By the mid-1990s, Andre Rison was considered one of the best receivers in the NFL.
In fact, as he was being selected for five Pro Bowls, Rison’s reception numbers were on par, or better, than San Francisco receiver Jerry Rice.
— Atlanta Falcons (@atlantabirdgang) December 11, 2014
The comparisons to Rice were apt considering Rison wanted his career to far surpass that of the 49ers great.
Unfortunately, even after winning a Super Bowl ring with Green Bay in 1996, Rison’s career started to wane by the late 90s.
There were also character and off-the-field issues that Rison brought on himself including a much-publicized dispute with his rapper girlfriend.
Those issues marred Rison’s name and he was labeled a malcontent by most NFL franchises.
A late-career resurgence with the Kansas City Chiefs helped restore his name, somewhat, and Rison even won a second world title in the CFL before retiring.
Since then, the former receiver has devoted his time to coaching and developing the skills of future pass-catchers.
This is the story of Andre “Bad Moon” Rison.
Andre Previn Rison was born on March 18, 1967, in Flint, Michigan.
Happy birthday to former #Falcons WR Andre Rison (56)! The former #Colts 1st rd. pick tore it up in Atlanta, earning 4x Pro Bowls, 1x 1st Team & 3x 2nd Team All-Pro Honors while there. He was immortalized in #TecmoSuperBowl after his 1st Pro Bowl in '90. Happy birthday Andre! pic.twitter.com/NCtFFonnwp
— SBlueman (@SBluemanTecmo) March 18, 2023
Although he lived with his mother in her parent’s home for several years, Rison was determined even at a young age to succeed.
“I didn’t have any material things,” said Rison in 1990. “I used to spend my time rippin’, runnin’, and havin’ fun.”
He immersed himself in youth sports and recognized his skills were better than most of the kids he competed against.
It was then that Rison knew what his future would entail.
“The Lord put me on earth to go pro,” Rison would tell his mother, Merdice.
When Merdice was unable to buy her son new school clothes or get credit for new housing, Andre reassured her that he would someday provide for her.
Soon enough, Rison was known for his immense talent as well as his big mouth.
Frequently, he would jaw with opponents who couldn’t keep up with him and that confidence was encouraged by Merdice.
However, Rison later acknowledged that his trash-talking long hid insecurity.
“I realized at a young age if I didn’t stick up for myself, then I’d fall through the cracks with everybody else,” he said. “I wouldn’t get noticed. I had to talk myself up to believe I could achieve something in life. Somebody had to believe in me. Somebody had to say it out loud.”
Multi-Sport Star at Flint Northwestern
As soon as he arrived at Flint Northwestern High School, Rison began building his sports legacy.
During his time at Northwestern, Rison showcased his ability on the gridiron as well as the basketball court.
On the hardwood, Rison flew through defenders and scored buckets along with dishing to teammates Glen Rice and Jeff Grayer.
Glen rice, Jeff grayer & Andre rison pic.twitter.com/JLe72Eochd
— Scott Hale (@Halestormsports) March 20, 2016
Both Grayer and Rice would become first-round draft picks in the NBA.
In Rison’s final two seasons with the basketball team, the Wildcats went a combined 55-1 and won the state championship both years.
Rison was twice decorated as an All-State selection and he ended his prep hoops career with a program-record 636 assists.
As if that wasn’t impressive enough, Rison played corner, safety, tight end, kicker, punter, receiver, quarterback, and running back for the Wildcats football team.
When his junior year concluded, Rison was named an All-State punter.
Then, a year later, he was named All-State as a defensive back.
His gifts as an athlete brought Rison attention from numerous big-name college programs.
Wanting to stay closer to home, he eventually took a scholarship offer from Michigan State University when the Spartans coaches promised he could play football and basketball.
Rison Makes a Name for Himself
In high school, Rison had primarily thrived as a defensive back.
Before heading to East Lansing, Michigan, however, Merdice encouraged her son to play receiver.
