the limelight fades and the cheers are but an echo, former NFL stars often face
life after football about as gracefully as a fart in church. The hits pile up, the injuries begin to
mount and then the day they thought would never arrive, materializes all too
soon. The members of the media which
they embraced or dismissed at their whim no longer seek out a quote and their
fame, like their income, diminishes commensurately.
former players make the difficult transition without fanfare, there are those
who make Ray Finkle of "Ace Ventura" fame look like a motivational speaker. Below, we handicap those who look like they're on
the edge; of course, we genuinely hope these odds never, ever pay off.
their living as elite athletes in a game that glorifies speed, agility and
brute strength. Professional football
players start as little boys in great big pads but grow up to be great big men
in padding that's not so big anymore. After
countless hours spent practicing and playing from Pop Warner to the NFL, the
average player has taken a merciless beating, and the effects manifest long
after his playing days over.
And so it
was with Junior Seau. A sure-fire first ballot Hall of Famer when he becomes
eligible, Seau's is the latest in a series of tragic stories of NFL players unable to
live with the toll taken from a life spent participating in the brutal ballet
we watch each Sunday.
wishes ill on any player active or retired, the fact that so many players are
claimed before their expiration date is now fodder for SBR debate. Whether it be by their own hand or being in
the wrong place at the wrong time (Momma always told me nothing good happens
after midnight), professional football players have a knack for premature and
often violent endings. Let's take a look
at the odds-on favorites for the next tragic headline.
Art Schlichter: +500
If you have
never heard of Art Schlichter, then you just haven't been around the game long
enough. Chosen fourth overall by the
then Baltimore Colts in the 1982 draft, he was banned from playing pro ball due
to a gambling addiction back in the mid 80's and has been arrested throughout
the years on a variety of charges that all stemmed from his insatiable thirst
for action. He is currently serving a 10 year sentence for fleecing millions of dollars from unsuspecting
investors (had none of them ever heard about this guy?!). Many dangers lurk in prison, but none more so
than the danger Schlichter may cause to himself.
Ryan Leaf: +500
hear the name Ryan Leaf, think "Schlichter the Younger" and
substitute a drug problem for a gambling addiction. Like Schlichter, Leaf was a top five overall
pick and failed to live up to the lofty expectations of scouts and coaches
alike. Recently, while out on bail on
burglary and drug charges, he was arrested a scant 4 days later on virtually identical
charges. He's looking at a long stretch in the Gray Bar Hotel and will undoubtedly face the same dangers in prison as Schlichter.
Terrell Owens: +700
estate market tanked about the same time as Owens' pass catching skills and
that was a double dose of disaster for the former 49'ers star wide
receiver. Eighty million dollars in career earnings, and all he has to show for it are the creditors lining up at his doorstep. At 38 years old, Owens is persona non grata in
any NFL training camp and now he's got to tell his baby mamas - all four of them - that there's nothing left in the piggy bank.
OJ Simpson: +300
years ago, former Bills standout OJ
Simpson assembled a dream team of lawyers who buffaloed a jury into acquitting him of the double murder of his former
wife Nicole Brown Simpson and a young man named Ron Goldman, who just happened
to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. Simpson is now in prison for armed robbery on a separate charge, and his
future looks bleak. But one would think
that if he was going to do himself in, he would have done so on that fateful
day back in '94 when he led police on a low speed chase with best friend Al
Cowlings in the driver's seat.
Any member of the '94 Chargers: EV
Former members of the '94 Chargers call it a
, but others might call it bad luck...really bad. Dating back to David Griggs' fatal car crash
in 1995 to the recent suicide of Junior Seau, eight members of
this squad have died and all before reaching the age of 45. Super Creepy.