Everyone knows professional sports pay pretty well. Athletes put their bodies on the line for our entertainment and are rewarded handsomely for it. Not only is there an inherent danger in football, but most of use just simply couldn’t do what they do.
Some of these men have taken that money and secured their family’s financial futures for generations to come. Some chose to live fast and loose with their cash and have been left with nothing to show for their hard work.
We’re here to talk about the men in between. The men who made more money than most of us could ever dream of, lost most or all of it, but have recovered to financial stability yet again. It’s an interesting list that you won’t want to miss.
Muhsin Muhammed was a productive NFL receiver. No one ever mistook him for a Hall of Famer, but not everyone can be great. He had a solid 14-year career, made the Pro Bowl twice and was named to an All-Pro team once. He finished his career with over 11,000 yards receiving.
Muhammed earned millions for his work, and he should have; 14 years is a long time. Spending habits cost Muhammed dearly and he was nearly forced to declare bankruptcy. Mushin sold some of his assets and is now financially stable.
Dan Marino is known in NFL history as the greatest quarterback never to win a Super Bowl. In fact, he’s probably one of the greatest athletes of any sports to never win it all. Marino played all 17 of his NFL seasons in Miami, where he owns virtually every Dolphins passing record.
Marino earned over $50 million in NFL career. Some bad investments cost him a good chunk of that. Fortunately for Marino, endorsement deals and good investments have counteracted that and Marino is still worth an estimated $35 million.
Before there was LeBron James, there was Bernie Kosar. No, Kosar didn’t bring a title to the city of Cleveland but he was a kid from Northeast Ohio who starred for his local team.
Bernie was the king of Cleveland when he retired in 1993 and has earned an estimated $19 million throughout his career. Kosar lost the majority of that through bad investment deals and was forced to start over. These days he’s used his clout in the city of Cleveland to build his net worth back up.
Andre “Bad Moon” Rison was one of the most explosive wide receivers in the game during the early parts of the 1990s. He was selected to the Pro Bowl 5 times and even won a Super Bowl with the Packers in 1996.
Rison earned over $20 million in his NFL career. Not bad considering the time period he played in. Rison lost a good bit of that money due to some poor financial management choices. He’s back on his feet now as he works as a football coach.
Warren Sapp is one of the greatest players ever to line up on the defensive line. He is a Super Bowl Champion and a Pro Football Hall of Famer. However, off the field Sapp has had less success.
Sapp earned over $40 million during his Hall of Fame career. He racked up quite a bit of debt over the years but has managed to pay that off. These days Sapp is doing fine and has recovered financially. He’s made quite a bit of money form endorsements.
Lawrence Taylor is one of the greatest defensive players in the history of football. He’s the only player to win NFL Defensive Player of the Year as a rookie and is the most recent defensive player to win the NFL’s MVP Award. He led the Giants to two Super Bowl victories under Bill Parcells.
Over a 13-year NFL career Lawrence Taylor earned nearly $50 million from his playing contracts alone. That’s not even taking into consideration his endorsements. However, by 2009 Taylor had suffered from some bad financial management practices. These days he’s doing fine, and rebuilding his wealth.
Raghib Ismail had an interesting professional football career. It started in the CFL after the Toronto Argonauts offered him much more money than the NFL was going to offer. After two seasons in Canada, Ismail returned to the United States, playing for the Raiders, Panthers, and Cowboys. His NFL career was up and down but he totaled over 5,000 yards and 30 touchdowns in his career.
Ismail earned about $18 million in his career and made the decision to invest most of it. Those investments didn’t exactly pay off and he lost most of the money he invested. These days Ismail is a successful inspirational speaker and is doing fine financially.
Luther Elliss spent 10 years in the NFL as a defensive lineman. He made back to back Pro Bowls as a member of the Detroit Lions, before finishing his career in Denver. Luther Ellis recorded 29 sacks and 331 tackles in his 10 seasons.
Ellis earned $11 million during his time in the league. Bad money management left Elliss a bit short in his accounts. These days he’s helping NFL rookies avoid the same mistakes he made.
Dermontti Dawson had a better career than almost anyone in football. The Steelers center spent 13 seasons leading the line for the Steelers. He made 7 Pro Bowls, the NFL’s 1990 All-Decade Team, and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2012.
Dawson made over $25 million in his Hall of Fame career. However, some less than fruitful business deals Dawson found himself bankrupt. These days he’s recovered and is now a sales executive for a promotional marketing company.