“Basketball was Andre’s first love,” said Merdice, “but he needed to look at the odds of where he could have the best career. He’s not tall enough for the NBA [Rison never grew past 6’0], and he wouldn’t be happy playing defensive back. Andre likes the glory. He needs to hear the crowd cheer, “Rah, rah, rah.’ He thrives on touching the ball.”
Rison got playing time on both the MSU basketball and football teams as a freshman in 1985.
Andre Rison at Michigan State pic.twitter.com/DhpXcm70JW
— Look at you (@HappyIsWack2me) July 19, 2023
On the gridiron, he played in the same lineup as future NFL receiver Mark Ingram and caught 19 passes for 280 yards and two touchdowns.
He then joined the hoops team as a reserve and saw action in just six games.
Not long after the season, Rison quit playing basketball and joined the Spartans track team.
That spring he competed in the long jump and took second in the event at the Big Ten indoor championships.
In 1986, MSU had a disappointing 6-5 record.
That didn’t stop Rison as he became a starter and collected 54 passes for 966 yards and five touchdowns and was added to the first-team All-Big Ten list.
His reception and yards totals set Spartans single-season records.
Difficult Junior Year
In 1987, Coach George Perles’ MSU squad went 9-2-1 and defeated USC in the Rose Bowl game.
The 1987 Big Ten Champion Michigan State Spartans, led by #1 Andre Rison, #34 Lorenzo White, #48 Percy Snow, and #79 Tony Mandarich pic.twitter.com/DS5Bu7J1lC
— 80s/90s College Football (@Stephen49090103) April 18, 2020
As effective as he was in 1986, Rison wasn’t used much the following year.
Perles leaned heavily on his ground game, led by senior running back Lorenzo White.
For long stretches of games, White ran behind mammoth tackle Tony Mandarich and the passing game took a backseat.
Rison didn’t see the ball during some contests and ended his junior year with 34 catches for 785 yards and five touchdowns.
“I didn’t know what the coaches expected from me,” Rison said in 1990. “When I was recruited, they said they’d throw to me. All I wanted was a chance to express myself on the field. The experience was something I had to grow through, a time for me to grow up.”
That same year, Rison married his long-time girlfriend, Tonja, and the couple gave birth to a son, Andre Jr., while Rison was in Pasadena, California, preparing for the Rose Bowl.
During the game, he caught two passes for 91 yards.
Rison then returned to the hardwood and started two games and played in 18, finishing the year with averages of 1.3 points and 2.3 assists per contest.
With White gone to the NFL, the Spartans’ passing game picked up in 1988.
Rison was targeted more often and ended his senior year with 39 catches for 961 yards and a career-high eight touchdowns.
• On this date in 1988, Andre Rison's 57-yard touchdown reception in a 36-3 victory over Northwestern made his @MSU_Football 's all-time receptions leader. @AndreRisonPro @NHS_Principal pic.twitter.com/8Xw2crzwba
— Mike Pearson (@Spartifacts2022) October 16, 2020
He would then be selected as an All-American and first-team All-Big Ten.
Meanwhile, MSU went 6-5-1 and met the Georgia Bulldogs in the Gator Bowl.
Although the Spartans lost, 34-27, Rison had a huge day with nine receptions for 252 yards and three touchdowns.
His performance led to a co-MVP honor.
When he wasn’t on the field or in the classroom, Rison was home in Flint with his wife and son. For most of his final two years in East Lansing, Rison went back and forth between school and home to be near Andre Jr. as much as possible.
“Few people at Michigan State ever knew I was married,” he said. “For two years, I’d go to school, practice and then drive home to Flint to be with my wife and son. I was physically and mentally tired. When I didn’t get home as much to see them my senior year, my family life went into turmoil.”
Rison ended his time as a collegian with 146 receptions for 2,992 yards and 20 touchdowns.
