Warren SappWarren Sapp, the seemingly unstoppable former defensive tackle of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and later the Oakland Raiders, has been stymied by a force bigger than himself: bankruptcy.

The player famous for his rough style of hitting and skill at hammering quarterbacks, couldn't fight off a bad construction deal that sent him into debt, a reality he spoke about for the first time with Tampa Bay Times columnist Gary Shelton.

Sapp who netted some $60 million during his career in the NFL, has found himself $6.7 million in debt because of a failed investment in building low-income housing in Fort Pierce, Fla., in 2005. Cue the continuing descent of the economy, and Sapp's audacious hopes curdled with the onset of the Great Recession.

"Do you think I wanted to declare bankruptcy?'' Sapp told Shelton. "Do you think if there was any other way possible I would have done it? It was either this or go to jail. Those were my choices.''

Sapp's poor investment, in addition to his excessive life style, meant his bills went unpaid and his debt grew--forcing him to file for Chapter 7.

"When you live like I do,'' he said, "you know where you are and what you have to do. I'm not at war with me. I promise you this. I will never go to jail.''

Though Sapp grew up in a house without airconditioning or cable, his lush consumerist instincts have come a long way: at his house he had 240 pairs of sneakers and a painting of a nude woman on his bedroom wall. His super bowl ring was missing, an item that could have been a valuable sell in repairing at least some of his debt.

The former NFL star seems committed to rectifying his financial troubles.

"This is just another situation I have to get myself out of," he said.

A Cautionary Tale

Once the epitome of the monetary security a pro-sports career can bring, Sapp has now instead become a cautionary example of the need to diversify investments.

But Sapp might do well to consider his artistic finesse as opposed to his brutish athleticism in trying to recover his fortune: His second-place finish on Season 7 of Dancing With The Stars -- where B- and C-listers go to be reborn -- is a promising sign. He's enough of a household name that he could easily milk his personal brand and celebrity for monetary gains.

Failing that, Sapp might considering hatching plans for a start-up business, perhaps taking advantage of the pending and potentially powerful crowd-funding capabilities for private companies made possible by the JOBS Act. Or, given that he's a betting man, he might want to curb his risks by entering the fray of forex trading.

Whatever his game plan is for digging himself out of financial ruin, he might want to start with an incentives-based saving plan with positive-reinforcement options as offered by SaveUp.

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R.S. Humphries

The Social Security Program is a complete facade! It always has been! You pay and pay for decades into a program that is suppose to assist you in financial security after age 62, or any year thereafter when you file for retirement income. Each year during the "Pay Into years" a higher percentage of your income is taxed for Social Security. After reaching an eligible age for receiving Social Security Income, it's taxed again when you have already paid taxes on it during the years you paid into this program. If you make above a certain amount of income between ages 62 and 66, they penalize you by taking 50% of the Social Security Income paid to you back as a penality. The government for decades has tapped this reserve fund designed to provide retirement income for millions who have paid into it for other causes and needs having to do with anything and everything but it's intended purpose. Now, because of the "Baby-Boomers" reaching retirement ages are expecting to see the fruit of their labor, along with Aliens coming here from other countries having not paid a nickel into this program, free healthcare, subsidized housing, unemployment, etc', the program is BROKE while those in Washington live the finer life at our expense and continue telling lies everyday in order to be re-elected with corporate backing to suit their financial interests. This is what you are suppose to Pledge Allegiance To?

April 20 2012 at 6:22 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Did the Super Bowl ring just ''houdini''?. There is not even a cursory mention of it's potential whereabouts. Maybe he was in a trance when he visited the pawn shop.

April 20 2012 at 1:02 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

He would only go to jail over the child support and I'm not sure a judge would be that forgiving, the baby mamma's will get something they won't get shut out. This author doesn't know much about sports obviously, Sapp's name is worth next to nothing and he has no other marketable qualities.

April 19 2012 at 11:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Man up, and sell all your belongings to pay your debt. You owe 6 mil. and your worth 6 mil. So pay up and get a 200,000$ home and payments , Oh and pay your child payments and IRS too .

April 19 2012 at 11:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

he made 60 million and goes broke im not working with four kids and im supposed to feel bad for him **** HIM he should not be so exxcessive with his spending on ****** and jewelry please someone hire me to work i promise to break my back for you i am a truck driver very loyal and har working thank you ....peace out sapp

April 19 2012 at 10:31 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply


April 19 2012 at 8:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

LOL.....BIG DEAL......"he grew up w/out air conditioning or cable".....anyone over the age of 50 grew up with no AC or CABLE. They make it sound like not having AC or CABLE is like being a share cropper in the great depression

April 19 2012 at 8:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

His Superbowl ring was missing. Was the writer of this story looking for it in Sapp's house. I don't get it.

April 19 2012 at 8:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

haha - they don't have debtor's prison anymore you idiot. You also can't dodge child support payments with bankruptcy, which this is all about. He still makes almost 600k peryear working for the NFL network, though they are about to dump him as well. It really couldn't happen to a more worthy moron. I've been smiling for weeks ince I heard he's getting flushed like the turd he is. Racist POS.

April 19 2012 at 8:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Ricardo Peguero

That's what you get for shattering Clifton's pelvis during a cheap shot. Karma's a bitch. Clifton sin't broke. GO PACK!

April 19 2012 at 7:08 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply