‘Obviously, He Had Been Spoiled’: Vince Young Spent $5K a Week At Cheesecake Factory, Bought Every Seat on Southwest Flight to Avoid Passengers | Became a Cautionary Tale for Young Athletes

Vince Young will forever be known as the quarterback who wasn’t quite a bust but never reached his full potential in the pro ranks. It looks like a combination of bad financial management, indulgent spending, and The Cheesecake Factory derailed the financial ability of one of the best quarterback prospects ever to grace the gridiron.

The 2006 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year and two-time Pro Bowl QB went from a Tennessee Titans staple to a journeyman QB who eventually fizzled out of the league. In an era where the Black quarterback is more prominent than ever, many are wondering whatever happened to Young, who had the potential to be the next Jalen Hurts or even Patrick Mahomes.

However, Norm Chow, Tennessee’s offensive coordinator at the time, found Young to be “immature.”

“Obviously, he had been spoiled,” Chow says to Sports Illustrated. “He wasn’t willing to put in that extra study that sets quarterbacks apart. He didn’t lean on Kerry. He wasn’t a bad guy—heck, he was 23 years old. He was . . . pampered, coddled, whatever word you want to use.”

Plight of the Plundered

In the end, injuries stopped his momentum, and financial blunders stopped him from prospering.

Young’s love for The Cheesecake Factory caused him to spend a lot of money there frequently, and he even spent $15,000 in one sitting at the restaurant. “Most I ever spent on a meal in my life,” Young said to Sports Illustrated in 2017, adding that his teammates drank expensive shots of Louis XIII cognac or left with top-shelf wine bottles in hand.

Young’s insane spending didn’t stop there, in 2007 he reportedly bought every seat on a Southwest Airlines just to avoid sitting next to other passengers.

He eventually filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, even though he earned $35 million from his NFL tenure, endorsements, and other revenues. By 2014, he listed his assets between $500,001 and $1 million, while his debt was between $1,001,000 and $10 million.

Admittedly, he did not dial in his finances while playing and left an adviser and an uncle he hired as his manager as stewards of his accounts.

He combed through thousands of financial records with his lawyer and found forged signatures on numerous documents authorizing loans, reportedly without Young’s knowledge. Egregiously, in one incident, $600,000 of his money went toward a business started by a Hollywood actor to a production company he had never heard of. His generosity was also out of bounds and left unchecked. He purchased two cars for one relative, built a house for his mom in Houston, and purchased multiple vehicles.

Move With Caution

Young is another cautionary tale of a football player who was too trusting with his money to family members, spent too lavishly as if it wouldn’t end, and had poor financial management skills.

When the Tennessee Titans drafted Young in 2006, he launched into NFL superstardom, becoming the first-ever rookie quarterback to rush for over 500 yards, per Bleacher Report.

He ultimately led the Titans to an 8-8 finish record after starting 0-5 and having an abysmal 2005 season record of 4–12. Still, Young missed the playoffs in his rookie year and the Titans for their third consecutive season.

Ultimately, Vince Young would finish his Titans career with a 30–17 record (63.8 percent) over five years when he was not brought back by the team for the 2011 season.

Injuries plagued him, and he began a journeyman’s path through the NFL, making quick pit stops with the Philadelphia Eagles (2011), Buffalo Bills (2012), Green Bay Packers (2013), and Cleveland Browns (2014).

His last stop as a professional athlete was in 2017 as a backup QB for the Saskatchewan Roughriders, a Canadian team. The 2006 Rose Bowl winner who is a legend at the University of Texas is a study in being ahead of your time, the casualties of injury, and why staying on top of your finances is critical as an athlete.

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