— Retro Sports (@RetroSports411) July 16, 2017
His receptions and yardage total, along with 11 100-yard receiving games, was the best in program history.
In 2015, Rison was inducted into the MSU Athletics Hall of Fame.
Many of his stats are still in the top five in Spartans’ history.
1989 NFL Draft
Based on his overall performance in college, Rison was sure he would be selected in the first round of the 1989 NFL Draft.
UCLA quarterback Troy Aikman was taken first followed by Rison’s MSU teammate, Mandarich, to Green Bay.
He was the second receiver selected after Hart Lee Dykes went to New England at 16.
“I was the best athlete in that entire draft,” Rison said. “How the hell could Tony Mandarich have been a better athlete?”
Tonja and Andre Jr. moved with Rison to Indy and the rookie started 13 games for the Colts.
As the team went 8-8, Rison caught 52 passes for 820 yards and four touchdowns and was named to the PFWA All-Rookie Team.
— 𝐖𝐢𝐥𝐥𝐢𝐚𝐦 𝐂𝐨𝐬𝐥𝐨𝐬𝐤𝐲 (@WilliamCoslosky) November 17, 2022
The more he was in the public eye, the more fame and fortune went to Rison’s head.
His marriage to Tonja deteriorated and the couple divorced in 1990.
“The prestige of being an NFL player put pressure on the marriage,” said Rison. “Lots of money. Attention. I didn’t tend to my values. The Lord has life patterns for us, I guess.”
Trade to Atlanta
Rison had only been with Indianapolis for a year when rumors of a trade involving him surfaced days before the 1990 NFL Draft.
A cousin phoned the receiver and told Rison that he had heard the Colts were going to trade him to the Atlanta Falcons.
Rison scoffed at the idea.
“No way, man,” Rison said. “I was a first-round pick. I’ll be here the rest of my career.”
And then he wasn’t.
In late April of ‘90, Indy traded Rison, tackle Chris Hinton, and draft picks to the Falcons in exchange for Atlanta’s first and fourth-round picks that year.
Happy bday Andre "Bad Moon" Rison! After a rookie season with the Colts, Rison joined the Falcons in 1990 & had a hell of a career there. He scored double-digit TDs in each of next 4 seasons, leading league with 15 in 1993. Finished career over 10,000 yards and 84 TDs. pic.twitter.com/RTfLfOfmEU
— Scott F (@TheFrizz87) March 18, 2019
Indianapolis used the pick to select University of Illinois quarterback Jeff George.
At first, the prospect of playing for a team that had gone 3-13 the year before didn’t excite Rison.
His feelings changed when he met new Atlanta coach Jerry Glanville who believed that the forward pass should be used in excess.
Rison was part of Glanville’s Red Gun offense and played alongside fellow receiver Michael Haynes.
Deion Sanders was also part of the organization and had already become one of the NFL’s premier shutdown corners in just his second year.
The Falcons only won five games in 1990, but fans were delighted in watching Primetime (Sanders) and Showtime (Rison) strut their stuff.
He received another nickname when ESPN anchor Chris Berman called him “Bad Moon” Rison after the Creedence Clearwater Revival song, “Bad Moon Rising.”
— Ivan Johnson Jr. Jr. • F.I.L.A. (@jordan23atl) April 17, 2022
Throughout the season, Rison and San Francisco star receiver Jerry Rice went neck-and-neck for most receptions in the league.
Rice eventually took the title with 100 catches, but Rison finished second with 82 for 1,208 yards and 10 scores.
He was also selected as a first-team All-Pro and voted to his first Pro Bowl.
Catching Passes in Bunches
Late in the 1990 season, Rison addressed the media concerning his thoughts about Rice.
“Going into this year, I read in a magazine that I was the 28th-rated receiver in the NFL,” said Rison. “That hurt. No receiver that came out in my draft can touch me. Look, I’m not going to compare myself to Jerry Rice. He’s a Hall of Famer, but I want to do what he’s done-and more.”
