Risky Business: How Three NFL Stars Lost Their Millions on Bad Investments and More

February 3, 2017

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Super Bowl Sunday is upon us once again as the Atlanta Falcons will face-off against the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LI in Houston, Texas. For veteran NFL players, being part of the Super Bowl and playing for a chance to win the Vince Lombardi Trophy is enough, especially since many of them already have lucrative contracts with their teams and corporate sponsorships. But for the rookies and lesser-known players, being part of Super Bowl LI means a hefty paycheck regardless of their participation in the big game. According to NJ Sports, players on the winning Super Bowl team will take home $107,000, and players on the losing team will still walk away with $53,000.


While one might think that successful NFL stars should be set for life after playing in the league, history has proven that this hasn’t always been the case. According to The Richest, a 2015 study found that approximately 16 percent of NFL players will be broke within 12 years of retiring from the league. These financial downfalls can happen for a number of reasons including players being convinced to invest their money into unsuccessful business endeavors. Take a look at a few NFL players who lost it all and where they went wrong.


Bernie Kosar

Once upon a time, former Cleveland Browns quarterback Bernie Kosar was one of the most beloved athletes in Ohio, and brought the team to the doorstep of the Super Bowl in 1986 and 1987. According to Bleacher Report, a mixture of poor investments and unnecessary spending led to Kosar’s ultimate downfall. Kosar also allowed his father, who often siphoned money from his son’s accounts, to manage his finances. After the economy took a turn for the worse, Kosar eventually filed for bankruptcy in 2008.


Warren Sapp

A four-time All-Pro and 2013 Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee, Warren Sapp was one of the greatest defensive players in the history of the NFL. Sapp also served as an analyst for the NFL Network after concluding his 13-year career in the league. According to ESPN, in 2012, Sapp's $6.45 million in assets included 240 pairs of Jordan athletic shoes, luxurious watches and a lion skin rug worth thousands. Sapp blew through his cash in “spectacular fashion”, which led to him filing for bankruptcy in 2012.


Terrell Owens

Despite a successful 15-year career in the NFL where he raked in over $80 million, former wide receiver Terrell Owens filed for bankruptcy in 2012. How? According to The Big Lead, in addition to allowing financial advisers to place his funds into risky, high-leveraged ventures, Owens purchased multiple homes across the nation that he always claimed he could “rent out.” When the housing market crashed in 2008, so did the value of Owens’ homes, leaving the former NFL star in serious financial turmoil. To top it all off, Owens’ child support payments totaled $44,600 per month.

Ron Sanders

Written by Ron Sanders

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