$500,000 is fairly wealthy if you can earn it over a long career. If it's just for a few years, no, it is not wealthy.
This. He will pay his agent 3% (the NFL maximum), which is $15,000. He will be entitled to certain other deductions (assuming the government doesn't take them all away) that will reduce his taxable income to maybe $350,000. He will pay tax on this of somewhere between 45 and 50%, leaving him with around $200,000. He will make this amount for about 5 years (best case). That's 1 million dollars of take-home pay over 5 years. He will spend more than half of this--probably 75% if he is relatively frugal. So after 5 years, he will have $250,000, plus whatever he earns on his investment account in which he puts the money. So say it's $300,000. If this is all he has (in other words, if he makes nothing from endorsements and the like), he will have an investment fund of $300,000, which can be expected to produce a return of $15,000 per year if invested with moderate conservatism. Better off than many Americans--sure. Wealthy--not even close.