Being a pro football player is a cherished dream for many a young boy, whether a high school star quarterback or a daydreaming math whiz who has never so much as touched a pigskin. And yet very few of them ever make it to the big leagues. Only the best of the best, armed with both luck and skill, ever make it to the pinnacle of professional football. When someone beats the odds and is drafted to the NFL, his life is transformed until the end of time. Especially for a boy from a less-lavish background, this sudden swing into the luxurious and over-the-top lifestyle of an NFL player can be heady.
You’ve got high-adrenaline games, complete with shouting fans, and traveling with a veritable entourage of mentors, family, and friends – staying at world-class hotels, eating at fine restaurants, driving expensive cars – and people asking you for money. It’s no wonder so many NFL players end up dead-broke and having to slog it at some regular job to make ends meet. In fact, according to a study cited by Sports Illustrated in 2009, 78 percent of former NFL players are bankrupt or undergoing several financial stressors within two years of retirement from football, and 60 percent of former NBA players are bankrupt within five years of retirement. Here’s a rundown of 15 retired NFL stars who went broke and now have regular jobs — you’ll find it hard to believe!