Before he became one of the most recognizable faces at ESPN, Mike Golic got paid to crush quarterbacks. For nearly a decade, he lined up at defensive tackle for three NFL franchises. And while he’s most closely associated with the Philadelphia Eagles, he did spend one year with the Miami Dolphins.
But for Golic, his time in Miami will be remembered more for how things ended rather than anything he did on the field. That’s what happens when you lose $650,000 getting conned by your own team.
Mike Golic’s journey to the NFL
Born in Ohio, Mike Golic dominated at St. Joseph High School and earned a scholarship to the University of Notre Dame. The football star also dabbled in wrestling for the Fighting Irish. After a terrific college career that included serving as a team captain as a senior, Golic realized his dream of making it to the NFL.
Despite getting selected in the 10th round of the 1985 NFL draft, the 6-foot-5, 265-pound defensive tackle overcame the odds and stuck around for far longer than the average NFL career. Golic started his career in Houston, where he started nine games as a rookie. However, he lasted just over a year with the Oilers before landing with the Eagles.
The move turned out to be a huge boost for Golic’s career. Though he never became a full-time starter, he provided some pass-rush spark off the bench and even recorded an interception in three consecutive seasons.
Of course, Philadelphia didn’t need Golic to play a ton of snaps. The Eagles boasted a dominant defensive line headlined by Reggie White and Jerome Brown. As one of the top teams in the NFC, the Eagles routinely made the playoffs due in large part to their dynamic defense.
The Dolphins conned the future ESPN star out of $650,000
After suiting up for the Eagles from 1987-1992, Mike Golic traded in the harsh northeast winters for the sunny skies of Florida. He spent his age-31 season with the Dolphins, where he started seven games. Golic failed to record a sack and didn’t make quite the impact Miami probably expected.
Still, the Dolphins went 9-7 even with the 24th-ranked scoring defense. But after that 1993 season, Golic would find himself in a precarious situation that resulted in him losing $650,000.
According to Business Insider, Golic played that 1993 season with a torn ligament in his knee. His performance suffered, yet he pushed through the grueling injury. Golic underwent surgery during the offseason, and he expected to get back to training in preparation for the upcoming season.
However, after watching the Dolphins select two defensive tackles during the NFL draft, Golic went to the trainer’s office to get an update on his knee.
I was still recovering from the knee surgery and training and such. I wanted to give mini-camp a good test for my knee. It wasn’t 100% [healthy] by any chance. So, I was in talking to the team trainer about my knee. I said ‘Listen, it is not really 100%, but I want to go out here and I want to try to see what it can do during mini-camp.’ He said, ‘Well, if you are going to go out there, you need to sign this piece of paper that says your knee is fine and you are going to go practice.’ I did because I wanted to go out there and practice.
Ultimately, Golic followed what seemed to be a harmless direction by the trainer. He signed the waiver, opened the door, and immediately was told to see the Dolphins’ general manager.
Miami cut Mike Golic and never had to pay him his $650,000 salary or any injury settlement. The veteran defensive tackle never suited up for another NFL team again.
Golic’s NFL career ended just after his brother retired from football
Getting conned by his own team had to be a tough pill to swallow for Mike Golic. After all, he risked his health and career by putting his body on the line even with an existing injury. Of course, he went on to have a highly successful career in radio and TV with ESPN after retiring from football.
Coincidentally, his NFL career ended right after his brother wrapped up his own football journey. Bob Golic, Mike’s older brother, played for the New England Patriots, Cleveland Browns, and Los Angeles Raiders. The former unanimous All-American and national champion actually had a much more impactful NFL career than his famous younger brother.
Bob Golic earned two All-Pro selections and three Pro Bowl berths while appearing in 187 games. Though he recorded just 22.5 sacks in his 14-year NFL career, Golic dominated as a run-stopping nose tackle. He also transitioned to television after retiring from football by playing Mike Rogers on Saved by the Bell: The College Years.