Mark Brunell had a very successful NFL career. His best years were spent in Jacksonville, where he set 36 Jaguars franchise records. But his career didn’t end there. He spent 17 seasons in the league, playing for 5 teams. He even picked up a Super Bowl ring with the Saints in 2010.
You spend that long in the NFL as a quarterback, you manage to earn quite a bit of money. Over $50 million to be exact. Several failed investments that did not pan out cost Brunell quite a bit of money. He’s recouped that these days and now spends his days working as a high school football coach in Jacksonville.
Chris McAlister had a pretty solid NFL career. He spent 10 seasons in the NFL, was named to the Pro Bowl three times, and even managed to win a Super Bowl with the Ravens in 2001. He finished his career in 2009 with the New Orleans Saints.
McAlister lost most of his money due to some financial challenges that arose after his playing days were over. These days he’s back on his feet thanks to the generosity of his family members.
Deuce McAlister was, for a while, one of the finest running backs in the NFL during his time in the league. He spent his entire playing career with the Saints, and lifted the Lombardi Trophy with the team in 2010.
McAllister earned over $70 million during his time in the league. Due to some bad investments, McAllister found himself in a good bit of debt. He’s bounced back though and is now working as a radio analyst and is the owner of a series of chain restaurants.
Vince Young had an up and down NFL career. He was a high draft pick of the Titans who made the Pro Bowl during his four seasons in Nashville. Young’s development stalled from there. But not before he earned a pretty penny.
Young made over $35 million during his NFL career. Questionable financial decisions cost Young most of those earnings. He’s got things under control now and has even recently worked for his alma mater, the University of Texas.
Charlie Batch spent most of his 15 years in the NFL as a backup. The first four years of his career he spent as the starter in Detroit, but then transitioned to a lucrative role as a backup in Pittsburgh. He ended his career with a positive touchdown to interception ratio though.
Batch earned over $9 million during his years in the league. Most of it was lost a development scheme, but Charlie batch has turned things around. These days he’s got a job on the pre and post-game coverage of Steelers games.
Mark Ingram Sr.
Mark Ingram Sr. was a star running back for the New York Giants and a few other teams for 10 seasons in the NFL. He is best known for his crucial third-down play in Super Bowl XXV which gave the Giants an important 1st down and eventually a touchdown. He is the father of Heisman Trophy Winner Mark Ingram Jr.
While Ingram earned less money than his son has made, he still did alright for himself. Financial hurdles cost him most of that money but he’s got things under control these days.
Travis Henry was a Pro Bowl running back with the Bills. During his time in Buffalo, Henry was so prolific he became the 4th leading rusher in the franchise’s history. He moved on to the Titans and the Broncos before leaving the league in 2007.
Henry earned over $20 million in his NFL career, which is plenty to live on. Unfortunately, Henry acquired some unforeseen drains on his bank accounts that left him near penniless. These days Travis Henry working to make ends meet.
JaMarcus Russell may have had a disappointing NFL career, but you can still make an astronomical amount of money as the first overall pick in the NFL Draft. Russell was out of the league after 3 lackluster seasons, but he still earned at least $30 million.
Pretty soon after his football career ended, his bank account emptied. The cause was poor financial management. These days JaMarcus Russell is back on his feet and giving back to his local community. He’s back in his hometown of Mobile, coaching quarterbacks at his alma mater.
Tiki Barber may be one of the best running backs to not be inducted into the Hall of Fame. He spent all of his career with the New York Giants and retired as their career leader in rushing yards and total yards. He was a three-time Pro Bowler.
Barber earned an estimated $25 million over the course of his NFL career, but all that was gone by 2010. Don’t worry about Tiki though, he’s got a sweet gig as a CBS Sports Radio host on the show Tiki & Tierney.
Terrell Owens was an electric pass-catcher first in San Francisco and then with the Cowboys and Eagles. Owens was known for being one of the best wide receivers of his generation, as well as high eye-catching touchdown celebrations. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2018.
T.O. earned over $80 million in his career. However, bad financial management led Owens to the brink of bankruptcy. Fortunately, Owens has plenty of business opportunities, such as his podcast, The T.O Show, to keep the money rolling in.
Michael Vick with the Atlanta Falcons was the most exciting player the NFL had seen in a long time, maybe even ever. During his time in Atlanta he earned three trips to the Pro Bowl and was responsible for that famous run against the Vikings that left two defenders crashed into them.
Vick signed a massive $130 million extension just two years before he was temporarily forced out of the league. Financial difficulties followed, but Vick managed to get himself back on track with a return to the league.