Despite the double distraction of Lance Armstrong and Manti Te’o and his fake dead girlfriend, the Super Bowl will be upon us on Feb. 3 in New Orleans to regain our attention. Just beyond the Super Bowl hubbub, former players, some wearing Super Bowl rings, have found a life toiling in the financial world.
AdvisorOne found 13 former football players who went on to careers in business, mostly as financial advisors, though some as company figureheads to help boost a business’ profile.
From excellent players like Lincoln Kennedy, a star offensive lineman, to those that had a moment in the sun like Chuck Mercein in the 1967 Ice Bowl and others who performed mostly in NFL obscurity, many have helped others plan for a secure financial future.
Of course, there are plenty of examples of high profile athletes blowing big paydays on bad investments, criminal activity or on high living. Along those lines, we also included three former players and a coach who ended in the crosshairs of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) because of financial misdeeds. First, the nine “good” former players followed by the four “bad” former players:
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1) Phil McConkey
Notable Team: New York Giants
Company: Academy Securities
Position: Partner, President
Degrees and Accreditation: Naval Academy, FINRA Series 7, 63, 24, 55 and 65 registrations
Phil McConkey has enjoyed uncommon success throughout his life, from serving as a pilot in the U.S. Navy to winning a Super Bowl in 1987 as a wide receiver for the New York Giants to life as an investment advisor. He has spent more than 15 years on Wall Street, including a stint as head of business development for BNP Paribas division Malbec Partners, as well as work with FTN Midwest and the Private Client Services Division of Deutsche Bank.
2) Wayne Chrebet
Notable Team: New York Jets
Company: Barclays Wealth
Position: Assistant Vice President
Degrees and Accreditation: Graduated from Hoftsra, earned Series 7, 31 and 66 licenses.
Wayne Chrebet was always the wide receiver that astonished NFL fans with his ability to thrive despite his lack of size. And thrive he did in 11 seasons from 1995 through 2005 with the New York Jets, retiring as the second-leading pass catcher in team history. Chrebet then directed his energy to a Wall Street career, first with Morgan Stanley based in Red Bank, N.J., then joining Barclays Capital in 2012. He told The Wall Street Journal in 2010 that it was a natural fit since he was always interested in managing his own money.
3) Lincoln Kennedy
Notable Team: Oakland Raiders
Company: Kennedy Insurance Agency
Position: CEO and President
Degrees and Accreditation: Graduated from University of Washington
Lincoln Kennedy was a star in college as an offensive lineman and continued his stellar play in the NFL. He was picked ninth in the draft by the Atlanta Falcons in 1993, and after three seasons was traded to the Oakland Raiders. He went to three consecutive Pro Bowls and started Super Bowl XXXVII for Oakland. He later played one season with the Tampa Bay Storm of the Arena Football League in 2007. After retiring, he began a career with Farmers Insurance before opening his own agency.
4) Chuck Mercein
Notable Team: Green Bay Packers
Company: Oppenheimer, various
Position: Institutional Sales Trader
Degrees and Accreditation: Graduated from Yale
Chuck Mercein’s NFL career took off when Vince Lombardi called him to join the Green Bay Packers. The year was 1967, and the legendary coach needed to bolster his team’s running attack as it tried to win its unprecedented third consecutive championship. The move worked out better than anyone could have expected, when the Yale grad made several key plays as running back during the final drive of the Ice Bowl game against the Dallas Cowboys, which lifted the Packers into the NFL’s first Super Bowl. Glory on the field was fleeting, as Mercein was passed over during the subsequent Super Bowl, but he had a 45-year run on Wall Street. And he will always have the Sports Illustrated cover of him in the Ice Bowl to hang on his wall.
5) Reggie Smith
Notable Team: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Company: Water Tower Financial Partners
Position: Financial Advisor
Degrees and Accreditation: Graduated from the University of Kansas
Reggie Smith made a bold choice after being a three-year starter as an offensive tackle at Kansas: He signed with the upstart USFL rather than the NFL. After three years, the league folded and he headed for the older league. A stop in Denver (it didn’t work out) was followed by a stint as a replacement player during the NFL lockout in 1987. He played three games with the Buccaneers before starting a new career. He currently does charitable work, heads up an alumni chapter of the NFL Players Association and works as a financial advisor.
6) Steven Israel
Notable Team: Los Angeles Rams
Position: Insurance Associate
Degrees and Accreditation: Graduated from the University of Pittsburgh; holds Business Management & Entrepreneurship Certificates from Harvard Business School and Stanford Graduate School of Business
Steven Israel was drafted by the Rams in the second round of the 1992 draft and enjoyed a decade-long career as a defensive back for four teams. After his playing days, Israel was a college football analyst for ESPNU for two years and embarked on a career in the financial services industry. Before landing at AFLAC, he was a financial representative at Northwestern Mutual Life.
7) Bernard Robertson III
Notable Team: Chicago Bears