'He's too trusting and that's a weakness': How NFL star Mark Brunell blew his entire $50million fortune in failed business investments

He has had a stellar NFL career with no fewer than three trips to the Pro Bowl.

But even after earning $50million,  New York Jets quarterback Mark Brunell is almost broke.

The former Jacksonville Jaguars player filed for bankruptcy in June, citing debts of $24.8m compared to assets of $5.5 million.

Fallen:Even after earning $50million, New York Jets quarterback Mark Brunell is almost broke.

And now papers filed in court reveal how the popular player blew $50m in investments, Action News Jax reported.

Brunell sank his earnings into nine businesses and projects, five of which failed, according to court filings. 

The football star, along with former teammates Joel Smeenge and Todd Fordham, was a partner in a company called Champion LLC.

The company borrowed more than $2m to buy high-end properties in Jacksonville, on which to build condos. The players were guarantors of the loan.

When the property bubble crashed, Brunell lost his entire investment of $11million and more as he tried to cover the company's loan payments with his own money. For several years he tried to cover the loan payments.

Lost: Brunell and his wife Stacy have already disposed of their $9.5 m home in a sale that broke Jacksonville records.

Now Brunell and his wife Stacy are being sued for defaulting on that loan. He is now, altogether, the subject of six lawsuits.

The couple have already disposed of their $9.5 m home in a sale that broke Jacksonville records.

Brunell also invested in several other doomed businesses, including real estate projects in Traverse City and Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Another investment that proved unwise was a Whataburger franchise in which he lost every cent of $9million that he put in.

Michael Huyghue, Commissioner of the United Football League told Action News Jax that Brunell's financial woes are down to the fact that he's too nice.

Huyghue said: 'He's trusting and maybe that's a weakness.'

Unwise: Brunell lost every cent of $9million that he invested in a Whataburger franchise

He added: 'Athletes are at the highest end of the risk spectrum. When you think about what they do for a living, the risks, they take with their bodies and their lives to go and play the game so they are more inclined to want to agree to the most high rick investments.

'The consequences when they are wrong can be really debilitating.

Ken Ruettgers an ex player who started a non-profit to help players learn how to live without football said: 'It's something like 78% of former NFL players, two years after their last game are either bankrupt, divorced, or unemployed.'

Michael Freed, who represents Brunell and all the other defendants in the lawsuit, told jacksonville.com: 'Simply a sign of the times, sign of the economy.

Kids Camp: Brunell's Football camps are one of his surviving businesses

Getting out: Brunell said that declaring bankruptcy was the only viable course of action

'There's a lot of real estate opportunities that have gone sideways. And when that happens there's legitimate business disputes.'

Brunell is planning to retire from football this year but despite the millions he has earned, he won't be putting his feet up. he has found work as a $60,000 a year medical sales representative in Ponte Verde.

Several businesses including a kids football camp survive and net him a small income.


Brunell invested in nine companies.

He has lost $50 million, mainly in bad investments.

Champion LLC company lost him $11m

Whataburger project lost him $9m project and loans

He’s also facing six lawsuits worth $24.7 million

Brunell has spent $58,039 in legal fees on the bankruptcy action

Before he filed the petition, Brunell issued a statement through his attorney.

'After much deliberation and many years of shouldering an enormous amount of debt resulting from passive real estate investments, it has become clear that this is the only viable course of action,' said Brunell.

'The timing of the group’s real estate acquisitions at the height of the real estate market, in hindsight, clearly was not good, particularly given the subsequent collapse of the economy,' he said.

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