For his part, Rice was complimentary in his assessment of Rison.
“What I like is his concentration,” said Rice. “He can be stuck in a crowd over the middle, with people all around him, and he still puts his hand on the ball.”
In 1991, the Falcons shocked the world when the team went 10-6 and qualified for a postseason spot for the first time since 1982.
Throughout the year, it was a party time in Atlanta as celebrities such as boxer Evander Holyfield and rapper M.C. Hammer frequented the sidelines.
The 1991 Falcons chose M.C. Hammer’s “2 Legit 2 Quit” as their team anthem; Deion Sanders and Andre Rison appeared in the song's video. pic.twitter.com/wvbJ4gzPN6
— Mental Floss (@mental_floss) February 6, 2017
During games, Rison and Sanders talked a big game and backed it up.
The two had become fast friends and enjoyed playing off each other.
“Andre’s mouth goes 120 miles per hour,” said Hinton. “In the huddle, it’s a wonder any quarterback can get a word in edgewise. Andre says, ‘I want the ball. Throw it to me. I can score.’ Then, after the snap, I’ve got to hurry downfield to protect him from the other guys [opponents] he talks to.”
Rison backed up his sass and then some in 1991.
He finished sixth in the NFL with 81 receptions, but Rice finished behind him with 80.
— Max Rockatansky (@rockatansky34) April 21, 2014
Whenever he scored (12 times in ‘91), Rison would break into a dance he called The Highlight Zone.
Atlanta fans were then treated in the playoffs when the Falcons beat division rival New Orleans in the Wild Card game.
That represented the team’s first postseason victory since 1978.
Unfortunately, the party ended one week later when the Washington Redskins eliminated the Falcons in the Divisional round.
One of the NFL’s Best
For the next three years, the Falcons had a good team on paper but underperformed and averaged six wins per season.
Glanville was fired after 1993 and replaced by his offensive coordinator, June Jones.
Rison continued his quest to be the best receiver in football and had a career-high 93 receptions (second in the NFL behind Sterling Sharpe) in 1992 followed by 86 catches in 1993 (fifth in the league).
Andre Rison wearing the Falcons sweet 70s throwbacks. They had so many great past uniforms to use for their new uniforms but instead choose the horrific "ATL" uniforms. 😞 pic.twitter.com/JmyPibQOXK
— FB_Helmet_Guy (@FB_Helmet_Guy) May 10, 2021
He was also the NFL co-leader in receiving touchdowns in 1993 with 15.
Furthermore, Rison led the NFL in receptions through his first four seasons (1992) and his first five seasons (1993).
His stats brought him more Pro Bowl nods, marking four straight all-star contests in a row.
“Left Eye” Torches Rison’s Home
When Rison first met Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes of the rap group TLC, it was love at first sight.
“She walked in and I said, ‘You know what? I’ll take that one right there,’” said the former Atlanta Falcons star about Lopes. “I was deeply in love. It was dope. She came by the house and pretty much never left.”
The duo may have been in love, but they also had terrible disagreements.
In September 1993, Rison was arrested outside of a grocery store when he fired a gun near people who tried to intervene when he began hitting Lopes.
“All I was doing was defending myself,” Rison said. “It was a matter of a situation where I thought I might be hindered or harmed, and I protected myself.”
He was later freed on bond.
Then, in June 1994, Rison and Lopes got into a fight at Rison’s Atlanta home and he left.
Soon after, Lopes collected all of Rison’s shoes, put them in a bathtub, and lit the shoes on fire.
It didn’t take long before the fire spread and engulfed Rison’s house.
— Today In GA History (@2DayInGAHistory) June 9, 2019
After turning herself in, Lopes was charged with arson and ordered to serve five years probation and pay a $10,000 fine.
Regardless of the incidents, the couple stayed together until 2001.
Sadly, Lopes died in a car crash in Honduras in 2002.
Rison v. Sanders
In 1994, Deion Sanders left Atlanta to chase a championship and signed with San Francisco.
