Now, after several failed business ventures, Brunell is broke.
The three-time Pro Bowler and Super Bowl champion was drafted in the fifth round of the 1993 NFL Draft by the Green Bay Packers.
A year later, he was traded to the Jacksonville Jaguars, who made him their franchise quarterback. In his nine seasons with the team, Brunell became an icon in Jacksonville, beloved by the fans and the media.
But he also invested in nine businesses and enterprises during his career, and five of them are no longer in operation.
The two companies that mostly sank Brunell were Champion LLC and Whataburger, and now there are $24,729,766 in claims against the former NFL star.
What a headache.
We've seen this on a regular basis in the NFL and throughout sports. Whether it be foolishly investing a lot of money in companies or living a lavish lifestyle, star athletes, while seemingly invincible on the playing field, don't always find life outside of sports a piece of cake.
You have to feel at least a little sorry for Brunell in this case, however. This wasn't due to greed, but simply bad investment decisions.
Said Michael Huyghue, commissioner of the UFL who worked in the Jaguars front office for five years while Brunell starred, via ActionNewsJax.com:
"He's trusting and maybe that's a weakness. He looks for the best in people.
"There's no better character person, he's got toughness as an athlete [...] a guys guy. He's the kind of person who will always do the right thing, but his story is more widespread. Not just in football, but other sports as well."
It's a troubling pattern.
Said former Green Bay Packer Ken Ruettgers, who started a nonprofit to help players with life after football:
"It's something like 78% of former NFL players, two years after their last game are either bankrupt, divorced, or unemployed."
That's not just a trend, folks. That is life after football for most players.
And with the latest news concerning Brunell, it stresses the point that this pattern isn't just about greed and a big ego; it has more to do with simply mismanaging money.
With the money rolling in for these athletes, they instantly are thrust into the business world.
They problem is, many of them aren't well-versed in business.
At least Brunell appears to have a plan, however. After he retires from the New York Jets, he will return home to Ponte Vedra to work as a medical sales representative.
Better that than a financial analyst.