More Money NOW, by John "Bradshaw" Layfield
(Credit: World Wrestling
POOR AINT FUN
STAYING THAT WAY IS STUPID
Is about Living
I always have believed that life is about living,
not just merely existing.
dont believe in the austerity preached in
some financial books, that you have to save all
your money now so that you can have some in retirement.
There has to be a middle ground. I dont
believe that you should have nothing now so that
you can have a lot later. I dont believe
that you have to be miserable now so that you
can be happy later.
have learned a successful model through life experiencenot
through a book or attending a lecture or just
reading a road map, but by going down the road
itself. I smell like smoke because I have been
through the fire. I promise I can help you through
my life storythe mistakes I made, and the
successes I have been fortunate enough to have.
want to help you. I would love to help everyone
to become financially successful; however, some
people cant be helped. Not because their
situation is hopelessnothing is hopelessbut
because they are just too pigheaded to take advice
from anyone. If you are one of these people, thanks
for buying my book, but when you end up in debt
and in trouble, please dont let the people
who seize your assets see my book in your house.
you are not one of these people, then read on.
This book is for you. I hope you enjoy it.
was very fortunate in my early adulthood to receive
a second chance financially. I didnt know
I needed a second chance until one lonely Sunday
afternoon as I was driving through the state I
love so much, my beautiful home state of Texas.
Dollars and a Road Map
Its a good thing I had stopped by the gas
station a couple of days earlier. The old blue
1980 Chevrolet step-side pickup truck was full,
and I had my fingers crossed that I only needed
one tank and one fill-up to drive the 330 miles
from San Antonio to Athens, Texas, my home.
wasnt that I minded stopping to fill up.
I love Texas, and especially Texas small towns.
I grew up in a small town and still live in one
that isnt exactly on the beaten path. My
concern was that if I had to stop more than once,
I couldnt afford to fill the truck up.
was the spring of 1992. I had just been fired
from my second job in the three years since I
left college. I had $27 in my bank account. You
read that right. I had barely enough to buy this
book. Actually, if this book had been out, maybe
I wouldnt have been in the situation I was
currently in. As it was, I was cruising okay,
flyingup I-35 with just my thoughts, my
truck, an incredibly loud stereo system, and that
in the drive, I harkened back to an old Benjamin
Franklin quote: Necessity is the mother
of invention. This flashback probably happened
somewhere between Georgetown and Killeen.
Benjamin Franklin quote kept sticking with me.
It had grabbed me, and my mind wouldnt let
it go. Isnt it amazing how much better you
listen when you are in need? I was definitely
in need, and this necessity was about to spark
a personal change.
realized that I had been playing professional
football now for three years and, financially
speaking, I had wasted those three years. I was
no better off financially than I was when I had
left college. I realized at this point what a
waste of money that had been.
only good thing was that I had not gotten into
debt. However, I had spent everything I had made.
I had had a great time. Blowing money usually
is fun. I had been to Hawaii, the Grand Caymans,
Las Vegasand I had a huge stereo in my truck,
all paid for. The problem was that I only had
$27 left over. I had a chance to make the rest
of my life better, and I hadnt done it.
I priced perfection into my futurethat is,
everything would always be the samebut it
turned out it wasnt to be.
should have known that football couldnt
last forever and that the money would have to
end eventually. However, like a lot of young athletes
I thought it wouldnt. That day, I realized
the importance of saving for the future. Three
years before, I had never thought this day would
come. Now I had to decide if three years from
this day I would again be unprepared, or if I
would learn from my mistake and not waste the
next three years.
at the Crossroads
It was a very important day for me, a twenty-three-year-old
standing flat-footed at the crossroads in my life.
I had to make a choice of playing the cards Id
been dealt in the best way possible or feeling
sorry for myself and continuing down the same
road that had gotten me broke. I decided that
being poor aint fun, and staying that way
didnt consider myself stupid, so I decided
that I couldnt remain poor.
set of cards that life had dealt me that day were
not cards that I wanted, but the only option I
had was to play the hand dealt to me in the best
possible way. Whether these cards are good or
bad really doesnt matter; you have to figure
out the best way to play them. Griping about the
cards, or even the dealer, wasnt going to
help me any.
Least I Was Drafted . . . Barely
That day in the spring of 1992 started like any
other had the better part of the last three years.
I woke up, knees aching, hung over, and headed
to football practice. It was my job. I played
professional football for a living, and I was
living one of my lifelong goals. I was an offensive
tackle for the San Antonio Riders of the World
League of American Football. The league consisted
of a lot of former NFL players and college players
who, for whatever reason, were not on an NFL roster.
was content making my living playing for the Riders.
I had spent the fall of 1990 with the Los Angeles
Raiders, and now here I was in this new league.
