5 rich NFL stars who live like they're broke

This NFL starting quarterback drives a dented van he bought from his grandma for $5,000
This NFL starting quarterback drives a dented van he bought from his grandma for $5,000

Not all professional athletes blow their paychecks on fancy cars and expensive homes. A handful even choose to live like they're broke.

CNBC Make It rounded up five NFL players who have earned millions but don't always act like it.

Rob Gronkowski

Rob Gronkowski of the New England Patriots
Randy Holmes | Disney ABC Television Group | Getty Images

The New England Patriots paid Rob Gronkowski a base salary of $8 million for the 2018 season. For 2019, it increases to $9 million. But though he's one of the highest-paid tight ends in the league, the 29-year-old hasn't touched "one dime of my signing bonus or NFL contract money," he revealed in his 2015 book, "It's Good to Be Gronk."

Instead, since his professional career started in 2010, he's been living off of his endorsement money.

Gronkowski is particularly frugal when it comes to his wardrobe. "My 'broke habit' still is my clothing and shoes," he told Maverick Carter on a 2018 episode of "Kneading Dough," adding, "If I like the clothing, if I like the shoes, I'll wear those shoes and I'll wear that clothing down to the rags."

He'll sometimes wear a favorite pair of jeans "seven days straight," he said, though "I make sure I throw them in the washer, like, day three."

Kirk Cousins

Quarterback Kirk Cousins of the Minnesota Vikings stands on the sideline with teammates during the singing of the National Anthem on August 11, 2018 in Denver, Colorado.
Dustin Bradford | Getty Images

Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins earns an average of $28 million a year. Still, the 30-year-old NFL star isn't shy about crashing in his parents' basement.

"For a good portion of the off-season, the eminently practical Cousins holes up beneath the floorboards of his teenage home in Holland, Michigan," GQ reported in 2017. "He shares the space with his wife, Julie."

And he drives a dented GMC Savana passenger van, he told the Wall Street Journal in 2016, which he bought from his grandma for $5,000.

Ryan Kerrigan

Ryan Kerrigan
Patrick McDermott | Getty Images

Even after signing a five-year, $57.5 million contract in 2015, pass rusher Ryan Kerrigan of the Washington Redskins found ways to cut back on housing costs: Kerrigan chose to share an apartment with childhood friend Andrew Walker, the Wall Street Journal reported in 2016.

Kerrigan also keeps his food costs low, Walker told the Journal: "He makes most of his own meals but, when he does splurge, he's going to Chipotle."

Darrius Heyward-Bey

Wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey #88 of the Pittsburgh Steelers takes part in pre-game warm ups before a game against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium on October 12, 2015 in San Diego, California.
Jeff Gross | Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver has earned millions since he was first drafted in 2009: As of 2016, he'd notched about $35 million, ESPN reported, and today, his average salary is still over $1 million.

But instead of spending his fortune, he's managed to save most of it, he told ESPN. He's done that by keeping himself on an allowance he worked out with his mom.

"I grew up knowing what to spend and what not to spend," Heyward-Bey said. "It's easy when you don't have money to not spend. That's how I grew up."

He even cancels his cable during football season, since he's not home to watch it. "I keep things real simple," he said. "I'm not really a flashy guy. I understand what I want to buy. I invest my money well and pay my taxes."

Glover Quin

Detroit Lions safety Glover Quin (27) runs with the ball after intercepting a pass during game action between the Minnesota Vikings and Detroit Lions.
Scott W. Grau | Icon Sportswire | Corbis | Getty Images

The Detroit Lions safety, who earns an average of $6.5 million a year, has been saving 70 percent of his take-home pay since he was drafted in 2009.

Quin is also a savvy investor. He puts 10 to 20 percent of his savings in private equity companies, with the aim of eventually hopefully doubling his income.

The plan has always been to "save as much money as I can and spend as little as I can in the time that I have in the league," Quin told CNBC in 2016, "so that I can maximize my future."

Don't miss: Rob Gronkowski, who hasn't touched his NFL money in 8 years, finally splurged on his first 'luxury'

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Dallas Cowboys running back Alfred Morris drives a $2 car
Dallas Cowboys running back Alfred Morris drives a $2 car