17 Players Who Ended Up Going Broke After Leaving the NFL

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​NFL players going broke after they retire is no secret, considering 80 percent of players are either bankrupt or under financial stress within three years of being out of the league, according to a Sports Illustrated estimation.


Here, we'll take a look at 17 players who ended up going broke after they left the NFL.

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17. Bernie Kosar

If we're being honest here, Bernie Kosar was one of the last good things to happen to the Cleveland Browns, and since he finished his tenure with the team in 1993, that's saying something. 


Kosar earned around $19 million in his career, but a greedy agent, a nasty divorce and unpaid loans turned that $19 million into just $44 dollars in his bank account in 2009.

Kosar also declared bankruptcy, which was a sad ending for such a good NFL player.

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16. Andre Rison

Andre Rison was a fantastic wide receiver in the NFL, amassing 1,000 yards in five different seasons during his career. Unfortunately, he wasn't as good with his money as he was catching a football. After earning $20 million during his playing career, Rison found himself in deep financial troubles, which included being on probation for owing $300,000 in child support.

He also admitted that he spent around $1 million in jewelry as well, which contributed to him becoming broke.

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15. Lawrence Taylor

When your source of income halts after you retire, the cocaine, alcohol and party expenses start to catch up with you and Lawrence Taylor definitely learned that lesson the hard way. 

His business investments, like his business All-Pro products, which lost all its value, cost him a good chunk of his money, to the point where he even filed for bankruptcy. Not only has he lost all of his money, he can't stay out of trouble with the law either. Taylor has been arrested for tax evasion, leaving the scene of an accident and for engaging in sexual acts with a minor. 

He claimed that he spent thousands of dollars a day on narcotics, as well as good amounts of money on prostitutes. Clearly not the best way to spend all of your money.

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14. Raghib Ismail

Raghib "Rocket" Ismail was one of many who fell victim to investing his money into a business scam. The former Raiders, Panthers and Cowboys wide receiver had success in the NFL and the CFL, making $18 million in total. He squandered the majority of it investing in a Hard Rock Cafe knockoff called the Rock N' Roll Cafe and a cosmetic procedure touted to help skin better absorb oxygen. He also invested in a record company, a film, a plan to create phone card dispensers and stores called “It’s in the Name,” where people could buy framed calligraphy of names and sayings. 


As you may have guessed, none of these worked out and Ismail now works as a motivational speaker, making appearances for the Cowboys and other places to talk about financial literacy.

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13. Luther Elliss

Elliss doesn't have much to smile about these days, considering he blew through his $11 million in career earnings due to failed investments and mountains of debt. After going through everything he had, he then had to resort to financial help from family members and churches just to make ends meet. It also doesn't help that he has 11, yes 11, children. 


Investing in local businesses failed Elliss, as well as shelling out money to help relatives pay for things such as landscaping and even a wedding. He's working on a sports management degree, trying to get a second career in sports, but as of now Elliss is just another NFL player who couldn't manage his finances properly.

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12. Dermontti Dawson

Dermontti Dawson is a Hall of Fame center who played for the Pittsburgh Steelers, but his spending habits weren't as good as his playing skills. After he made $25 million throughout the course of his career, he became a real estate developer, which did not work out as he had to file for bankruptcy. Not only that, but it was reported that he was $70 million in debt as well. 

If you do the math, him making $25 million with $70 million in debt doesn't translate to him having much in his bank account.

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11. Mark Brunell

Mark Brunell had a nice, lengthy career, playing 17 seasons in the NFL with a bunch of different teams, making $50 million along the way. Like Ismail, Brunell made a ton of investments into businesses and lost a massive amount of money while falling into crippling debt. In the nine businesses he invested in, five failed, his 11 Whataburger franchise investments failed and the condos he invested in to try and build failed as well. 


All in all, Brunell lost all of the money he invested into the businesses, declaring for bankruptcy in 2010 with $5 million in assets and $25 million in debt.

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10. Chris McAlister

Former Baltimore Ravens cornerback Chris McAlister was once worth $50 million, but recently, he's back to living with his parents.  When attending court to try and have his child support payments lowered because he couldn't afford them, he admitted that he was living at home and that his parents were providing him with basic living expenses and even negotiated an allowance with him. 


You really have to be broke to make $50 million and blow it all to the point that you have to get an allowance from your parents back at home.

