Lawrence Taylor revolutionized the game of football unlike any other defensive player in NFL history. The ferociously diabolical pass-rusher terrorized quarterbacks for 13 years with the New York Giants. A Hall of Fame talent on the field, Taylor’s exploits off the field made him one of the most polarizing athletes in pro sports.
The man who put Joe Theismann out of football experienced a dramatic fall himself. Despite earning millions from the Giants and even more money in endorsements, Taylor lost it all. It’s been a sad collapse for the two-time Super Bowl winner. From a financial standpoint, it couldn’t have gone much worse for Lawrence Taylor. Today, he’s not even worth as much as a Super Bowl game check.
Lawrence Taylor’s legendary Giants career
Coming out of North Carolina, Lawrence Taylor drew plenty of praise for his pass-rushing prowess. Instead of going with the defensive star, the New Orleans Saints drafted 1980 Heisman Trophy winner George Rogers with the first overall pick. That decision opened up the door for the Giants to make Taylor the centerpiece of their already loaded defense.
From the moment he stepped on an NFL field, Taylor established a reputation as a nasty, aggressive and unblockable linebacker. He earned his first of 10 consecutive Pro Bowl selections and was named the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year.
That only set the stage for arguably the most impressive career of any singular defensive player. Taylor’s explosive speed and violent closing ability helped him rack up 132.5 sacks, 56 forced fumbles three AP Defensive Player of the Year awards and the 1986 NFL MVP trophy. With Bill Belichick and Bill Parcells unleashing his prodigious talents, Taylor helped the Giants capture two Super Bowl titles. Considered to be the greatest defensive player of all time, Taylor got inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1999.
Hall of Fame linebacker had many legal and personal issues
Complicated doesn’t even begin to describe Lawrence Taylor. On one hand, his passion helped him become an NFL legend. On the other hand, his freewheeling ways led to serious problems off the field. Taylor’s name became synonymous with drugs. In 1986, he admitted to receiving help for substance abuse. Just two years later, he got suspended four games for failing his second drug test.
It only got worse for the Giants’ best player. Taylor racked up quite the arrest record toward the end of his career and post-retirement. In 1991, he got arrested after allegedly hitting a taxi with a metal pipe following a traffic accident. Five years later, he once again found himself in trouble when he allegedly tried to purchase crack cocaine from an undercover cop.
More trouble followed in the late ’90s. Taylor apparently didn’t learn his lesson, as he earned an 18-month probation sentence after getting arrested in Florida for trying to buy crack from another undercover police officer. But the most troubling part of Taylor’s rap sheet? That occurred a decade ago when he got arrested in New York for allegedly having sex with a 16-year-old girl. Once at the top of the world, Lawrence Taylor hit rock bottom.
Taylor’s shockingly low net worth
At the height of his career, Lawrence Taylor ranked amongst the NFL’s highest-earning stars. He even parlayed his stardom into movie, TV and wrestling roles that helped him add to his post-retirement income. Unfortunately, his legal troubles and addiction issues caused him to essentially lose it all. According to CBS News, Taylor admitted to spending $1,000 a day on escort services and cocaine.
“It was a hell of expensive party. I tell you. The party never ended,” says Taylor. “You know what, it was a party that never ended.”
Of course, he fueled those vices through his lucrative NFL earnings. Taylor signed several top-of-the-market contracts during his Giants career. In 1983, he inked a six-year, $6.2 million deal after he had proven to be one of the NFL’s brightest young stars. In 1990, the Giants then handed him a record-setting contract extension that made him the highest-paid defensive player in NFL history.
Sadly, Taylor squandered his NFL fortune through bad business deals, legal battles and substance-abuse issues. According to Celebrity Net Worth, the former multi-millionaire is only worth $100,000 today. Ironically, the two-time Super Bowl winner isn’t even worth a Super Bowl game check. Each Kansas City Chiefs player earned a $124,000 check for winning Super Bowl LIV.