Former Raven Jamal Lewis Joins Ranks Of Retired Athletes In Debt

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(Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)

(Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)

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WJZ general assignment reporter Mike Hellgren came to Maryland's News...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ)—A former Ravens star is in the middle of a financial mess. Jamal Lewis’ bankruptcy case is moving forward.

Mike Hellgren explains Lewis is just the latest in a string of athletes to file for bankruptcy.

Former Raven Jamal Lewis was living the high life–making millions and buying houses and property across the country.

Now, he’s in financial trouble, filing for bankruptcy with assets–according to published reports–that include a fur coat, a trucking business, an amusement park and that championship ring he won here in Baltimore.

He’s reportedly $10.6 million in debt, even owing money to M&T Bank–the name on the stadium where he made his name in the NFL, and where he once said football isn’t only about what’s happening on the field.

“I’ve come to find out I’m not a youngster anymore, that this is really a business,”  Lewis said in a 2006 interview.

Lewis is not alone. The NBA’s Antoine Walker made more than $100 million. He had several Bentleys–but ended up broke–having to sell his championship ring.

Even Baltimore Colts legend Johnny Unitas filed for bankruptcy.

Sports Illustrated estimates that about eight-10 NFL players have financial difficulties two years after they’ve retired.

“Athletes feel immortal.  They feel like they’re going to earn and play forever,” said Steven D. Silverman, of Silverman, Thompson and White.

Silverman represents many, and he’s seen it all.

“We had one client of the firm who retired with $50 million in the bank, and within 10 years had declared bankruptcy,” Silverman said. “There are a lot of shady people that feed on them like piranhas. Before you know it, the money’s out the door. Sometimes investments go wrong. Other times, it’s divorce and child support, or just bad money skills. It’s a lot like a lottery winner. Some people get it, and some people are so hard-headed, they don’t get it.”

As for Lewis, he’ll be in court again for his bankruptcy next month.

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