Many people think that football players who make it to the National Football League have it made. But one ex-player reveals he was so short on cash in his playing days that he had to have his aunt move in with him—and charge her rent.
The tale comes from ex-NFL player Pierce Burton (@realestateofficer), who now works in real estate and uses TikTok to get his name and brand out into the world. The video, posted on Jan. 17, has since drawn more than 569,800 views and 17,200 likes. It responds to a comment from another video asking him, “You charged your aunt, family, $700 for a bedroom while you were an NFL player?” That commenter then said, “Greed will be the end of us all.”
Burton’s video shows that greed wasn’t the motivator.
After admitting to charging his aunt, he forwards his thesis to start the video, saying, “This is a common misconception about NFL players. Everybody thinks that every NFL player is absolutely loaded, and that’s just not the case.”
He goes on to say that during his journeyman career in the NFL and Canadian Football League, he made anywhere from $50,000 to $200,000 a year—needing to pay for a mortgage as well as rent.
As Pro Football Reference notes, he was with five different NFL teams between 2014 and 2017.
“During training camp and offseason workouts, the team will pay for where you stay,” he says. “But as soon as you make the team during the regular season, you’re having to cover that housing expense. After making the Falcons roster for the regular season, I rented an apartment, bought furniture [and] everything for my place. And then two weeks later, they ended up signing veteran Jake Long, a former number one overall pick, and they cut me.”
He continued, “I got signed by the Panthers the very next day and had to drive to Carolina. And from that point forward, I decided that I was gonna stay in Extended Stays for the rest of my career, which ended up being cheaper because you didn’t have to buy furniture and all that stuff and commit to a long-term lease, but that was anywhere from $1,500 to $1,800 a month on top of having to pay my mortgage.”
He also says that, as a lineman who weighed between 310 and 330 pounds during his career, his food bills added up.
“Most NFL contracts are non-guaranteed unless you’re a top-level player, and when I tore my patellar tendon working out at home, I actually lost that contract,” he shares. “Just a couple months before, I had purchased my house. I ended up getting back and playing again, but I only had a little bit of money left over after purchasing my house, and so it was really bad timing to tear my knee.”
“So,” he concludes, “my aunt moving in with me was actually almost a necessity to make bills.”
@realestateofficer Replying to @Flying_Robot_Creator #nfl #cfl #fyp #olemissfootball #collegefootball ♬ original sound – Pierce Burton
One commenter noted, “My boss won a superbowl with the niners in the 90s. the dude is far from rich.”
Another shared, “I used to work with two guys who were both professional baseball players, one even had a world series ring. I made more than both of them.”
Someone else shared, “I’m about to be making more than this dude. 200k isn’t that much. that’s the minimum to buy a house in San Diego.”
Finally, one, echoing others on the site, assured Burton, “Bro you need to explain nothing to no one.”
The Daily Dot has reached out to Burton via Instagram direct message.