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Financial problems weighed heavily on Dave Duerson

daveduerson

As friends, coaches and teammates of Dave Duerson, the ex-Bear who committed suicide last week, continue to ask questions about what led him to take his life, more details are coming to light about the financial problems that plagued Duerson in recent years.

Sean Jensen and Art Golab of the Chicago Sun-Times report that in September of 2010, Duerson filed for personal bankruptcy, listing almost $15 million in liabilities, including two multimillion-dollar bank loans, two mortgages on his home and $70,000 owed to his ex-wife on a divorce settlement.

Duerson also listed assets of almost $35 million, but nearly all of that was a judgment his company, Duerson Foods, had won — but not collected — in a lawsuit against food processing companies.

Aside from that uncollected judgment, Duerson had very little to show for his football career and his post-football business career; other than a car with 140,000 miles on it, his most valuable asset was a checking account containing $846.

Friends have said Duerson was shaken by his financial problems, as well as his divorce. Two months before his suicide, Duerson’s ex-wife sued him to try to collect his two Super Bowl rings (earned with the 1985 Bears and 1990 Giants) and his 1987 NFL Man of the Year trophy. That litigation drew a harsh response from Duerson’s coach with the Bears, Mike Ditka.

That’s so tragic, it’s ridiculous,” Ditka said in an interview this week with Miami New Times. “That’s something you can’t understand. First of all, if they were married– that’s your mate, why would you do that to somebody you loved? And secondly, it’s just tragic to hear that he ended up that way.”

Duerson had also clashed with Ditka in the past. In 2007, as Ditka was becoming increasingly vocal about the needs of players who had retired with serious injuries, Duerson claimed that as a coach Ditka had pressured players to take the field even if they were hurt. Ditka called that “an out-and-out lie.”

Researchers at the Boston University School of Medicine hope to determine whether Duerson was exposed to brain damage on the field, as Duerson’s last request before shooting himself in the heart was that he wanted his brain to be studied.

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21 Responses to “Financial problems weighed heavily on Dave Duerson”
  1. pervyharvin says: Feb 22, 2011 10:22 AM

    I’m not going to sugar coat crap here. While I find his death sad and tragic, I am detached to his financial problems. Life can be damn hard for all of us and I’m sure he made way more to play with than many of us readers.I’m not sure though how much brain injury played into his problems. That being said, I wouldn’t mind his wife getting an Iranian stoning. Suing him for his SB rings and 1987 NFL Man of the Year trophy makes my blood boil. What a skank…

  2. jw731 says: Feb 22, 2011 10:23 AM

    I respect Mike Ditka, I admire Mike Ditka, but i don’t think Mike Ditka should be talking about another mans marriage as if he lived with them….That to me is “ridiculous”…

  3. prior0knowledge says: Feb 22, 2011 10:37 AM

    The really sad part is: His ex will get her wish now and his rings and trophy will be sold to give that “woman” her blood money.

  4. lasher1650 says: Feb 22, 2011 10:38 AM

    Let me play the role of heartless bad guy here. While I will not be surprised if Duerson’s brain shows a build-up of Tau protein and other tell-tale signs of CTE I remain a bit dubious as to whether DD suffered from the type of clinical depression directly related to CTE that caused guys like Andre Waters to commit suicide. Rather, the unravelling of Duerson’s personal, professional and financial life may well have drove him to the depression to which he felt there was no way out rather than the dark psychosis that those who truly suffer the effects of CTE experience. Moreover, DD seemed overly anxious to excuse his most selfish of acts – committing suicide – on CTE rather than own up to the fact that his own personal actions put him in such a desperate circumstance and he was taking the easy way out.

  5. packattack1967 says: Feb 22, 2011 10:41 AM

    Makes me sad.

  6. nokoolaidcowboy says: Feb 22, 2011 10:43 AM

    Wanting his SB rings was more of an FU from his ex-wife than anything else.

  7. medtxpack says: Feb 22, 2011 11:01 AM

    i knew there had to be a cold hearted woman somewhere in this story. i can only imagine the stress he was under towards the end.

  8. lasher1650 says: Feb 22, 2011 11:29 AM

    For those of you that are attacking DD’s ex-wife, just remember, the reason she is his ex-wife is because DD attacked her . . . physically.

  9. dchuwo says: Feb 22, 2011 11:29 AM

    This is a sad and tragic story, regardless of your personal feelings. I also think it should serve as a wakeup call and reminder to focus on an issue that appears to be second fiddle to future pension, insurance, etc. for retired players: financial planning. If if truly cares about the future of players, the NFLPA should be pushing for an education fund or resource for retired (and current if not already offered) players to get help on money management, if not already offered. When is the last time you heard an agent say he was concerned about his client’s financial well being after football? I think it’s been a while. Give a man a fish you feed him for a day, teach him to fish you feed him for a lifetime.

  10. indyeagle says: Feb 22, 2011 12:04 PM

    Couple of things:

    1) Divorce attorneys are paid to collect by any means necessary. The ex was probably told that Dave was stashing cash and this would be a way to get him to ante up with it.

    2) Dave’s financial problems seem to have nothing to do with his own bad business decisions and everything to do with someone screwing him. See: $33 million unpaid judgement with $17 million in debt.

    If Dave would have been paid, his wife and the banks would have gotten their money.

