In January 2006 Vince Young was the offensive MVP of the National Championship game. Last week he filed for bankruptcy.
The path that Young trod the past eight years to get to this destination has been a tragic one to view for anyone who saw how magnificent the former Texas QB was in that game against USC.
"These kids are going to be stars, they're going to win Super Bowls and they're going to be hall of famers". At least that's what everyone thought.
What has actually come to pass is quite different: Young has not played a game in the league since 2010, Leinart hasn't played for two years and recently was extremely bitter towards one of his former coaches.
Meanwhile Reggie Bush, possibly the most successful of the three has one Super Bowl win despite only rushing for over a 1,000 yards twice in his career. Now with the Detroit Lions, Bush remains potential, which hasn't quite got there.
How could we all have got it so wrong? Even the experts said these guys were 'can't miss': Texasscout.com said in 2006 that Young was:
"An incredible athlete with nearly unlimited upside potential, Young will ensure defensive opponents never rest. Continuing to mature as a passer, and will get better over time."
Yeah, didn’t quite happen. It’s not that unusual that so called ‘experts’ gets draft classes wrong. For reference, see Tom Brady, sixth round in 2000 and JaMarcus Russell, first overall in 2007. What is worrying for the NFL, it’s young stars and everyone involved is this: 78% of NFL players go bankrupt within five years of retirement.
78%. That’s huge, Munkee.com, the site that reports the stat says that this is down to a mix of lack of financial knowledge, short career duration and overspending.
It’s no secret that professional athletes like big mansions, expensive cars and the millionaire lifestyle and that later in life they struggle financially without the occasional celebrity appearance. When the money’s gone it’s gone.
The concerning thing for young college players, a record 98 underclassmen of them applying for the draft this year, is that they are fed false fairy tales of supreme wealth and security for life.
In a lot of circumstances this simply does not happen, a huge amount of those 98 this year will either not get drafted, or be cut by a team before the season starts. But for another few, as in the case of Young, will be selected, have short unsuccessful careers and before they know it, the money is gone.
Good luck kids, you're going to need it.