Just seven years after Vince Young signed a $25 million contract with the Tennessee Titans, the former NFL quarterback filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2014. In Greg Bishop's Where Are They Now profile of Young in the latest issue of Sports Illustrated, Young details how some of his exorbitant spending led him into debt.
Court documents showed that Young listed assets between $500,001 and $1 million alongside debt between $1,001,000 and $10 million.
Young delved into his financial records with a lawyer and noticed his signature was forged on dozens of documents. He told SI that he didn't keep close tabs on his finances during his career, trusting the management of his money to a financial advisor and his uncle.
Young was signed and then released ahead of the 2013 season by the Green Bay Packers. General manager Ted Thompson told Young that in order to play football, Young needed to "clean all that stuff up."
Debt collectors looked to seize his trophies, cars and steakhouse.
Young admits that he didn't pay attention to his finances until his NFL career was over.
"That negligence, along with unchecked generosity—the two cars he bought one relative, the house he built for his mom in Houston, the $15,000 tab he covered for one meal at The Cheesecake Factory—doomed him.
(On his own financial missteps, Young tries to separate fact from fiction. He cops to the Cheesecake Factory story—“Most I ever spent on a meal in my life,” he says, noting the teammates who downed expensive shots of Louis XIII cognac or left with top-shelf wine bottles in hand—but not the widespread anecdote that in 2007 he paid for every seat on a Southwest Airlines flight to avoid the first-world problem of sitting near other passengers.) Through it all, his family continued to worry about him. “I was grateful he didn’t do anything to himself,” his mom says."
Young has not played in the NFL since 2011. He drew interest from CFL and Arena League teams after he started to correct his financial standing.
Young, 34, signed a two-year contract with the Roughriders in March. He tore his hamstring earlier this month and he was placed on the Roughriders' retired list, which means they still own his rights.
For more on Young's journey, read Bishop's entire story.