College football stars will realize dreams when they hear their names called at the NFL Draft next week in Las Vegas.
But that glitz and glamour comes with financial responsibility young men are going to have to learn when they sign rookie contracts.
The No. 1 pick of the draft is projected to get a contract worth around $41.4 million with a signing bonus of about $27.3 million, according to Spotrac.
Crawford Ker, a third-round pick of the Dallas Cowboys in 1985, thrived as a restaurateur after his football career but failed as one during it. He had some advice for players about to enter the NFL, saying one of the things rookies have to be wary about is the emergence of cryptocurrency.
"What I would tell them is I wouldn’t do that," Ker told FOX Business in a recent interview when asked whether he would advise players to get into the crypto world. "What I would do is — if they want to dabble a little bit in it or, in other words, if they want to take 5% and put it into cryptocurrency, that’s fine – or 10%. The major thing with investing is to be very diversified. And that’s a very volatile currency. It’s almost like 10 times more volatile than the Nasdaq or something like that. If you want to build wealth, it has to be very diversified.
"For a lot of these athletes, I’d tell them to be very conservative because, at the end of the day, when the football season is over, a lot of the time the money trail stops. If they’re making $10-20 million a year, as soon as you get out of that league, it’s not a lot of jobs out there that are paying $10-20 million. For every superstar athlete, I think the general public sees these guys as multimillionaires, but it's a 5%, 2%, 1% gain. It’s the 1% actually making the big money to retire. It’s the 1% that have a future outside that in broadcasting or what have you. It’s a limited time."
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With athletes looking to diversify their investments, Ker told FOX Business that getting into the restaurant business is a good idea, but it’s better to do what you’re passionate about.
"Restaurants and you know, again, it’s a 1%. I had lost money in it early, and then it was a wave of success," Ker said. "I spent 20 years in the restaurant business and I cashed out for an eight multiple. But it’s risky. You know, 98% of the people I talked to told me don’t do it. Were they wrong? No, they’re not wrong because it’s very risky. It’s a lot of people. It’s a cash business.
"That’s the million-dollar question: what to do outside of your career. And to be honest with you, it’s really scary. You’ve been doing this football or athletics for a long time. You have to switch gears. So what's your education? What did you study in college? What are you interested in? What's going to be your next passion?
"Some people do nonprofits. Some people get involved in business. But whatever you get involved in it's work. And you have to really study your craft. I would always say go with your passion first. No. 2, go to what you’re good at. If you’re a good public speaker, do public speaking. If you’re good at finance, get into finance. If you love restaurants and food, get into restaurants and foods. But kind of find that passion."
The former NFL player sold the Florida-based Ker’s WingHouse to Third Lake Capital in 2014. The year before the transaction, the Tampa Bay Times reported the company was doing $60 million in sales. Ker opened the first WingHouse in 1994. Ker originally owned another restaurant called The Frat House while he was playing in the NFL. But he was an absentee owner, and the business failed.
Fox Business asked Ker what advice he'd give his younger self.
"I would probably say play football as long as you can. I got out after eight years in football. But I was trying to be a businessman when I was playing football, and you’re not involved," Ker said. "If you don’t have really, really great people around you that you grew up with or really know or are established in a different thing, I would wait until after football to get involved because it’s a long life in retirement."
Ker played for the Cowboys from 1985 to 1990 and spent one season with the Denver Broncos.
Cowboys and crypto
The Cowboys became the first NFL team last week to land a partnership in the world of alternative investments and cryptocurrency. Dallas announced a deal with Blockchain.com for the website to become the exclusive digital asset partner of "America's Team." Blockchain co-founder and CEO Peter Smith spoke at a press conference at The Star in Texas.
Smith, in his initial blog post, called teaming up with the Cowboys and team owner Jerry Jones a "natural fit." He said Blockchain will provide in-game activations as part of the fan experience and will help educate members of the organization and the surrounding community about web3 and finance.
"The reason he got in there is because of income streams," Ker told FOX Business. "Crypto is a new thing, and they’re throwing a lot of money at the ads to get into different things. I think the Cowboys just jumped on it. There’s a lot of money behind this currency, and I don’t think it's going anywhere soon."