by Karen Brune Mathis
Former Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Mark Brunell, who now plays for the New York Jets, is expected to file a plan of reorganization in his Chapter 11 bankruptcy petition in about a month.
Attorney Robert Wilcox with Brennan, Manna & Diamond said the plan could not be filed until Brunell knew whether or not he would be on the Jets opening-day roster.
Brunell said in a creditors’ meeting recently that he would earn $1.5 million this year if he made the team, which he did.
Brunell, who owns a home in Ponte Vedra Beach, filed for protection under Chapter 11 on June 25 in U.S Bankruptcy Court in Jacksonville. He listed assets of $5.5 million and liabilities of $24.7 million.
The majority of the liabilities are related to real estate and business investments and Brunell’s personal guaranty on real estate debt, including debt incurred with partnerships that involved former Jaguars teammates Joel Smeenge and Todd Fordham.
Wilcox said creditors are filing claims for the amounts they believe they are owed, which is expected. He said Brunell is making payments on his secured debts, such as his house, which he must do in order to maintain possession of the property, which serves as collateral.
Wilcox said Brunell was abandoning his interest in certain property where he has no equity, such as an unimproved building lot in Texas. With no equity in the property, Wilcox said the secured creditor will take back the property.
“We are also negotiating with key creditors at this time,” he said.
Brunell turns 40 on Friday. The Jets opened their season Monday at the New Meadowlands Stadium.
Brunell 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 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, then joined the New Orleans Saints in 2008 for two seasons. He won a Super Bowl ring with the Saints this year.
The Jets signed Brunell to a two-year contract in July, a month after he filed for Chapter 11 reorganization.
Chapter 11 typically is used by corporations, although individuals with higher levels of assets and liabilities may file under the chapter.