Whether you love or hate the NFL, there’s no doubt in anyone’s mind that it is one of America’s favorite and beloved sports. Every year millions of Americans watch their favorite teams battle it out for that one, special prized possession, the Vince Lombardi Trophy. So we are digging deep and rounding up some NFL stars who made a profound impact on the sport to see just what they’ve been up to since retirement. ~Get ready, set.~
We’re starting this list off with a rather obvious choice. Michael Vick, at one time, was the dazzling quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons who seemed to re-energize the league in a way not seen for years. Sadly though, before he could firmly remembered as one of the greats, he was arrested and jailed for his part in an illegal dog-fighting ring. The $130 million he had racked up during his playing days was burned through in his legal battles, he even filed for bankruptcy. While he did return to the NFL, it was always as a backup, there’s a rumor that Vick is contemplating fighting for a first place slot instead of just as a back up after watching Tom Brady’s groundbreaking performance at Super Bowl LI.
Chris McAlister was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens during the first round of the 1999 NFL Draft, and he played for the Ravens for 10 seasons before playing just one last final season with the New Orleans Saints. McAlister is a 3× Pro Bowl selection, a 2× All-Pro, and has earned one Super Bowl ring (XXXV). His career earnings amounted to something like $62 million but the money didn’t last very long, he even struggled to make child support payments.
“The Golden Arm” was a record-setting quarterback, and also was the NFL’s most valuable player in 1957, 1959, 1964 and 1967. Everyone has always, consistently, listed Unitas as one of the greatest NFL players of all time, which isn’t surprising given his impressive record (we won’t list them all as we’d be here for quite a while). Off the field town, he was quite the poor businessman, in 1991, he filed for bankruptcy for failure and inability to pay back loans on a purchase he made of a manufacturing company.
Ricky Williams played for 12 great seasons with the New Orleans Saints, the Miami Dolphins, the Toronto Argonauts, and the Baltimore Ravens, including one season in the Canadian Football League. Williams is also a qualified yoga instructor who believes in the use of recreational marijuana. Currently he’s fighting in court with Peggy Fulford, his former financial advisor, who he claims stole $4 million from his accounts.
Easily one of the greatest quarterbacks the NFL has seen. He will always be remembered for his quick release and powerful arm, for leading the Dolphins to the playoffs 10 times in his 17 season career. The Pro Football Hall of Famer also had his Miami Dolphins No. 13 jersey retired. Currently, he ranks 5th, behind behind Brett Favre, Peyton Manning, Tom Brady and John Elway, on the list of most wins by a starting QB, with 147. Unfortunately he’s also remembered for investing a whopping $14 million with the entertainment company named Digital Domain – who created the first ever Tupac Shakur hologram at Coachella. The company ended going belly up not long after Marino’s investment, which caused the QB to lose everything.
When Sapp retired, he was just one of eight defensive players in NFL history to make the Pro Bowl, be named Defensive Player of the Year and win a Super Bowl or pre-Super-Bowl NFL title. His career was also clouded with controversy due to his hard-hitting style of play and verbal outbursts, both on and off the field, some of which resulted in fines, and once he was kicked out from a game for unsportsmanlike conduct. And since retiring, he’s had his own series of problems. He bought into some poor real estate, had troubles with child support and alimony, and then ran into issues with the law. Sapp’s $82 million earned during his NFL career is basically all dried up now.
Elway’s entire 16 year career was with the Denver Broncos, he’s currently their executive vice president of football operations and general manager. This Pro Football Hall of Famer at the time of his retirement in early 1999 had recorded the most victories by a starting QB and was statistically was the second most prolific passer in the history of the NFL. He also happened to invest rather heavily in car dealerships and other business ventures, reaching an estimated worth of $145 million. Now that’s a lot of dough! However, rather unfortunately, Elway was entrapped in a nasty Ponzi scheme in 2010. His investment of about $10 million ended up costing him $7 million, according to ABC News.
No one can forget “The Refrigerator,” he was a defensive tackle for the Bears, and his goal-line touchdowns during the Bears 1985 championship season are legendary. Perry ventured out of football, getting his very own G.I. action figure and starring on numerous shows. Although none of this prepared him for his serious financial issues, mainly due to his health problems and ludicrous spending. In 2015, he sadly put his Super Bowl ring up for auction just to make ends meet.
“Spider-Man” led the NFL in most receptions in his first four and first five seasons, he was also second for most receptions in six seasons. Rison is also one of a few players to have won professional football championships in both the United States and Canada. However his most recent problems have been in his inability to pay for child support.
Batch was drafted by the Detroit Lions during the second round of the 1998 NFL Draft and went on to play 15 seasons in the NFL, however most of it as a backup with the Steelers, with whom he did earn two Super Bowl rings (Super Bowl XL and Super Bowl XLIII) with. When he retired though in 2011, he had just about $3 million dollars worth of assets and a debt greater than $8 million. Batch worked with a handful of partners at some development company but unfortunately, the company defaulted on about 25 properties, forcing Batch to hope he could used the rest of the money remaining to settle any outstanding debts.
