant, which didn’t do so well and caused him to file for bankruptcy in 2009. When he filed he had a debt of $18.9 million and owed the Ohio government $173,000.
Batch, who spent most of his career with the Detroit Lions and Pittsburgh Steelers, was a consistent quarterback throughout his career and earned a stable paycheck. However, after his career he went into real estate with some partners and defaulted on 25 properties with debt greater than $8 million.
Young spent his NFL career playing for the Tennessee Titans, the Philadelphia Eagles and the Buffalo Bills before heading into free agency. Throughout his career he made $26 million but due to his financial manager misappropriating $5.5 million and expensive weekly trips to Cheesecake Factory, most of his fortune was gone before he was done playing.
After an illustrious NFL career with the Carolina Panthers and Chicago Bears, Muhammad saw a lot of his fortune begin to fade away. He was forced to sell his house, which boasted one of the largest private aquariums in the United States, due to credit card debt and a failed record label. He has rebounded from this and is now a franchise owner of Wild Wing Cafe.
Mark Ingram Sr.
Ingram is widely known in the football community as the man who caught the game-winning touchdown for the New York Giants in their 20-19 victory over the Buffalo Bills in Super Bowl XXV. In 2008 he was sentenced to 8 years in prison for money laundering and tax fraud.
Simpson is known as won of the greatest college running backs of all time and he had a Heisman trophy to prove it. He fell out of grace when he was accused of murdering his ex-wife Nicole Simpson and Ronald Goldman in 1994. He was proven not guilty in 1995, but couldn’t stay out of the lime light too long. In 2007 he was convicted of kidnapping and armed robbery in which he was sentenced to 15 years in prison.
Hernandez played tight end for the New England Patriots and was on his way to becoming one of the best tight ends in the league, until he decided to commit murder. In 2015 he was sentenced to life in prison for killing former friend Odin Lloyd at the young age of 25.
Portis was once the best running back in the league and had the salary to prove it. At the end of his career he had made close to $50 million, but by 2015 he was struggling to make it due to a foreclosure, unpaid income tax and a quarter million dollar gambling bet.
Gordon was on his way to being one of the best wide receivers the NFL has ever seen, but after two years in a row of abusing the NFL’s drug abuse policy his time in the league looks to be over. Say goodbye to million upon millions of dollars.
A bust all around, not much to say about this guy. The former first round pick is one of the biggest busts in league history and has continued that theme after his short career. Going in and out of jail since his downfall.
Carruth was a promising wide receiver for the Carolina Panthers and earned about $3.7 million over four years. But in just his second year the truth about his dark side came out. Carruth was charged with and later convicted for conspiring to murder the mother of his child, who later died and was sentenced to 24 years in prison.
Williams was once one of the greatest running backs in the league before deciding to call it quit to indulge in “spiritual” things. Even after making close to $80 million with his contract and endorsements. He returned to the league years later and was a mere shade of his former Texas days.