Former NFL star WR Chad Johnson says he saved money by living inside Cincinnati Bengals stadium for the first two years of his career.
The admission came while chatting on the “Club Shay Shay” podcast with host and NFL Hall of Famer Shannon Sharpe.
Johnson spent 11 seasons in the NFL and 10 of those were with the Bengals. He was very productive throughout his career, making six Pro-Bowl teams. Cincinnati selected him in the second round of the 2001 NFL draft.
“What’s the point? Why are you telling me to go rent a house, go buy a house, or go rent a condo when everything I need is right here in the facility?” he added. “Showers, cafeteria, TV, couch, gaming system. What’s the point? I was so locked in. It wasn’t about having my own space.”
Johnson went on to explain how this grounded approach helped to lay the foundation for his successful career, saying he needed that first year to get up to speed with the rest of the NFL, and then got into a “rhythm” in his second season.
He told Sharpe on the podcast that coach Marvin Lewis eventually convinced him to move out of the stadium and get his own place, but that he never bought expensive jewelry or got caught up in spending money unwisely, like other NFL players sometimes do.
Johnson had a $301,000 base salary for his rookie season with a $1.436 million signing bonus. During his second year with the Bengals, he made $376,250.
Over the course of his 11-year NFL career, Johnson made nearly $49 million.
Former NFL star WR Chad Johnson. Photo courtsey of Las Vegas Review-Journal