Former NFL Player Nate Burleson Built A $18M Fortune — Now, He’s Chasing His ‘Media Mogul’ Dreams, But His Wife And 3 Children Are His Top Priority

Former NFL Player Nate Burleson Built A M Fortune — Now, He’s Chasing His ‘Media Mogul’ Dreams, But His Wife And 3 Children Are His Top Priority

Career pivots are becoming increasingly common as people realize the power of not limiting themselves to one lane. This phenomenon has become particularly pervasive in the sports world, as many former athletes find themselves out of the game but adjacent to the sports they love through media, coaching, or front-office gigs. Former NFL wide receiver Nate Burleson is a shining example of a successful career pivot, his path fueled by prioritizing his mental health.

Burleson is a Canadian-born television host who played for the Minnesota Vikings, Seattle Seahawks, and Detroit Lions across 11 seasons. During his career, he completed 457 receptions with 5,630 yards and 39 touchdowns.

However, his career hit a bump in 2008 when he tore his ACL, missing most of that season and struggling with his mental health. In Yahoo Life’s “The Unwind” series, Burleson shared the challenges he faced with depression during that time, highlighting his resilience in the face of adversity.

“I realized how quickly the game will move on, and it took me into the space of uncertainty,” he recalled to Yahoo Life. “And at that point, I never had dealt with anything like that. I was blessed enough to have a mom and dad that provided for us. I didn’t really go through too many trials and errors. But in that moment, I felt so much solitude.”

Despite the injury occurring a few years before his retirement, his commitment to self-care led him to find significant support from his family and learn to manage stress — lessons he continues to apply as a media personality today.

After the ACL injury, Burleson played several more seasons, amassing $33.3 million in total on-field career earnings.  Although Celebrity Net Worth notes this contributed to his $18 million net worth, his earnings did not stop with on-field play.

The 42-year-old is a studio analyst for “The NFL Today” and co-anchor for “CBS Mornings,” both on CBS. In May 2024, he confirmed signing a multi-year contract extension with parent company Paramount, according to Forbes. However, Burleson’s determination goes beyond his on-air talent and veteran wide receiver status. He aspires to become a “media mogul” by running his own production company, a dream he is actively pursuing.

“With my production company, being able to create content and scripted series, we have some things in the works,” Burleson told Forbes. “The plan is to show my creative side and not just be in front of the camera for the rest of my career.”

While producing television series is at the top of the multi-hyphenate’s mind, Burleson’s leading cast will always be his wife, Atoya, and their three children, Nathaniel II, Nehemiah, and Mia.

Atoya Burleson

Atoya met her husband as a collegiate hurdler at the University of Nevada. She works as a lifestyle creator, influencing the world of fashion, home, travel, and parenting. Her X (formerly Twitter) bio notes that she manages her husband’s and children’s careers. She also co-hosts “Inside Lines Podcast!” with fellow NFL wife Tia Avril.

Nathaniel II, 20

Nathaniel is his father’s namesake. He followed in Burleson’s footsteps by attending the University of Nevada and playing football as a wide receiver. While their paths are similar, the senior Burleson was adamant that his son forged his own path.

“I just whispered to him, ‘Go on and start your own journey,’” he shared with People. “’This is your story; control the narrative.’”

He continued sharing that his oldest son is excited to go in and do just that.

“He’s like, ‘I want to go there and break all of your records,’” Burleson said. “And he was like, ‘So for that reason, I’m okay with the pressure that I feel to be successful, and I will.’”

Nehemiah, 18

The middle child and second son, Nehemiah, is also becoming a member of the Wolf Pack as a football player for the University of Nevada. In a video aired during a CBS News segment, Burleson expressed his excitement for his youngest son.

“I know you’re going to graduate top of your class. If you want to be in the NFL, you can do that, but it’s all a bonus for me. I’m already proud of you. I love you deeply,” Burleson told his son.

Mia, 14

Mia, the only daughter and youngest of the crew, is holding her own. According to The New York Post, she accompanies her father on Nickelodeon’s “NFL Slimetime.” She participates in the “Big Time, Big Facts” segment, highlighting relevant and quirky facts about NFL games.

According to Atoya’s Instagram page, Mia has also modeled and walked the runway for Nike and Jordan.

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