7:35 AM ET
Close ESPN Staff Writer Covered the Cardinals since 2012 Graduate of Indiana University Member of Pro Football Writers of America
Bobby Wagner sat inside a hotel conference room at the NFL’s 2012 rookie symposium and listened to one horror story after another.
The league’s annual onboarding program for first-year players was still centrally located at the time, so Wagner and a few hundred of his fellow draft picks gathered in Aurora, Ohio, for a four-day orientation that went heavy on the pitfalls of being young, recognizable and suddenly wealthy.
The warnings weren’t subtle.
“The gist of the weekend,” Wagner recalled in a conversation with ESPN, “was don’t trust your agent. Don’t trust your family — they’re going to steal money from you. Don’t trust your financial adviser. Watch out for the women — they’re going to take all your money … so basically go into the league knowing that you can’t trust nobody.”
After hearing an estimate that 80% of NFL players end up broke once they’re retired, Wagner left the event knowing that he’d have to figure out how to be