Whatever happened to .... Andre Rison?

1. Andre Rison was a Super-Bowl-winning NFL receiver who retired in 2005. 2. At one point he was the highest-paid receiver in the NFL. 3. TLC's Lisa "Left-Eye" Lopes burned down his mansion and got probation. 4. He was nicknamed "Spider-Man" and would mimic shooting webs after scoring. 5. Rison has done some high school football and receiver coaching since retiring, according to his Wikipedia page.

Andre Rison was as well-known for his exploits off the field as on it. One minute, he was the highest-paid receiver in the game. In another, he was being jailed for failing to make child-support payments. One minute, he was about to marry TLC’s Lisa ‘Left-Eye’ Lopes. In another, she was burning down his mansion and getting probation. One minute, he was celebrating a Super Bowl in Green Bay and a Grey Cup in Toronto. In another, he was firing a gun outside a Kroger. But through tragedy (Lopes’ death in 2002) and trials, Rison maintained his candor, his strong sense of self and his desire to give back to young people. AJC’s Darryl Maxie caught up with him when Rison was in town last month for the Football University invitation-only camp.

About coaching

“Eventually, eventually, I will. I’ve been doing this for several years now. I coached a little bit in my hometown, Flint, Mich. I felt like I was a coach when I was a player. When you’re the go-to guy, you end up being a player-coach anyway. I get a kick out of a seeing a kid who has no clue and then, after 72 hours with me, they have all the clues in the world.”

About advice to kids

“I tell them they can’t make mistakes they can’t come back from. Because I overcame adversity. I had some problems I caused, some I didn’t. But I overcame it. I tell them not to even put themselves in bad situations. Don’t be a follower. President Clinton did some things wrong with that whole adultery thing. Martha Stewart did some things wrong. Kobe Bryant did some things wrong. They all made mistakes here and there, and I relate that to them.”

About Falcons years

“Unfortunately, the Smiths didn’t do what they should’ve done —- make me a forever Falcon. I don’t appreciate how my name has been handled with the Falcons. Sometimes I used to feel like I got the short end of the stick. But the fans I run into, the fans I do see, they give me a great feeling.”

About could he still play

“There’s no doubt about that. I just came off the basketball court. But everybody doesn’t have a Brett Favre situation [where they’re allowed to play into their 40s]. There’s 100 players that could still be playing.”

About his legacy

“Best receiver to ever play the game. I can’t show my highlights because I don’t own NFL Films, but all my coaches in college, in high school, in junior college, they all told me I could be the best. But they must’ve lied because that title was already given to Jerry Rice. Just because you have stats doesn’t mean you’re the best. Can’t nobody tell me that Andre Reed isn’t better than Jerry Rice. I’m seeing cornerbacks on the 75th anniversary team that I used to demolish. But I’m coming out with my own hall of fame.”

About his book

“It’s called ‘Wide Open’ and it’s already written. It’s a show-and-tell book. I’m not a snitch, I never was a snitch and I’m never going to be a snitch, but I’m calling aces how they are. It’ll deal with me from when I was a child all the way through my trials and tribulations and then how I ended up on my two feet with a smile on my face. [Lopes] will be in there; it deals with her and a lot of other women.”

Vital stats

Age: 42 Resides: Miami Family: Single. Three sons in their 20s, one 16. Occupation: When he’s not coaching in Football University, he calls himself “an overseer” with his brother in a record and film company. He’s also written a yet-to-be-published book.