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Top 5 NFL Prospects Whose Vices Ruined Their Careers

Ray Rice had a great career ahead of him before he was caught punching his girlfriend in an elevator.

The list of vices that threaten to destroy NFL players’ professional careers is long. The damage from gambling, opioids, drugs, alcohol or some other addictions has changed many players’ lives. Some of them have managed to get out and live a sober life. Others have spiraled into a never-ending circle of sobriety, addiction, and even crime. The recovery is a long marathon. It needs the right amount of dedication, persistence, and assistance to reach it. These five NFL players have felt the disastrous effect of addiction and crime on their own skin.

1 – Ray Rice

Rice will forever be remembered for bringing about the new domestic violence policy of the NFL. His promising career took an unexpected turn after surveillance footage showed him punching and pulling his wife out of an elevator in one in Atlantic City.

Rice isn’t the only NFL player involved in domestic violence, unfortunately. This is one of the major issues the league has faced in recent years. Many NFL players are found to be violent towards their partners and other family members. Despite the effort of the league to resolve this issue through specialized education programs, it’s still a serious problem.

2 – Josh Shaw

The NFL’s most recent gambling suspension prior to Calvin Ridley came in 2019 when Roger Goodell suspended then-Cardinals defensive back Josh Shaw for betting on games. Shaw was on Injured Reserve in 2019 when he went to a Las Vegas and placed bets of an undisclosed amount on several sporting events.

The latest gambling addiction stats show that for about 20 million US gamblers and bettors, the activity interferes with their social life, work, and relationships. This person is just one unfortunate example of how irresponsible gambling can ruin your career even before it starts.

3 – Aaron Hernandez

The former New England Patriots player had a history of violence and altercations with the law. They started during his university days. His professional sports career abruptly stopped after he was arrested and charged with the first-degree murder of Odin Lloyd. Lloyd and Hernandez were once friends.

This isn’t the only charge he had; he also faced legal charges for participating in a double murder. This problematic player’s career ended for good after he was found dead in his prison cell. Unfortunately, Hernandez isn’t the only NFL player who’s been convicted of a crime. Many of them were unable to leave the violence for the field.

4 – JaMarcus Russell 

According to fans of the NFL as well as experts, Russell could’ve done a lot in his professional career if it weren’t for his laziness, weight problems, and arrest for possession of codeine syrup without prescription. The Oakland Raiders chose him in the 2007 NFL draft. 

He was the number one choice, but he couldn’t live up to everyone’s exceptions, and his game declined. He tried to make a comeback, but there were no teams that wanted him. After unsuccessful attempts to get back into the NFL, he settled as a coach in his high school alma-mater.

5 – Josh Brent and Jerry Brown

Jerry Brown was a 25-year-old linebacker for the Dallas Cowboys. In the early hours of December 8, 2012, Brown was a passenger in the car of teammate and massive defensive lineman Josh Brent, who drove drunk, drove too fast, hit an outside curb, and flipped his car, killing Brown.

Irving police reported that the 321-pound Brent had failed field sobriety tests immediately after the deadly crash.

Josh Brent was eventually found guilty of vehicular manslaughter and sentenced to 180 days in jail and 10 years of probation.


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