(Coincidently, that was the same year Jeff George was traded to the Falcons).
OTD 1994: Deion's Return to ATL
After 5 seasons as a Falcon, Deion Sanders migrated to the SF via free agency in 1994. In his first return trip to Atlanta, Deion:
• Scraps with former teammate Andre Rison
• Takes an INT 93 yards to the house, his longest career INT return pic.twitter.com/ms8R4mtcCT
— Kevin Gallagher (@KevG163) October 16, 2018
Before facing his former teammate during a Week 7 tilt in 1994, Sanders threw down the gauntlet to Rison.
“If it’s possible I would love everyone else to get off the field so we can just go at it one on one,” Sanders said.
That prompted Rison to retort.
“I never said anything derogatory towards Deion, and if he has a personal vendetta against me or a problem with me, the hell with him. If he wants to go one on one, we can go one on one all g*dd*mn day,” Rison responded.
The pre-game hype turned out to be all one-sided.
At one point during the game, Sanders delivered a number of punches to Rison as they were locked together.
— OurSF49ers (@OurSf49ers_) May 29, 2020
Later, Sanders intercepted George and took the ball 93 yards for a touchdown, high-stepping and jawing at his former Falcons teammates along the way.
San Francisco and Sanders got the best of the Falcons that day with a 42-3 thrashing.
Afterward, the two made up and embraced.
Crash and Burn in Cleveland
Despite Rison losing the battle with Sanders in Week 7, the receiver still pulled in 81 passes for 1,008 yards and eight touchdowns in 1994.
In the offseason, Falcons owner Rankin Smith decided not to keep Rison, something he remained bitter about for years.
“Unfortunately, the Smiths didn’t do what they should’ve done —- make me a forever Falcon,” Rison said in 2009. “I don’t appreciate how my name has been handled with the Falcons. Sometimes I used to feel like I got the short end of the stick.”
Atlanta’s loss was the Cleveland Browns gain and the franchise signed Rison for five years and $17 million, making him the highest paid receiver in the NFL.
“I’m going to an organization that’s treating me with respect for the first time in my career,” Rison said. “I truly feel appreciated. Dawg Pound, here I come.”
In 1994, the Browns had gone to the playoffs under fourth-year head coach Bill Belichick and lost in the Divisional round.
March 24, 1995: Bad Moon Rison🏈
How's this for a pic to start your Thursday😂? Perhaps the most villainous duo in #Browns history…CLE owner Art Modell signs FA Andre Rison to 5yr/$17M deal-highest for a WR in #NFL history. $5M signing bonus not paid in lump sum…😉#BadMoons pic.twitter.com/kjVdtHp11u
— Mr. Cleveland (@MrCleveland_216) March 24, 2022
In an effort to get to the Super Bowl, Rison was seen as a huge signing that would get the Browns to the top.
Unfortunately, Cleveland failed to live up to expectations in 1995.
It didn’t help that team owner Art Modell announced during the season that he was moving the franchise to Baltimore.
Once that happened, the bottom fell out and the Browns, and Rison, were met by boos from the Cleveland faithful.
While Rison was in the midst of a 47-catch, three-touchdown season, things came to a head in mid-November during a loss to Green Bay.
The Browns were losing their sixth game in eight weeks to the Packers and the home crowd didn’t appreciate the team’s lack of effort.
Nov 19, 1995: After the announced move to Baltimore, @Browns fans booed at home and WR Andre Rison said, "We didn't make the ___ move. So, for all the booers, ___ you too. I'll be glad when we get to Baltimore, if that's the case. Baltimore's our home. Baltimore, here we come." pic.twitter.com/Q3VEsXskuc
— Sad CLE Sports (@SadCleveland) November 19, 2017
As the fans rained down boos, Rison lashed back in the media.
