A career in the NFL can bring glory, fame and riches beyond anyone’s wildest dreams. But with many players choosing to quit or being forced to retire from the game before they hit 40, a pro footballer’s time on the field is often relatively short.
It’s perhaps no surprise, then, that the sport’s former stars have turned to other pursuits to fill their free time. And with that in mind, here’s a look at what 20 ex-NFL quarterbacks have done since hanging up their cleats for good.
20. Rex Grossman
Rex Grossman was drafted as a first-round pick by the Chicago Bears after establishing himself as one of the Florida Gators’ all-time finest players. But the quarterback never appeared to hit his form as an NFL star, even if he did manage to make it to Super Bowl XLI with the Bears. And, perhaps knowing that he needed to diversify, Grossman ultimately founded recruitment agency Florida Medical Staffing with his wife.
19. Chad Pennington
Chad Pennington enjoyed 11 seasons in the NFL after being selected as a first-round pick by the New York Jets in 2000. He also became the first man to be crowned AP NFL Comeback Player of the Year on two separate occasions, and besides that he once held the quarterback record for career pass completion at 66 percent. But Pennington would eventually embark on an altogether different endeavor by teaming up with business partner J.W. Hart to establish the Professional Bulls Rider stable #10 Bucking Bulls.
18. Daunte Culpepper
Daunte Culpepper spent 11 seasons in the NFL before a knee injury cut his career short. Drafted by the Minnesota Vikings in 1999, he broke the total yardage single-season record for a quarterback five years later. Culpepper was also picked for the Pro Bowl three times before moving on to the likes of the Miami Dolphins, the Detroit Lions and the Oakland Raiders. But life hasn’t always been kind to the former star; for example, in 2013 his Florida home was put into foreclosure.
17. Kerry Collins
During his 17-season career, Kerry Collins managed to secure victory against every single NFL team save for the Miami Dolphins. That’s not the only achievement he can boast about, either, since his stint with the New York Giants saw him play at Super Bowl XXXV. And Collins has another string to his bow, too, with the former football star having penned tracks for a number of country artists.
16. Jared Lorenzen
Jared Lorenzen picked up a Super Bowl ring in 2007 after serving as backup quarterback for Eli Manning – during a game in which the New York Giants memorably emerged victorious over the New England Patriots. Lorenzen had been acquired by the Giants three years previously as an undrafted free agent. But what of the former backup’s life since he hung up his cleats? Well, he has appeared as a guest host on Kentucky Sports Radio and has also embarked on an eponymous project that’s focused on his quest to overcome obesity.
15. Jake Plummer
Otherwise known as “Jake the Snake,” Jake Plummer was selected in the second round of the 1997 draft by the Arizona Cardinals. And he ultimately went on to spend six seasons with the team before enjoying another four with the Denver Broncos. Meanwhile, since retiring from the sport, the one-time quarterback has served as a college football analyst for Pac-12 Networks. Plummer has also been a vocal advocate for cannabinoid products, having taken them to deal with perceived football-related ailments.
14. Jake Delhomme
Jake Delhomme helped to guide the Carolina Panthers to Super Bowl XXXVIII during his first season with the team. But throughout his 14-year stint in the NFL, he also had patchy spells with the New Orleans Saints, the Cleveland Browns and the Houston Texans. Then, after quitting the game, he followed in his father’s footsteps by both breeding and trading in racehorses. And the Super Bowl record-holder for longest completed pass has in addition appeared in numerous commercials for restaurant chain Bojangles’.
13. Marc Bulger
Marc Bulger spent the majority of his 11-season career with the St. Louis Rams. The quarterback also signed with the Atlanta Falcons, the New Orleans Saints and the Baltimore Ravens during his time in the NFL, although he never actually stepped out onto the field with any of them during the regular season or postseason. Then, following his retirement, Bulger became part of the checkered Major League Football project’s quarterback advisory team; and in 2017 he relocated to Tennessee.
12. David Garrard
David Garrard enjoyed three years as the Jacksonville Jaguars’ starting quarterback after being drafted from the East Carolina University Pirates as a fourth-round pick in 2002. Outside of the sport, though, Garrard has helped to bring attention to a condition that he himself has suffered from: Crohn’s disease. And post-retirement, the former player also became the owner of a number of Retro Fitness gyms in Florida.
11. Kyle Orton
Kyle Orton was drafted in the fourth round by the Chicago Bears in 2005, following which he also played for the Denver Broncos, the Dallas Cowboys and the Buffalo Bills. But Orton’s career in the NFL was ultimately an erratic one, as the would-be star was plagued by injury, inconsistent form and disciplinary problems. After finally taking his pads off for good, then, Orton announced plans to mentor Louisiana players at both college and high-school levels. He has previously stated his ambition to run for office, too, so a spell in Congress may ultimately form part of his future.
