The money, the fame, and the excesses that come with being the guy on a pro football team are the things kids fantasize about. But sometimes things don't work out. Sometimes you make the NFL, but end up broke anyway. Vince Young, after six seasons, is learning that the hard way.
The Houston Chronicle reports Vince Young is the latest NFL quarterback to go broke. He's up to his knees in legal battles with people who, he alleges, took advantage of his youth, and took a large chuck of his earnings. He's trying to recover some of the $26 million he was guaranteed in the contract he signed with the Tennessee Titans in 2006. They took him third overall in the draft that year, behind Mario Williams and Reggie Bush. Once Young hit the NFL, he made the Pro Bowl and won Rookie of the Year in his first season. He made a second Pro Bowl in 2009, but he also won Comeback Player of the Year, too. Things weren't going great for Young. A mixture of problems on the field on off would see him do stints in Philadelphia (backing up Michael Vick), and Buffalo, who cut him before this season started, before his exit from the NFL a scant six years later. Now he's out of work, and desperately trying to stay afloat. "I would just say that Vince needs a job," Young's attorney told the Chronicle.
Vince Young was supposed to be great, which makes his story so similar to Ryan Leaf. Leaf is known today as the biggest bust in NFL history. He was supposed to be great, too. Possibly even better than Peyton Manning, the guy drafted before him in 1998. But Leaf had attitude problems, and he didn't last more than two seasons in the league. Since, he's battled addiction and ensuing legal problems. He narrowly avoided jail time in July.
On the other end of the spectrum, there's Mark Brunell. Brunell was in the NFL for 18 years. He played for four different teams and earned over $50 million during his time in the league. But a series of bad business decisions, and real estate investments that went up in smoke when the economy turned, left him filing for bankruptcy last year. Brunell was 41 at the time, and barely holding onto a job with the New York Jets. He's been denied a decent retirement. Technically he's still a potential NFL quarterback. But at 42, a return to the gridiron is unlikely.