“We didn’t make the f****** move,” said Rison after the loss. “So, for all the booers, f*** you too. I’ll be glad when we get to Baltimore if that’s the case. We don’t have any home-field advantage. I’ve never been booed at home. Baltimore’s our home. Baltimore, here we come.”
Rison never got the chance to move to Baltimore.
He was released by the Browns after 1995 and signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Rison Goes to a Super Bowl with Green Bay
Eleven games into his tenure with Jacksonville and Rison was already having serious problems.
At that point, he had 34 receptions and two scores and the Jags were 4-6.
— NFL (@NFLsportsgroup) January 27, 2016
During a game against Pittsburgh in Week 12, Rison and quarterback Mark Brunell miscommunicated on a pass that was picked off.
The two players yelled at each other on the sideline.
Two days later, Rison was released.
Jacksonville told the press it was for a salary cap move, but many suspected Rison’s release was due to his toxic locker room behavior and being consistently late for team meetings.
“Most of you who know me know that I like him,” Jags head coach Tom Coughlin said. “We’ve had our differences and worked them out, but in the position that I’m in, looking at performance is all I can evaluate.”
The day after he was released, the Green Bay Packers signed Rison and inserted him into the lineup.
With future Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre (a former Atlanta teammate of Rison’s during the 1991 season) throwing him the ball, Rison finished out the 1996 season with 13 catches, 135 yards, and one touchdown in four starts.
Today in 1997: Packers topple 49ers, 35-14, at muddy Lambeau Field to advance to second-straight NFC title game. Desmond Howard's 71-yard punt return TD opens the scoring, while a 46-yarder moments later sets up Brett Favre's four-yard TD toss to Andre Rison. pic.twitter.com/OhKv2vXV4o
— Packers History (@HistoricPackers) January 4, 2022
Packers teammates were concerned about “Bad Moon’s” signing initially but warmed to the receiver.
“You had heard all of this stuff about him,” tight end Keith Jackson recalled in 2006. “Bad Moon Rison, how he used to do this and how is he going to conform. But I learned a life lesson. I learned if you really are unwavering in a commitment to one another, a person on the outside will come in and they will become a part of the group instead of pull someone out of the group.”
Rison also insisted he did what he was told while in Green Bay.
“I was always a perfect gentleman,” Rison claimed. “Writers write what they write. Teammates don’t write the articles. That was a great case of that right there.”
Super Bowl XXXI
Green Bay went 13-3 in ‘96 and advanced to play the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XXXI.
— Packerpedia (@Packerpedia) March 18, 2014
In the first quarter, Favre found Rison for a 54-yard touchdown to put the Packers up 7-0.
“I knew I could beat those defensive backs anytime I wanted to,” Rison said. “I played them twice already with Jacksonville. And one touchdown, Brett missed me on. I was even more open than the one I scored on. That one would have been an 80-yarder. He threw it behind me.”
By the end of the contest, the Packers had their first world title since 1967 courtesy of a 35-21 victory, and Rison ended the afternoon with two receptions for 77 yards and a score.
“I just thank the Lord that I had an opportunity to play with a playoff team and we won a world championship in Green Bay,” Rison said. “We brought the Vince Lombardi Trophy home to Vince Lombardi.”
Rison becomes “Spiderman”
Green Bay released Rison after the Super Bowl and the receiver was signed by the Kansas City Chiefs.
Concerned about his public perception, Rison declared he no longer wanted to be known as “Bad Moon.”
From then on, he wanted his nickname to be “Spiderman” because he thought the superhero was a positive character and Rison wanted to portray positivity.
Panthers fans creating more beef with the Bears over Kyler Gordon being Spiderman 💀
They think Brian Burns invented it like Spider Man not one of the most prominent super hero’s of all time.
Mind you, Chiefs WR Andre Rison was nicknamed Spiderman in the 90s 😂 pic.twitter.com/xpqrrxtR4J
— DeeksView (@DeeksViewOG) August 3, 2023
During his first season with the Chiefs in 1997, Rison started all 16 games for the first time since 1993.
