Can’t imagine pitying the bank account of an NFL player who’s headed to the Super Bowl?
Give it a few years.
NFL rookies this year earned a minimum salary of $ 450,000 for the regular season. In 2017, those same players will make $ 540,000, and if they’re on a winning team, they’ll pocket an extra $ 165,000 during the playoffs.
Yet the joke that “NFL” stands for “Not For Long” is no joke at all. The latest stats from Pro-Football-Reference.com show the average NFL career lasts just 2.7 years.
Devon Still, a defensive end for the Houston Texans last season, had already been the victim of two financial scams—including a Ponzi scheme and a loan to a company that went bankrupt—before hiring a financial adviser three years ago.
“Most of us in the NFL don’t come from families with money,” said Still, a second-round draft pick in 2012 who signed a four-year contract with the Cincinnati Bengals worth about $ 4 million.
“We’re not educated about how to handle it,” Still told The Post.
That’s why the hard-hitting player decided to take a call from Mark Doman, whose New York financial advisory firm specializes in handling what he calls “young money.” That can include entertainers, entrepreneurs and pro athletes who find themselves laden with “sudden and significant wealth,” Doman says.
“Retirees, some just a year or two from the game, were calling the union to say, ‘Please help me. I’m in financial distress,’ ” Doman told The Post. “Even stars who retired with millions would complain, ‘I don’t know how it happened, but I’m down to my last $ 100,000.’ ”
Doman, who earned both a law degree and an M.B.A. from George Washington University, might have become a sports agent—á la the fictional Jerry Maguire and his “Show me the money!” client, Rod Tidwell.
But having been “blown away” by the plight of so many NFL retirees, he opted instead for a “Save me the money” mantra.
“I decided I wanted to help these players throughout their entire lives, not just until their athletic ability ran out,” Doman, 38, said of his motivation for forming the Doman Group in 2011.
Still said his hire of Doman was well-timed, as his young daughter, Leah, was diagnosed with stage-four cancer in June 2014.
Once her treatment began, Still slept by her side at the hospital and got himself placed on the Bengal’s practice squad to free up his time without losing his medical coverage.
He then took the entire 2015 season off. With Doman’s guidance, Still says he “wasn’t struggling at all because I had money.”
Leah will be cancer-free for two years in March, and her father is a free agent for the 2017 season. He would like to continue in the NFL but accepts it’s not a given.
“A lot of people think football’s a career, but it’s really just an opportunity,” Still said. “And it only lasts so long.”
Craig Dahl, who in 2015 unofficially ended his nine-year NFL career as a safety for the New York Giants, says Doman helped him “pack away quite a nest egg”—a good thing, as he just became a father at age 31.