Chidi Ahanotu, who played defensive end in the NFL for 11 years, was forced by a Tampa, Fla., judge Tuesday to hand over the ring he received for winning the 2002 NFC Championship with the St. Louis Rams, the Tampa Tribune reported.
Ahanotu, 40, was ordered to surrender the ring to help pay more than $130,000 in legal fees owed to his ex-wife following divorce proceedings.
"This court system is a farce," Ahanotu said. "This court wants a man to hand over his once-in-a-lifetime accomplishment to pay some damn attorney’s fees? I could see if it was going to pay something for my children or my ex-wife.”
Ahanotu will be jailed for contempt of court if he does not produce the ring, which he originally claimed to have given to his brother in 2007 to settle a $30,000 debt.
But the longtime Tampa Bay Buccaneer also claimed the ring is only worth about $500, far less than what his ex-wife’s attorneys believe.
"They think it’s worth $10,000 to $20,000,” Ahanotu said. "They will never get that much. If somebody pays that much, God bless them. That would make me feel important.”
Ahanotu spent most of his career (1993-2000) with the Bucs, ranking fifth in franchise history with 34.5 sacks. He played on the 2001 Rams team that went 14-2, but lost in Super Bowl XXXVI to the Patriots.