NFL rookies struggling during lockout

With no paycheck coming soon, players picked in the draft are trying to make ends meet. Some have moved back in with their parents.

By Karen Datko Jul 1, 2011 6:05PM

This has got to be a hard pill to swallow: NFL draftees are in financial limbo during the lockout, and some are having a difficult time making ends meet.


That's reality right now for guys who stand to make into the millions their first year (or at least they would have under the old contract). While it's hard to feel sorry for NFL veterans, who've had plenty of opportunity to make and save big bucks, these young men are just getting started.


"Guys are hurting for money right now," Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder told The Associated Press. "It's a crazy time, especially with the uncertainty of when we're going to start and get some money in our pocket."

The AP article, which was posted at the NFL's website, shares some of their stories:

  • Marcell Dareus is back home at his godfather's place, caring for a rather large yard in place of rent. (That push mower favored by Lestor "Sarge" Reasor will help keep the former Alabama defensive end in shape.)
  • Texas cornerback Aaron Williams, who is Buffalo Bills bound, is working right now as a ranch hand. (Fun fact: Williams, who grew up in Round Rock, Texas, says his favorite movie is "Friday Night Lights.")
  • Linebacker Von Miller is living at home, and has pocket money from signing rookie cards. He's also "getting a crash course on the 4-3 defense from (Dat) Nguyen, a former A&M star who played seven years with the Dallas Cowboys before injuries sent him into coaching," The Denver Post reported.
  • Detroit wideout Titus Young is back at his parents' home in LA.
  • Anthony Castonzo is also bunking with his folks and living on the tips he gets for delivering food from his parents' restaurant. "I don't have any money to spend. It's been very modest for me since the draft," he told Bleacher Report.

Ponder told the Bradenton Herald that "I've made some money from trading card deals and some small endorsement stuff so I have a little something in my pocket." Post continues after video.

And then there's Charles Clay, picked by Miami in the sixth round. The Sun Sentinel of Fort Lauderdale reported:

Clay's in debt to his agents and trainers, and the bills are piling up. So to stay afloat he's been receiving day labor-type work with a company called LPD, which has him cutting grass at oil wells and doing odd jobs like cleaning the jacks to make ends meet.

Financial education

In place of the NFL's mandatory rookie symposium, which was canceled because of the lockout, the NFL Players Association this week hosted sessions for the rookies covering personal finance, and behavior on and off the field. (Plaxico Burress was among the presenters.)


Here's the message that was shared, according to Alex Marvez at Fox Sports:

  • Don't make any major financial commitments the first year. That includes buying a house and setting your cousin up in business.
  • Learn to manage your finances, rather than relying blindly on financial advisers, who may have their own best interests at heart.
  • Avoid debt, including the liberal use of credit cards.
  • Learn how to budget, which should include a hefty amount directed to savings.
  • Learn to say "no" to friends and relatives who ask for money.

All sound advice. Sadly, only 150 or so of the 254 draftees attended the event.


Most eye-opening was an interview Marvez had with presenter Luther Ellis, a former player who was forced to declare bankruptcy last year. Ellis said he made money blunders his first year in the league:

As good as the opportunities maybe seemed, if I would have put that money aside and just earned a modest interest rate of 6 to 7%, I'd be so much further ahead right now. And then I would have had the chance to sit back and look at what are the real opportunities, my personal passions, my wife's personal passions and (decide) the things we want to be involved in. It would have changed our whole future.

More MSN Money:


Jul 3, 2011 1:09PM
Does anyone really feel for these rookies economic situation? Maybe it is reality time for most of those who have gotten a free ride through many things most of us had to work and pay for.  Same goes for the NFL strike. This may be what is needed to gain a grip on what we pay these people and the price of attending a game 
Jul 3, 2011 10:15PM
Most people can not afford to go to games anyway. More fun high school level. That is true sports!
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