Five-time Pro Bowler Andre Rison, whose talent on the football field was often overshadowed by issues off the field, has been sentenced to five years of probation for failure to pay child support.
Rison has also been ordered to pay more than $300,000 in restitution for child support he didn’t pay in the past, although it’s not clear whether he’ll ever come up with that money: Rison has said that he blew all the millions he made in the NFL and is one of the subjects of an upcoming documentary called Broke about the lives of penniless former pro athletes.
A 1989 first-round draft pick of the Colts, Rison was traded to Atlanta a year later as part of the deal that allowed the Colts to draft Jeff George first overall in 1990. Rison made the Pro Bowl in each of his first four seasons with the Falcons, but left in 1995 to sign a five-year, $17 million contract with the Browns that at the time was the most lucrative for a wide receiver in NFL history. However, his 1995 season in Cleveland was a disappointment, and the Browns let him leave for the expansion Jaguars in 1996. After just 10 games with the Jaguars, Rison was waived and went to Green Bay for the end of the season, helping the Packers win the Super Bowl. The following year he signed with the Chiefs and had another Pro Bowl season in 1997, but his production declined sharply in 1998 and 1999 in Kansas City. He played for the Raiders, his seventh and final NFL team, in 2000. After his NFL career ended he went to Canada and spent some time with the Toronto Argonauts.
Rison recently went back to school at Michigan State, where he was an All-American receiver and is 30 credits short of his degree. He will work with the Spartans’ football team as a student assistant.