Welcome! This is the first post created for Dave Pear’s Official Blog. Dave devoted his early years to playing football and achieved what most people can only dream about: He made it into the NFL as a respected defensive tackle. After graduating from the University of Washington, Dave was drafted into the NFL to play for the Baltimore Colts in 1975, then went to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the expansion draft of 1976. He was the first Buccaneer selected to play in the Pro Bowl in 1978. Dave was subsequently traded to the Oakland Raiders in 1979 and in 1980 played for a winning Super Bowl XV team to earn that coveted ring.
Along the way, Dave’s injuries piled up as he advanced in the league, eventually forcing him to retire in 1981. Since that time, Dave has undergone numerous surgeries to his neck and spine that have essentially left him to a life of constant pain. Through all of this, Dave has still managed to count his blessings by having the unconditional love and support of his loyal wife, Heidi, and their two wonderful children.
What Dave didn’t get was any real support – or respect – from the NFL or the NFLPA (NFL Players’ Association). Dave ended up taking early retirement from the league in ’81, accepting a small pittance from the NFL as his pension. But what was worse than the lowly pension settlement he received was the consistent refusal of the NFL and the NFLPA to acknowledge the career-related injuries that he sustained for the game and for his team and league. Worse, his old teammate, Gene Upshaw, who is now the director of the NFLPA, has consistently disavowed any acknowledgment of his disabilities and eligibility for disability benefits.
Over the past years, Dave has waged a steady battle with the NFL to get the respect and and recognition for what should have been a dignified retirement for Dave and all the many other players who have been suffering incredible, pain-filled lives every day. In the past year, more people have finally been taking up the cause and a major blitz of lead articles and press conferences brought the story to the larger – mostly shocked – public audience. Dave was featured in numerous articles before, during and after Super Bowl XLII in Phoenix on Feb. 3.
We’ll be posting links to all of those stories over the next few days along with links to other sites that are also promoting the desperate plight of these forgotten sports heroes. Stay tuned!