I wasnt getting rich, but I was living just
like I wanted to and playing football. I didnt
think things could get much better. I came to
the World League with the intention of making
it back to the NFL, but I was enjoying playing
so much, I didnt really care where I played.
I was just happy playing. This was all I ever
wanted to do.
first year in San Antonio was 1991, also the leagues
first year. I had an absolute ball playing football
that year. The World League was created very much
the way Vince McMahon created the XFL. The entire
salary structure was built upon performance and
bonuses. It made the guys play harder, and the
fans liked that. There were bonuses for starting
and for outstanding position performance. I believe
the fans really appreciated this format.
me, the league was a great opportunity and a way
for me to continue playing football and making
a living at the same time.
the inaugural season of the WLAF, the league started
with a position draft. They drafted 111 offensive
was number 108.
reputation for bad knees and uncertainty about
the level of talent that was playing in NCAA Division
II football really hurt me. I was just glad I
was handed a uniform.
football, players are measured by where they are
on the depth chart. The depth chart lists each
position and the starter and backup at each spot.
On the offensive line, there are five positions:
two tackles, two guards, and a center. So on the
depth chart there are 10 spots for offensive linemen.
was number 11.
may have gotten the coaches attention by
being the only player on the third team, but I
knew that if I was ever going to play in this
league and have any modicum of success, I had
to do something on the field. The cards I had
werent good, but I was about to make the
best of them.
the third day of camp I got a chance at right
tackle. I never believed I had a real fair shot
at staying with the Raiders, and being chosen
so late in the WLAF draft really burned me up.
I decided I had to make a statement and make it
early or else my football career would be over.
knees were bad by this time, and the quickness
that I had used to my advantage through my career
was gone, but I still had a terrific desire to
play. Actually, I am not sure words could describe
the desire I had to continue playing. You could
take my speed, but you couldnt take my desire
to play, and believe me, football is all about
desire. A forty time and bench press never once
made a football player. You simply cant
measure heart, and I had heart to spare. There
were guys there that were playing because they
didnt know what else to do. I was playing
because I loved the game.
I was going to get noticed this day if I had to
fight the whole team, the coaches, and the equipment
manager. So I started with the players.
one play early in practice, I got tied up with
the defensive end I was going against. We exchanged
words. Briefly. Mostly we threw fists. It was
like being alive againI was on a football
field battling, and I loved it. The fight got
broken up, and things settled down briefly.
decided I wasnt done. I dont think
he wanted to quit either. So instead of going
back to the huddle, we went after each other again.
I was really beginning to enjoy this. Finally,
we got broken up again briefly. Very briefly.
Mike Riley called for a water break, but I really
wasnt thirsty. Apparently, the defensive
end wasnt either. This time we really got
into it. When they broke us up for a third time,
Coach Riley called off practice. I not only got
noticed, but I got the guys, and me, out of an
extremely hard practice. Pretty good day.
next morning, I walked into practice almost expecting
a message that I had just been cut. Instead, I
was greeted with the pleasure of looking at a
depth chart with my name in a starting position.
never let the spot go.
guess the coaches figured if they just left me
there, then I wouldnt feel compelled to
fight everyone. I was kind of glad. It had taken
half a day to fight just one guy properly, and
there were over forty guys on the roster, not
counting coaches and the equipment manager. My
plan to fight everyone would have taken quite
a while to execute.
was playing the cards dealt to me. There was nothing
I could do about my past knee injuries, all I
could do was to play as hard as I could with the
body I had left. I had no real choice except to
figure out my next move. The option of feeling
sorry for myself never much fit me. Being drafted
number 108 wasnt acceptable to me, but I
realized that there was nothing I could do about
that. I could do something once I got to training
have to play the cards dealt in the best way possible.
Sometimes they are good, sometimes they are bad.
It doesnt matter. You have to play what
is put in your hand.
Own Football Card
During the first World League year, we got word
that the league was going to make a football card
for one player at each position on each team.
One offensive lineman, one running back, one wide
receiver, and so on. The Riders chose to feature
cant tell you how excited I was to have
my own football card. I thought I had made it.
My mom certainly thought I had made it. I was
playing professional football and even had my
own card to prove it. I was so excited about the
set that I couldnt wait for it to come out.
own card and my rapid ascension through the depth
chart had me thinking I was going to play football
forever. And there was no reason to think otherwise.
league did pretty well that first year. We werent
the NFL, and we werent trying to be. We
had our niche. We were popular in Europe, where
several of the teams were based, and we drew decent
enough in the States to provide fans a football
fix during the NFL off-season.
that first year, the NFL decided it needed a stage
to develop players already on NFL rosters. The
big league started showing a greater interest
in the WLAF and began allocating players to our
league. These allocated players were the made
players. Coaches were told to play these guys.