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9. Warren Sapp

This one probably isn't a surprise to many considering Warren Sapp likes to be in the public eye as much as he can, but we can't leave the Hall of Famer out. Sapp was one of the best defensive tackles the league has ever seen, making over $60 million in his playing career and making good money as an analyst for the NFL before he was fired. 


Owning 240 sneakers and multiple mansions, as well as accumulating $6 million in debt after a construction deal that didn't go as planned is a big reason why Sapp had to file for bankruptcy. 

After his arrest for domestic violence, his chances of being employed by the NFL are slim to none and Sapp will have to find another source of income to try and crawl out of his massive debt.

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8. Deuce McAllister

How long does it take for one person to go through $70 million? Just ask former Saints running back Deuce McAllister, who did it in just one year. McAllister decided to start a car dealership after he retired, which put him $7 million in debt after losing the $70 million. Things got so bad for McAllister that his home in Louisiana was put up for auction.


All of these things occurred just one year after McAllister retired, showing everyone how easy it truly is to blow through a seemingly insurmountable amount of money.

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7. Vince Young

Like Taylor and Sapp, former Tennessee Titans quarterback Vince Young joins the list of players that people probably aren't surprised to see on this list. In 2014, Young filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy after spending more than the $35 million he earned during his NFL career. Spending his money recklessly contributed to his bankruptcy, which included spending $5,000 a week at Cheesecake Factory, buying a $176,000 Ferrari with cash, dropping $300,000 on his own birthday party and buying out an entire Southwest Airlines flight where he treated his buddies to dinners and drinks at $6,000 a piece. Gee, I wonder why he lost all of his money.

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6. Charlie Batch

Former quarterback Charlie Batch enjoyed a nice 12-year career with both the Detroit Lions and Pittsburgh Steelers, where he made an estimated $9 million in career earnings. 

Batch was one of the many NFL players who fell victim to real estate investment failure. While his assets were listed at $2.3 million, which sounds good in theory, his debts were four times that amount and he had defaulted on 25 properties. 

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5. Mark Ingram Sr.

We all know when you first read the title, you were thinking of the current Saints running back, but you were close! We're actually talking about his father, Mark Ingram Sr. 

The former Super Bowl hero for the New York Giants lost all of his funds shortly after his retirement in 1996 and turned to crime to try and survive. He was sentenced to seven years in prison for defrauding the IRS and for his part in a money-laundering scheme. To add insult to injury, he was also fined $250,000 and has been arrested multiple times and served additional prison time since.

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4. Travis Henry

Travis Henry, a former NFL running back, made an impressive $20 million playing football, but didn't get the memo that raising a child, let alone 11, would be costly.

Henry, who has 11 children with 10 different women, went broke because he couldn't keep up with the child support payment of $200,000 per year and was even arrested for missing large payments. 


Like Ingram Sr., Henry turned to crime, funding drug trafficking operations that included a cocaine-dealing operation that got him a three-year sentence in jail. 

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3. JaMarcus Russell

​When you saw the title of this article, JaMarcus Russell was the first player that came to your mind, don't even deny it. 


Russell is the perfect example of what not to do when you're young and have a lot of money. His decision making on the field was almost as bad as his spending habits, but not quite as bad.


After signing a mega deal worth $61 million, JaMarcus ​really didn't seem to care about playing, but he did love to spend the money. After getting released by the Raiders, Russell found himself in trouble with drugs, he couldn't pay for his mansion and even wrote to a letter to every NFL team offering to play for free. 


Shockingly enough, nobody signed the former No. 1 overall pick.

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2. Tiki Barber

​Former New York Giants running back Tiki Barber made a respectable $25 million over his 10-year NFL career, but his infidelity made his bank account drop real quick. 


After cheating on his wife and leaving her for a 23-year-old intern at NBC, where Barber worked also, NBC fired him and because his football money stopped coming in, he found himself low in cash. He even admitted that he was broke. 


Barber had trouble paying for the divorce settlement and to top it off, the child support bills started coming in as well. With no income, Barber found himself at rock bottom.

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1. Terrell Owens

​Hall of Famer and one of the best to ever do it? Absolutely. Good with money? Absolutely not.


Terrell Owens earned an estimated $80 million dollars during his amazing career, but he literally has none of it left. He lent too much money to family and friends, he was paying mortgages and child support to four different women and even invested $2 million into an electronic bingo business. Even a few of his condos went into foreclosure, showing that he was struggling with money. 


Clearly, the $150,000 he lost in fines ​from his antics were the least of his worries.

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