One symptom of broke athletes: Rings on sale

Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky
I just read a superb, informative article by Pablo S. Torre in this week's Sports Illustrated about how professional athletes manage to go broke, and it included this alarming NFL nugget:

By the time they have been retired for two years, 78% of former NFL players have gone bankrupt or are under financial stress because of joblessness or divorce.

One of the things Torre looks at in the story is the 400 championship rings pawned by anonymous athletes to championship-rings.net.

Some of the rings on sale there, however, may not symbolize an athlete who's hit hard times. The older rings could well have belonged to athletes who are deceased could be being sold by their families -- who may have fallen on hard times, or may simply be unsentimental.

I wondered if I'd find any ties to the AFC South there and I came across four rings connected to the division. Two are salesman's samples: a 1958 Baltimore Colts championship ring priced at $4,995 and a 1970 Colts Super Bowl V Champion ring that's out of stock.

The other two that could have come from players:

A 1960 Houston Oilers AFL Championship ring listed at $4,995.

A 1961 Houston Oilers AFL Championship ring that's rated as "extremely rare" and is out of stock.