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Jax Daily Record Monday, Sep. 19, 201112:00 PM EST

Brunell Chapter 11: Post-NFL, will explore career as medical sales rep


Former Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Mark Brunell is planning for his life after the NFL and after Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization.

Brunell intends to explore a career as a medical sales representative and return to his Ponte Vedra Beach home when he completes his NFL career, probably next year, according to a filing Friday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court.

Lawyers for Brunell, who is playing in a reserve role with the New York Jets and saw time Sunday in the backup quarterback role vs. the Jaguars, said in the filings that he “has little expectation of employment as a professional football player beyond the 2011-12 NFL season.”

The medical sales position carries an estimated potential wage income of about $5,000 a month.

“Mr. Brunell intends to explore that opportunity and various sources of income once his NFL career is over,” according to the second amended

disclosure statement filed with the second amended plan of reorganization in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court Middle District of Florida Jacksonville Division.

“It is always a challenge for a longtime NFL player to transition to a career after football. Mark plans to meet that challenge head-on, but he recognizes that he will have to humbly embrace available options,” said his attorney, Michael Freed, Florida managing partner of the Brennan, Manna & Diamond firm.

“I have no doubt that Mark’s post-NFL future, while it will not likely be lucrative, it will be meaningful and a tremendous benefit to the community,” he said.

The filings show that Brunell estimates income of $960,000 for the 2011-12 NFL season.

Brunell filed for protection under Chapter 11 on June 25, 2010, citing failed business partnerships related to real estate investments. He listed assets of $5.5 million and liabilities of $24.7 million.

Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code is designed to allow debtors to reorganize debts under the protection of the court. While primarily used by businesses, its use has grown by individuals in the Middle District and the Jacksonville Division because of soured real estate investments.

It provides for an automatic stay in which judgments, collection activities, foreclosures and property repossessions are suspended and cannot be pursued by creditors on any claim arising before the filing of the petition, according to court information.

“Now that the disclosure has been finalized, the proceeding should move toward a confirmation hearing,” said Freed, based in Jacksonville.

“It is up to the court to schedule the hearing, but we are hopeful to have the confirmation hearing in October or November,” Freed said.

“Mark is eager to have this situation behind him so that he can continue, without distraction, to be the positive influence that he always has strived to be,” he said.

Brunell, who turned 41 on Saturday, is a Los Angeles native and was a star quarterback at the University of Washington. He was drafted by the Green Bay Packers in 1993 and spent two years with the team before being traded to the Jaguars before the 1995 inaugural season.

A team and community leader, Brunell was widely regarded in Jacksonville for his actions on and off the field, including creating the Brunell Family Foundation to benefit critically ill children and their families.

He was traded to the Washington Redskins in 2004 and played for four seasons, and then joined the New Orleans Saints in 2008 for two seasons. He won a Super Bowl ring with the Saints. He joined the Jets in 2010.

The filings Friday show that Brunell has retained Jacob Brown with Akerman Senterfitt as co-counsel in the Chapter 11 case.

From the time he filed the bankruptcy petition to Aug. 31, Brunell’s gross wages from the Jets totaled $1.59 million. Net wages for the period were $910,627, according to the filing.

Brunell also received $50,000 for the NFL lockout payment, about $69,450 in rental income, $65,427 in income tax refunds, $98,397 in interest income on notes and investments held with his wife and $1,589 in miscellaneous income.

He also has a “reasonable expectation” of receiving future investment income of about $6,500 a month for at least the next year, most from exempt assets, said the filing.

An affidavit from the vice president of Aiti Viiden LLC, a medical device distributor of tools and equipment for doctors and hospitals for use in orthopedic surgeries, said that Brunell would qualify as an entry level sales representative at $60,000 a year.

The amended reorganization plan also shows that Brunell will liquidate assets valued at $390,000 to pay creditors.

Those funds include his wife’s $17,990 purchase, using her personal funds, of his 1991 National College Championship ring, three Rose Bowl rings, two watches relating to the 1991 Rose Bowl and an East-West Shrine Classic and several other items, including a 1998 Jaguars jersey and a 1999 Jaguars game-worn helmet.

According to the filing, Brunell was paid $1.5 million for his contract for the 2010-11 season with the Jets.

On July 31, he signed a contract for 2011-12 and expected to receive a $50,000 signing bonus provided the League Management Council agreed to the contract and $910,000 in salary in weekly or bi-weekly installments,

“Mr. Brunell has worked hard as a football player his entire professional career and has had a very successful career in the National Football League,” said the disclosure statement.

“Unfortunately, a large amount of the money he earned was lost in bad investments, some of which resulted in lawsuits.”

The statement said Brunell expects expenses to be more than his income for the time of the plan. Expenses are more than $38,000 a month, it said.

“Mr. Brunell expects no disposable income,” it said. “His income is expected to greatly diminish once his NFL playing career ends. However, his expenses are expected to remain relatively constant.”

Brunell and his wife agreed in October 2010 for Stockton Real Estate to lease their Ponte Vedra home, which generated more than $11,700 in 2010 and about $51,150 for 2011 through Sept. 8.

They expect to receive continued rental revenues until they return to live in the home. “Mr. Brunell and his family expect to return to the Florida home after the 2011-2012 NFL football season,” said the statement.

According to the Chapter 11 filing, Brunell’s assets include real and personal property, such as his Ponte Vedra Beach home valued at $3.1 million.

Personal property includes checking and savings accounts, furniture, clothing, vehicles, an NFL Player 401(k) plan and belongings that included the rings.

Under Florida law, his home, furnishings and some accounts are exempt from claims from creditors.

At a proceeding in August, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Jerry Funk said the court would enter an order approving an amended disclosure statement provided that Brunell’s lawyers addressed the objections of the U.S. Trustee.

Funk said he would then schedule a hearing to approve that disclosure statement and a confirmation hearing on the reorganization plan.

Brunell was in town in April to support the 19th Annual Club Managers for Kids charity events that included a Celebrity Gala Night of Comedy and a golf tournament.

The Mark Brunell Family Foundation was a sponsor of the event, which benefits the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals and Special Olympics. Circle K Furniture was a title sponsor.

Brunell said then that “this is home to us.”

“Whenever football is over, this will eventually be our home,” he said.

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