You may know him from watching Fox Sports, or perhaps you caught a commercial where he was featured. If you were a fan of football in the 1980s, you must have seen him on the field playing for the Oakland Raiders. With a resume spanning different careers, it is no wonder that Howie Long’s net worth stands at $16 million. The 61-year-old thought he would become an electrician or a police officer like his uncle John but being a truant led him down the path of football. Here’s more regarding how he achieved his wealth.
Long has always been big; even as a child and at nine years, he weighed 120 pounds. However, his physique did not help with his confidence. He was always scared of failure and humiliation, and when other kids picked on him, he could not defend himself. His cousin tried urging him to fight back, but the scared little boy never could. To this day, Long recalls such memories with bitterness, especially because back at home, there was no one he could depend on because they were all busy with their own lives. His mother suffered from epilepsy and was bedridden most of the time; his father worked at a dairy and spent nearly every waking minute fending for the family. Since they all lived with Long’s grandmother, she was the only one left to care for the young boy until he was nine when they moved out.
No one would cook at his house, and he kept going to his grandmother’s for a meal. When Long was eleven, his parents separated, and they divorced a year later, with Long’s mother being awarded custody. The boy would have preferred to be with his father, but he worked irregular hours and didn’t have a place to live. With no one to look out for him, Long learned to look out for himself. Although he was a street kid, he never abused drugs despite them being readily available. Instead, he cut school to work. According to SI, he worked at a pet store unloading fish tanks for $10. By the time he was 13, his uncle had got him a job at a bar as a sweeper. At 14, truancy had become the norm, yet he was supposed to be concentrating on his high school sophomore year. When he missed 45 days consecutive, and no vocational school could accept him, the family had a meeting wondering what to do for the boy who was wasting his life.
Football Becomes the Way Out
After exploring all options, the family decided to have Long be taken in by his uncle Billy who was once in the military. Uncle Billy agreed to look after the teenager so long as Long followed the house rules. Long enrolled at the Milford High School Massachusetts. Standing at 6’3″ and weighing 235 pounds, the high school coach Dick Corbin immediately noticed the newcomer and asked Long to try out for the football team. He became obsessed with football so much that even when he broke his ankle in the second game, he felt his life was over. The doctor asked him to rest for at least four weeks, but Long was back in the field after three days, limping and determined to make something of his second chance. By the time he was a senior, major schools were looking to recruit him, and once again, his fear started crippling him.
He wondered what would happen if he could not play and when Boston College said he would lose his scholarship if he ever got hurt, Long went to Villanova instead, where they offered him a four-year scholarship. According to Los Angeles Times, he joined the Raiders in 1981 as a No.2 pick and became the only second Raiders defensive lineman to ever play in a Pro Bowl. By 1988, he was earning $700,000 per season, but the Raiders signed a 7-year extension which was speculated to make him a top-earning linesman. In 1993, he wanted to renegotiate his contract. The contract he had signed in 1988 got him $8.33 million and would run until 1996. He said it was a lifetime contract, but they did not think he would live long enough to renegotiate. Long wanted to have his base salary adjusted and ended up being fined $100,000 ̶ $4,000 daily for the 25-day holdout. However, later he said that concessions had been made.
Acting and Broadcasting
Long never took up any acting classes, but he was a natural in front of the cameras. That is why even if his character in John Woo’s “Broken Arrow” was to die at the beginning of the film, he dies at the end. According to a 1998 interview with the Washington Post, he said he was fine financially and would not be cast in any roles unless they were good. With “Broken Arrow” earning John Travolta $7 million, it is safe to say that the debut role for Long also got him perhaps a million, and the subsequent castings catapulted his net worth. Besides acting, he also got a job as a sportscaster after retiring from football. It is estimated that his annual earnings from his job are at $4 million, quite a large sum for a person who in 2017 said he could not afford to live in Charlestown anymore unless he played for two years in the NFL.
In 2016, Sketchers signed Long to a multi-year spokesman relationship. According to Sourcing Journal, the athlete would appear in a campaign promoting the brand collection of men’s footwear, and the agreement would expire in 2018. It was not revealed how much the deal was worth, but it has to be worth millions. Years earlier, in 2004, General Motors had signed Long to a three-year endorsement contract to act as the Chevrolet Trucks spokesman. He also became a brand ambassador for Pizza Hut, Nike, Coca-Cola, and many other companies. Such deals rake in millions. Professional athletes like Peyton Manning, Russell Wilson, Drew Brees, and Cam Newton make at least $10 million annually from multiple endorsement deals.