They were there to be developed because some NFL
team saw enough in them to make an investment
to send them to a developmental spring league.
the influx on new talent in the World League,
those players that were stuck somewhere in the
middle got caught in the mix. Still, I didnt
think I had anything to worry about. I had played
every snap the previous year. I was the San Antonio
Riders offensive lineman representative
in the WLAF football card set. I would be fine.
So I thought.
reported to camp in the spring of 1992 feeling
as good as I could feel. I was moved to left tackle,
something I took as a compliment, since I was
now protecting the quarterbacks blind side.
After the first preseason game, I got a message
that Coach Riley wanted to see me. I thought a
lot of Coach Riley, who later became the head
coach of the San Diego Chargers after helping
turn around the Oregon State program. He had always
been a good friend, a real players coach.
Hes a credit to the coaching profession.
thought I had played well in that game. I had
no idea why Coach Riley wanted to see me. For
all I knew, he was going to tell me I needed to
be at practice early tomorrow for a photo shoot
for the new World League card set. Or perhaps
I was to be the new centerfold for Dairy Cow Weekly.
wasnt a pleasant meeting. I didnt
realize that it was the day final cuts were made.
I hadnt paid much attention to it because
I didnt figure there was any need to pay
attention to it. It was just another day on the
calendar to me.
Rileys office was just another room in the
San Antonio hotel that doubled as our residence.
I walked into his office/bedroom and was told
the news. The San Antonio Riders no longer had
a need for a six-foot-seven, 300-pound left tackle
with bad knees and several broken bones to his
credit. I dont know if they felt they had
to cut me because of the injuries, or if it was
the new role the NFL had taken in the league.
Either way, it didnt matter, I was unemployed.
have a lot of respect for Coach Riley. I could
tell it really hurt him to do this. If it didnt
hurt him, he sure made it look like it did. He
told me my offensive line coach, Jim Gilstrap,
wanted to see me before I left to say good-bye.
I turned around and left the office/bedroom.
football career was over.
had further options to continue to play, but I
knew my days were numbered at best. I had to play
the cards dealt me. I didnt really like
had no idea why I was cut. It was a shock. Im
sure the NFL had something to do with it. I was
damaged goods and doing nothing but holding some
young guys spot. Coach Riley didnt
tell me that. He didnt have to.
went back to my room to tell my roommate, Mike
Kiselak, other friends, and my dream of playing
football good-bye. They all thought I was pulling
a prank on them. When they saw me walk out of
that hotel with my life packed in a few bags,
they realized it wasnt a prank.
was a casualty of the Turk (the football term
for the Grim Reaper).
of Money, Out of a Job
Not a Good Combination
I had budgeted my money perfectly from my first
World League season to the next. I didnt
worry much about money. I figured I would keep
playing forever and make this kind of money forever.
I hadnt planned on getting cut. This is
a problem with a lot of young men who go into
professional sports. All of their lives they are
taken care of, and then when they sign a pro contract
they are still taken care of. Often the first
time they have to face the world by themselves
is when they are released from a team. These young
guys normally arent prepared for this. I
wasnt either. This is also the first time
these young athletes find themselves alone. I
was definitely alone.
positive was that I had accomplished my dream
of playing professional football. The negative
was, I was driving up I-35 with nothing but my
blue pickup, a bunch of construction, and $27
to keep me company. I made just enough to live
like I wanted. I didnt live past my means,
but I spent everything I made. I priced perfection
into my future, believing that my future was going
to be as perfect as my present.
humbling to realize that you cant afford
to live like you have been or buy things that
you are used to having. This is called maturing,
growing upwe all have to do it. But it sure
did stink when I had to do it. Living like a king
and not having to grow up, being immature with
a pocket full of money, sure was a lot more fun.
goes through this process at some point. Mine
just came much earlier than I wanted or thought
it would. Going through this humbles you, but
it also makes you take a hard look at reality.
I learned this at an early age, and it ended up
being the most valuable lesson I ever learned.
Had I made it in the NFL, I likely would have
ended my career in the same place I was that day
I got cut from the Riders. I would be broken down,
broke, and left with no second chance at breathing
new life into a new career or my finances. I could
handle the bad knees. The lack of paycheck was
I was making that drive up I-35, I didnt
know if Id ever make decent money again.
I told myself that three years from that point
I was going to be better off than I was currently,
even if it was just by a little. Of course, that
wouldnt take a whole lot (just $28 in my
pocket would be an improvement), but at that time
I didnt feel like setting goals too lofty.
I know all good things dont have to come
to an end, but mine had. I promised myself that
if I ever had a chance to make money again, I
would not make the same mistake.
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