Prior to breaking into the limelight as one of Hollywood’s popular actors, Terry Crews had a 5-year stint in the National Football League. The 55-year-old was drafted by the Los Angeles Rams in the 1991 NFL Draft and also played for other teams including the San Diego Chargers, the Washington Redskins (now known as the Commanders), and the Philadelphia Eagles.
Although some NFL players have amassed wealth from playing in the league, Crews recently revealed that wasn’t the case for him. In an interview on Dax Shepard’s “Armchair Expert” podcast, the actor said being on the Green Bay Packer’s practice roster in 1993 saw him earning only $150 weekly during a 6-month period, CNBC Make It reported.
“I would have made more money at McDonald’s,” said Crews. “That’s the reality.” Wisconsin’s hourly minimum wage in that year was said to be $4.25 – which was the same amount federally. That meant any person working at a fast food restaurant would have been paid $170 for a 40-hour weekly shift.
In order to make extra money to cushion his finances, The Expendables actor said he offered to paint pictures of his former teammates for a fee. “When I got cut [from a team, I’d] go back in the locker room and ask the players if they wanted their portraits painted,” he recalled, adding that he charged about $5,000 for his services.
Crews, however, told CNBC Make It in 2018 that he continued facing financial challenges after his retirement from the NFL. He said a former teammate used to lend him money after he relocated to Los Angeles with the hopes of becoming an actor.
He, however, said he ended up working as a factory floor sweeper after his ex-teammate stopped assisting him financially. Crews also said he was paid $8 an hour at the time, adding that he was eventually employed as a security guard for movie and television studios. And though he was paid $12 per hour, that job helped him break into the entertainment industry.
“I have more money now than I ever had in my entire life … because people understand equity and honor,” Crews said. “People make money, but if they don’t have any equity or honor, it all falls away — and that sounds real existential or spiritual, but it’s for real.”