    I pray for Dave’s family and his soul…

  11. indyeagle says: Feb 22, 2011 12:09 PM

    dchuwo-

    All of these things are not only offered by the NFL and the NFLPA, but rookies are required to learn about all the resources available to them. This includes psychological, financial, drug or alcohol, and marketing help.

    Sadly, the last I heard, only about 45% of the players use the NFL’s resources in these areas.

    If they were actually listening to a financial advisor, they wouldn’t be driving around in a $400,000 depreciating asset!

  12. chazzmon says: Feb 22, 2011 12:22 PM

    80% of all NFL players end up broke 5 years after they retire a very sad statistic. Not having any money before they got there, no clue how to mange it, spending too much on luxury items and getting bad advice or ripped off by so called friends usually leads to their financial ruin. Pension funds unfortunately aren’t enough to help most out from under it.

  13. 11inthebox says: Feb 22, 2011 12:36 PM

    @ lasher1650 who says:
    Moreover, DD seemed overly anxious to excuse his most selfish of acts – committing suicide – on CTE rather than own up to the fact that his own personal actions put him in such a desperate circumstance and he was taking the easy way out.
    ————————————–
    Suicide isn’t a selfish act. I think a more selfish act is committed by those people who devote their entire lives to making other people miserable. I’m sure you know such people.

    So I wouldn’t be so quick to throw that selfish label around—not when we all know plenty of people—mostly in the workplace—who think its their divine right to punish everyone who they think has a “better life.”

  14. pervyharvin says: Feb 22, 2011 1:05 PM

    11inthebox says:Suicide isn’t a selfish act. I think a more selfish act is committed by those people who devote their entire lives to making other people miserable.
    ======================================
    He has 4 children man! If you are a lone wolf maybe it isn’t that selfish. Do you know how parental suicide messes kids up? I don’t care what age they are, they must be dealing with it hard. My opinion is it is very selfish. To live in pain or hardship and deal with it is unselfish.

  15. steelersmichele says: Feb 22, 2011 1:16 PM

    I find it quite sad that a lot of you are bashing his ex-wife for wanting to collect her financial share of their divorce.

    He owed her $70,000 in a divorce settlement. If she was going after his rings, maybe he hadn’t paid her what the courts determined she should receive. What kind of a guy doesn’t pay the person he, in Ditka’s words, was married to and loved?

    Other articles claim he was engaged to get married again, so maybe his ex realized once he had a second wife, the chances of getting her fair share of the divorce settlement diminished.

    Just because she’s a woman (and not a bank or credit card company) doesn’t mean she’s not entitled to her money.

  16. orangeflh says: Feb 22, 2011 1:18 PM

    For God’s sake, just let the man rest.

  17. lasher1650 says: Feb 22, 2011 1:50 PM

    @11inthebox who says:
    Suicide isn’t a selfish act. I think a more selfish act is committed by those people who devote their entire lives to making other people miserable. I’m sure you know such people.

    So I wouldn’t be so quick to throw that selfish label around—not when we all know plenty of people—mostly in the workplace—who think its their divine right to punish everyone who they think has a “better life.”
    ______________________________
    While not wanting to start a major debate here, I do however feel compelled to respond to this notion. Suicide is incredibly selfish. You leave behind friends, family and loved ones who will spend the rest of their lives questioning if they could have done more to help. A courageous individual confronts their issues through therapy, medication, behavior modifcation, etc. If DD suffered from mental illness, exhausted all normal and reasonable means to address the illness and then decided that the world was a place he could no longer live, I would be somewhat sympathetic. Instead, DD’s life became a mess due in large part to his own actions and he took the coward’s way out.

    Sorry 11inthebox, but it sounds like you are in a bad situation at work and that you have decided that those around you that you have deemed out to make you miserable should do you a favor by killing themselves. That my friend, makes you selfish.

  18. 11inthebox says: Feb 22, 2011 3:27 PM

    @lasher1650:

    I agree the fallout from suicide is devastating. I know first hand. That’s why I joined the discussion.

    But you and others rather flippantly state that those who do so are making that decision on a whim or taking the consequences lightly. They aren’t. One has to be in the darkest of places to even contemplate checking out. In fact, once a person gets to that point, logic is no longer in play. They see those left behind (family, friends, even children) as being “better off without them.” People who take their own lives are more than upset or down on their luck. They’re sick.

    But I stand by my original statement. I think there are far more selfish people in the world than those who take their own lives. There are people who make the world a better place and those who make it worse. Those who make it a worse place—and do so purposely—need to go. Sounds harsh. And it is. I just think, more often than not, the wrong people take their own lives.

    I’m sure some others who have had similar experiences, would agree.

  19. hobartbaker says: Feb 22, 2011 3:52 PM

    Unable to sell enough blood to erase the mounting debt, Duerson saw an ad from a brain research company.

  20. bsizemore68 says: Feb 22, 2011 5:44 PM

    Don’t believe everything you read on this site, the people that know the facts aren’t talking, what goes on in a marriage is only know by two people, I feel for his children. Bill

  21. Canyonero says: Feb 22, 2011 7:44 PM

    Taking someone else’s idea here a little further:

    The NFLPA should require 10% of player salary be withheld and stored in a trust fund for the player, with the PA acting as executor. The player won’t be able to access it until 10 years after retirement.

    In the meantime it grows interest, etc. Any NFL player should be able to squeak by on 90% salary, even rookie min.

    Not a perfect idea, but a start in confronting the all-too familiar story of players who wind up broke & hopeless a few years after hanging their cleats..

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