Andre “Bad Moon” Rison made more than $20 million during his impressive NFL career. Though he rarely gets mentioned when discussing the top receivers in league history, that’s a shame. The former Michigan State standout dominated during the ’90s as one of the NFL’s preeminent No. 1 wideouts.
Despite a lucrative NFL career, the former Super Bowl champion lost everything. One of the prominent athletes featured in the ESPN 30 for 30 episode “Broke”, Rison’s fall from stardom to bankruptcy should be a cautionary tale for today’s professional athletes. Spending more than $1 million on jewelry played a significant role in Andre Rison losing everything he earned from pro football.
Andre Rison became an NFL star in Atlanta
The Indianapolis Colts drafted Rison with the 22nd pick of the 1989 NFL draft. As a rookie, the 22-year-old caught 52 passes for 820 yards and four touchdowns. However, after just one season in Indy, Rison got traded to the Atlanta Falcons in a massive deal to land the No. 1 overall pick in the 1990 NFL draft. The Colts infamously took quarterback Jeff George—a franchise-altering decision that eventually led to Peyton Manning’s arrival.
For Rison, the trade proved to be a career-changer. In five years with the Falcons, he became one of the NFL’s most dominant weapons. He made the Pro Bowl in each of his first four seasons in Atlanta. In 1993, he tied for the NFL lead with 15 receiving touchdowns.
The explosive wideout spent a year in Cleveland before latching on with the Packers down the stretch in 1996. Rison kicked off Green Bay’s Super Bowl XXXI victory by hauling in a beautiful 54-yard TD from Brett Favre. After earning a Super Bowl ring, he spent three years in Kansas City before spending his final NFL season in Oakland. In total, he racked up 743 catches, 10,205 yards and 84 TD in 12 seasons.
Five-time Pro Bowler also won a CFL championship
Though his NFL days ended, that didn’t stop Andre Rison from playing football. The three-time second-team All-Pro selection took his talents north of the border to the Canadian Football League. Though he no longer had the speed to threaten defenses deep, Rison still carved out a complementary role with the Toronto Argonauts.
Rison caught 14 passes for 174 yards and one TD in his first CFL season. And just like he did in Green Bay, he helped his new team take home a championship. Toronto won the 92nd Earl Grey Cup before cutting Rison the following year. His CFL career may have been short, but he still walked away with a second championship to add to his impressive collection of hardware.
Rison filed for bankruptcy in 2007
The story of Andre Rison isn’t complete without examining his financial troubles. Even though he banked millions from the game of football, his fortune ran out. Known for spending well beyond his means, the Michigan native blew through his NFL fortune in no time at all.
Featured in ESPN’s “Broke” documentary about athletes who lost everything, Rison made a stunning revelation about his insane spending habits. In the episode, the former Super Bowl champion confessed that he spent at least $1 million on jewelry. That’s an incredible amount of money, even for a player who once made $2.8 million in a single season.
It didn’t stop there, either. Clubbing became another vice for one of the NFL’s best receivers. And those bills rose even higher considering he typically had a group of 40 people with him:
“We were going to new levels,” Rison said. “We were making it snow. You start throwing $100 bills instead of fives. So you’ve got a competition going on now. I’d be lying on the bed knocked out (after getting back from the club) with $10,000 lying on the floor. I’ve got another $5,000 in my pocket. You might find another $7,500 in the pocket in my coat.”
Unfortunately for Andre Rison, his poor financial choices caught up. With a mountain of unpaid child support bills, he had to declare bankruptcy in 2007. While he has managed to turn his life around since that fateful filing, Celebrity Net Worth estimates his net worth at just $150,000. What a far fall from grace for a player who spent almost 10 times that amount on jewelry.