With a seemingly endless stream of new, young players coming to the professional ranks from college and from overseas, athletes in the NFL, NBA, NHL, and MLB must always perform well on gameday if they want to hold onto their jobs.
However, throughout the history of these leagues, some players have remained professional athletes despite putting up lackluster statistics. This could be for a few reasons, including filling a specific positional role that does not have much competition, or coaches liking their leadership and character in the locker room.
To determine the worst athletes with the longest careers, 24/7 Tempo reviewed data from the Sports Reference family of sites on veteran players in the NFL, NHL, MLB, and NBA who played hundreds of games with the lowest overall contribution to their teams’ success.
Though these athletes were never statistically impressive, they managed to stay on a professional roster — an accomplishment in and of itself. Many of the players on this list are journeymen — players that hop from team to team, trying to stay on an active roster any way they can.
These players may not be huge contributors to their team, but most franchises have some bottom of the roster players that do little to contribute to overall success. Where teams really get in trouble is when highly-paid athletes struggle to live up to the multimillion dollar contract they signed, leaving their team with little extra money to sign other players. These are the most overpaid players in pro sports.