He corralled 72 passes for 1,092 yards and seven scores, leading to his first Pro Bowl selection since ‘93.
Whenever he scored, Rison would pretend to shoot spiderwebs, to the delight of KC fans.
Once the season concluded, the Chiefs extended Rison for four years.
“He came to us last year and found a home in Kansas City and we were able to work out an agreement for a four-year extension,” said Chiefs president Carl Peterson.
“This organization put their front foot forward and gave me an opportunity to play,” Rison said. And not only that, they made me feel good about respecting me as a person. That’s the biggest thing I received since I’ve been here.”
In 1998, Rison caught 40 passes and five touchdowns in 13 starts followed by 14 starts, just 21 receptions, and zero touchdowns in 1999.
— Vintage KCChiefs (@Vintage_Chiefs) November 27, 2022
Following the ‘99 season, Rison was released by Kansas City and he signed with the Oakland Raiders for the 2000 season.
He played a limited role for the Raiders that year and came off the bench to catch 41 passes for 606 yards and six scores.
Rison was released again after the season.
One More Title in the CFL
Rison spent the next few years out of football and in the news for failure to pay child support.
Then, out of the blue, the Canadian Football League’s Toronto Argonauts signed Rison to their practice squad in 2004.
“I think this is the best move I could have made for myself and my family,” Rison said. “I am here to play football.”
After signing with the team, Argonaut’s coach, Michael “Pinball” Clemons, gave Rison a pep talk.
“We could see he still has outstanding ability,” Clemons said. “I have discussed with him the importance of being a leader and helping to groom our young receiving corps.”
As Toronto went 10-7-1, Rison played a limited role for the team and scored one touchdown.
Andre Rison. Grey Cup champion with Argonauts in 2004. pic.twitter.com/HKt9aRi3MF
— D.B. (@DB_SportVideo) August 30, 2020
The Argo’s then defeated their two playoff opponents before dispatching the BC Lions in the Grey Cup, giving Rison a second championship.
In August of 2005, he was released by Toronto and Rison retired for good.
During his pro career, Rison had 743 receptions, 10,205 yards, and 84 touchdowns.
He was a Super Bowl and Grey Cup winner, four-time All-Pro, five-time Pro Bowler, and NFL receiving touchdown co-leader once.
Life After Football
Since leaving the field as a player, Rison has coached high school football in Flint including two years as the head coach at Northwestern High School.
— Slow Jam Shawty (@cognaccasanova) October 22, 2013
Around the same time he began his coaching career, Rison filed for bankruptcy, the result of spending millions on jewelry and throwing money away at clubs.
“We were making it snow. You start throwing $100 bills instead of fives. So you’ve got a competition going on now,” said Rison during a 30 for 30 ESPN documentary titled Broke. “I’d be lying on the bed knocked out (after getting back from the club) with $10,000 lying on the floor. I’ve got another $5,000 in my pocket. You might find another $7,500 in the pocket in my coat. Now all of a sudden you’ve got this bank account you control. You can go to it, pull out anytime, put in any time, but at the time we were only pulling out.”
Rison would eventually start the Andre Rison Football Academy to train wide receiver hopefuls and he also spent time watching his son, Hunter, play football.
Hunter played for Michigan State and then at Kansas State before being arrested for battery in 2019.
Hunter Rison ended his college career at Grand Valley State University in 2021.
Andre Rison is still hoping for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
According to him, there is no reason why he shouldn’t be considered for the Hall.
“Best receiver to ever play the game,” he said in 2009. “I can’t show my highlights because I don’t own NFL Films, but all my coaches in college, in high school, they all told me I could be the best. But they must’ve lied because that title was already given to Jerry Rice. Just because you have stats doesn’t mean you’re the best. Can’t nobody tell me that Andre Reed isn’t better than Jerry Rice. I’m seeing cornerbacks on the 75th-anniversary team that I used to demolish. But I’m coming out with my own hall of fame.”