Last July, Lost Lettermen caught up with Rocket Ismail as Bite Tech — a “performance mouthwear” company in which Ismail had invested a lot of money — was on the precipice of going big. A partnership with Under Armour and the honor of being one of FastCompany’s “Most Innovative Companies in Sports” for 2011 confirmed that.
But before that, Ismail had lost nearly $18 million in bad investments, including a cosmetics procedure that was touted to make skin better absorb oxygen.
Ismail’s financial pitfalls came after a football career equal parts thrilling and unpredictable. At Notre Dame, Ismail was a dynamic receiver and punt returner. In 1990, Rocket was a consensus All-American, the Walter Camp Award winner and Heisman Trophy runner-up.
But instead of heading to the NFL, where he was the projected first overall pick, Ismail signed an $18 million contract with the CFL’s Toronto Argonauts.
Ismail eventually landed in the NFL, spending a nine-year career with three different teams. In 2004, SportingNews ranked Ismail No. 75 on its list of the Top 100 Greatest College Football Players of All Time. Rocket Ismail profile