Former NFL All-Pro receiver Irving Fryar was sentenced to five years in prison on Friday for running a mortgage scam that also involved his mother Allene McGhee, who was sentenced to three years’ probation.
The first overall pick in the 1984 NFL Draft, Fryar became the first receiver in football history to receive that honor when the New England Patriots selected him after three solid years at the University of Nebraska. Despite several quality seasons in New England, Fryar’s career was marred by several off-field incidents, including a domestic abuse incident that kept him out of the 1986 AFC Championship game that saw the Patriots advance to their first Super Bowl. He returned two weeks later to score the Pats’ lone touchdown in their 46-10 loss to Chicago in Super Bowl XX.
Both Fryar and his mother rejected plea deals, and faced maximums of a decade in prison each. The government’s key witness was Fryar’s business partner William Barksdale, who is serving a 20 month sentence of his own.
After leaving the Patriots after the 1992 season, Fryar enjoyed a career resurgence in the later years of his career. After he turned 30, Fryar appeared in four Pro Bowls between 1993-97 as a member of both the Miami Dolphins and the Philadelphia Eagles. As a member of the Eagles in 1996, he tallied a career high 11 touchdowns, and the very next year, he had a career high 1,316 yards. He retired after the 2000 season as a member of the Washington Redskins. After retirement, he founded the New Jerusalem House of God, a church where he served as the pastor.