10. Jake Locker
Jake Locker’s NFL career was limited to just four seasons – partly down to injury, partly down to the quarterback’s eventual lack of motivation. And, in fact, Locker played a mere 30 games for the Tennessee Titans after being selected by the team as an eighth-round draft pick in 2011. Then, following a decision to quit the sport to move in a “different direction,” he switched his attention to cattle-raising, theology studies and pursuing various business opportunities.
9. Vince Young
Vince Young’s time in the NFL earned him some impressive accolades. The former Tennessee Titans quarterback was crowned the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2006, for instance; and he was also given the honor of being Sporting News’ NFL Comeback Player of the Year for 2009. Young was even selected twice for the Pro Bowl during his spell with the franchise. Following his retirement, though, he returned to the place where he had begun his football career, the University of Texas, to work as a development officer.
8. Doug Flutie
Doug Flutie enjoyed a glittering career in the NFL, with spells with the Chicago Bears, the New England Patriots, the Buffalo Bills and the San Diego Chargers. He also picked up the Heisman Trophy while playing for Boston College, was crowned the Canadian Football League’s Most Outstanding Player on six separate occasions and was even elected into the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame. Since retiring, Flutie has worked as both a college football analyst and a Notre Dame Football color commentator, for ABC and NBC respectively.
7. Jeff George
Jeff George began his football career with the University of Illinois before being picked up in 1990 by the Indianapolis Colts. The quarterback then went on to sign for several NFL teams after that, too, including the Oakland Raiders, the Washington Redskins and the Minnesota Vikings. And while George played his last game in 2001, he continued to talk of a comeback throughout the remainder of the decade. No one has yet decided to take him on again, though, meaning the former player has had to settle for simply talking about the game during his appearances on NFL Total Access.
6. Joey Harrington
After joining the Detroit Lions in 2002, Joey Harrington went on to enjoy a three-year spell with the team as well as periods on the rosters of the Atlanta Falcons, the New Orleans Saints and the Miami Dolphins. Harrington stayed within the sport after retiring from playing, though, serving as a college football commentator and a color analyst. Interestingly, he’s also since worked as a TV news reporter for Portland, Oregon-based NBC affiliate KGW.
5. Donovan McNabb
Donovan McNabb hit several milestones during his 13-year professional career in football. He became only the fourth NFL quarterback ever to achieve over 30,000 passing yards, for example, as well as achieving 200 touchdown passes, 3,000 rushing yards and 20 rushing touchdowns. He also guided the Philadelphia Eagles to Super Bowl XXXIX, five NFC East division titles and eight playoff appearances. And after retirement, McNabb chose to pursue a career in the media, working for Fox Sports Live and ESPN. In 2018 he was fired from the latter network, however, over claims of sexual harassment.
4. Rich Gannon
Following him being drafted by the New England Patriots in 1987, Rich Gannon spent an impressive 18 seasons in the NFL. He would also go on to join the Minnesota Vikings, the Kansas City Chiefs and the Oakland Raiders, helping take the last of those teams all the way to Super Bowl XXXVII. After injury forced him to retire in 2005, though, Gannon began a career as a sports analyst for CBS; he is also a co-host of radio show The Sirius Blitz.
3. Trent Green
During his 15-season NFL career, Trent Green received a Super Bowl ring while playing for the St. Louis Rams and achieved two Pro Bowl selections while with the Kansas City Chiefs. He also played for the likes of the San Diego Chargers, the Washington Redskins and the Miami Dolphins. After leaving the sport, however, Green took to the airwaves as an analyst for Fox, the NFL Network and CBS.
2. Kordell Stewart
Kordell Stewart – or “Slash,” as he’s known to some – enjoyed more than a decade in the NFL after being drafted from the University of Colorado in 1995. Renowned for his versatility, the quarterback spent most of his career with the Pittsburgh Steelers, although he also had brief spells with the Chicago Bears and the Baltimore Ravens before hanging up his cleats in 2005. Still, that wouldn’t be the last the public saw of Stewart, as in 2012 he was appointed as an afternoon co-host for Atlanta’s WZGC FM.
1. Vinny Testaverde
Vinny Testaverde’s NFL career lasted a whopping 21 seasons, beginning in 1987 and ending in 2007. In fact, after leaving the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, he was on the rosters of more than half a dozen other teams, including the Baltimore Ravens, the Cleveland Browns and the New York Jets. And Testaverde remained within the sport following his retirement as a player by serving as a quarterbacks coach at Tampa’s Jesuit High School.