The buzz from earning his second Super Bowl championship ring in four years still resonates for Chris Maragos of the Philadelphia Eagles. And then there’s the joy of getting in some quality family time with his wife, two sons and new daughter, Cambria, who was born last October.
Just don’t believe there will be a championship hangover for the 2005 Horlick High School graduate. He’s stayed way too busy to get carried away with the wild Philadelphia sports scene, which is celebrating the banner-raising Eagles and Villanova men’s basketball team along with the upstart 76ers.
Maragos, a special teams ace who is widely regarded as one of the best at what he does in the NFL, is still rehabilitating the posterior cruciate ligament in right knee that was torn last Oct. 12 against the Carolina Panthers. Maragos, who turned 31 in January, doesn’t expect to be totally recovered before the regular season starts.
“I’m coming up on five months here and I’ve still got another four to seven months to go,” said Maragos, who was one of the Eagles’ captains during their Super Bowl championship season. “But it’s going real well and I think I’m on the shorter end, for sure. My goal is to get ready for the start of the season.”
But Maragos has a another goal in mind and it’s been coming together faster than he anticipated. He is partnering with Eagles linebacker Jordan Hicks, former Eagles tight end Trey Burton, who signed as a free agent with the Chicago Bears in March, and two credentialed wealth management officials to form TopTier Wealth Management.
The firm, which began operations in March, is headquartered in Grand Rapids, Mich. Milwaukee-based Michael Brusko, a 2005 Park graduate who played football with Maragos at the school (Maragos transferred to Horlick as a senior), structures the investment portfolios. Austin Nelson of Grand Rapids handles the financial planning.
The intent behind this endeavor is to provide a service for players, many of whom sign lucrative contracts but don’t have the skills to properly manage their money, to invest wisely for the future. The role of Maragos, Hicks and Burton is to make NFL players aware of the service.
“Chris has such a heart for these guys,” Brusko said. “He just started to get concerned with the situations they face with their money. It is so hard to find people they can trust. Everybody has their hand out.”
There are countless stories of professional athletes who have lost their fortunes because of poor decisions. One example is former NBA All-Star Antoine Walker, who made an estimated $108 million during his playing career, yet filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in 2010.
Among the numerous other athletes who have suffered falls from financial grace include Mike Tyson, Rollie Fingers, Lawrence Taylor, Scottie Pippen, Michael Vick, Johnny Unitas and Evander Holyfield.
“You hear all the reports of players going broke,” Maragos said. “NFL players are really good at playing football. They don’t necessarily have the financial skills and the ability to evaluate what’s good and what’s not good in this industry.
“A lot of guys don’t know who to trust, they don’t know what they’re paying fees for. So I said, ‘Hey, if we can give them something what will help them maybe have a little peace of mind, this would be great to do.’ “
There is a flat fee to participate in the service and Maragos said the general public is welcome to take part. The response, he added, has been better than anticipated.
Brusko said about seven NFL players have already signed up for the service, which accepts individuals with a minimum wealth of $500,000.
“We have projections of how we think the business is going to go and, within three weeks, we met our year one projections in terms of the assets we brought on,” Maragos said. “There’s been a great response from people and we’re actually backlogged with the financial plans we’re trying to put together.
“There’s actually a waiting list, so the interest has been really great.”
Brusko sees Maragos as a pioneer with this project.
“He played a big role in this,” Brusko said. “He brought the NFL side to the table. Austin and I had talked about doing this at some point, but, really, this is the first time an active NFL player has had an ownership stake in an investment firm.”
Maragos hopes to make managing investments a career once he retires from football. But for the time being, he is focused on earning another Super Bowl championship ring with an Eagles team that has fortified itself with the offseason acquisitions of wide receiver Mike Wallace and defensive lineman Michael Bennett.
“We have such a great team chemistry,” Maragos said. “With the talent and camaraderie we have, great things can happen and that’s what we’re really excited about.”
Peter Jackel is a reporter for The Journal Times. You can reach Peter by calling 262-631-1703 or by emailing him at email@example.com