For eight years, Elliss was the defensive lineman for the Detroit Lions. During that time, he went to two Pro Bowls and racked up some $11 million in career earnings. Then just a mere five years after retirement, Elliss filed for bankruptcy. He had lost almost ALL of his fortune by investing poorly, and even donating too much of his money to charity.
For six seasons, Vince Young seemed to have it all, in his rookie season, Young was named the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year and was named to the AFC Pro Bowl team as a reserve. Then in 2009, he earned his second Pro Bowl selection and was also named Sporting News NFL Comeback Player of the Year. However after retirement, Young ran into some financial problems due to his lavish spending and in 2014 he applied for bankruptcy, though not long after, he asked the court to dismiss his bankruptcy claim.
We’re going old school with “Night Train” on this list but come on, the man’s got an impeccable record with his 7× Pro Bowl, 7× First-team All-Pro, 2× NFL Interceptions leader, and the NFL record 14 interceptions in a season (which still stands to this day). In the 50s, he was known as a ferocious tackler so much so that his style of play led the NFL to change the rules. This Hall of Famer sadly had drinking problems and invested poorly but he still managed to live a good life before he passed away in 2002.
In the second round of the 1997 NFL Draft, Barber was drafted by the Giants and played his entire career for them. When he retired from the NFL at the end of the 2006 postseason, he was the Giants’ all-time rushing and reception leader. Not bad, eh? Well after retirement, things got a bit bumpy for Barber. In his broadcasting career, he was transferred out of Football Night in America and onto the Today Show> where he was a host for only a short amount of time. Barber then violated NBC’s morality clause when he left his pregnant wife to shack up with the company intern and dished out a ton of dough in the divorce settlement. Recently he starred in a Geico commercial as a barber no less but not a very good one.
Brunell is a three-time Pro Bowl selection with the Jacksonville Jaguars. In his career, he also played for the Washington Redskins, New Orleans Saints, and New York Jets. In 2009, he earned a Super Bowl ring as the backup quarterback. However in 2010, Brunell filed for bankruptcy as he invested in many failed real estate and other business investments.
Running back Travis Henry was quickly on his way to being remembered as one of the greats, he became a pro footballer in 2001 and was selected to the Pro Bowl just a year later. But then his career unraveled as quickly as it had been put together. Henry suffered from many substance abuse issues and was eventually suspended by the NFL. Shortly after, he was sentenced to three years in prison for cocaine trafficking.
“The Rocket” caught the public eye when he played for Norte Dame, he then went on to record two 1,000-yard receiving seasons while in the NFL and was a CFL All-Star in 1991, and was also the Most Valuable Player of the 79th Grey Cup. However he invested a ton of money on numerous unsuccessful business ventures, including attempting to open a restaurant franchise similar to the Hard Rock Cafe.
No doubt about it, Taylor was one of the greatest defensive players to ever take the field, especially during his time with the New York Giants. In his career, Taylor earned around $50 million while making Pro Bowl after Pro Bowl. Just five years after retirement, he filed for bankruptcy and some time later, was found guilty for tax evasion.
Dermontti Dawson’s entire NFL career was with the Pittsburgh Steelers, and he was even elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2012. “Dirt” will always be remember for the way he would try to grind defenders into the ground, plus his 7× Pro Bowl selection and the 6× First-team All-Pro is no joke. In 2010, he filed for bankruptcy protection over $69 million in liabilities against just below $1.5 million in assets, he’s currently a sales executive for a promotional products company out in San Diego.
Whether you’re a fan or not of the NFL, you surely know who OJ Simpson is. He was an exemplary running back who set records left and right, he was also one of the top earning players of the NFL. After his football career, he went on to become a sports broadcaster and an actor. Then in 1995, Simpson was acquitted of the murders of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend, Ronald Goldman (this was a case that rocked America to its core for years). Just when you thought it couldn’t get worse, in 2007, Simpson was charged with numerous felonies, including armed robbery and kidnapping – he’s now serving a 33 years imprisonment, with a minimum of nine years without parole.
Let’s start with the good stuff, shall we? Ray Rice ranked as the Ravens’ second all-time leading rusher, and is also second in rushing attempts and touchdowns, and third in combined touchdowns. He also went on to win Super Bowl XLVII. However most of you probably know him because of one horrible event captured on camera. In 2014, Rice was arrested and subsequently indicted for third-degree aggravated assault when he assaulted his then-fiancée. Rice quickly lost his Nike and EA contracts, along with any future endorsements he may get. On top of that, he was suspended indefinitely by the NFL but was later reinstated after successfully appealing the decision in federal courts.