The Battle for Disability Benefits…

Nov 26, 2008

Many of you already know that when Dave played with the University of Washington Huskies and went into the NFL playing for the Baltimore Colts.  Then it was on to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the expansion draft. When they traded him over to the Oakland Raiders, he was part of the winning Superbowl XV team in 1981. (And Gene Upshaw was his teammate.)

Dave still has a big following back in Tampa and a recent article by Gary Shelton in The St. Petersburg Times talks about Dave’s battle for benefits (or lack thereof) from the NFL and NFLPA. Some quotes:

What bothers Pear, what angers him and saddens him and drives him, is the constant denial of benefits to veteran players by the NFL Players Association.

“They prefer to give millions to lawyers instead of taking care of former players,” Pear said. “It’s a whitewash, and it’s not even a good whitewash. It’s a shameful appearance that they’re trying to do something.

“I don’t want any sympathy. I want the NFL to pay their bills. When you go out to dinner, you pay your bill. You don’t hire lawyers and run out the back door. That’s what the NFL has done, and it’s shameful.”

Pear said he’s learned to live with the constant pain. What bothers him more is the constant fight for benefits, and the sacrifices his wife and two children have had to make because of his medical bills. And that so many others are in worse shape than he.

“If I knew that I was going to be hurt this bad and be abandoned by my employers,” Pear said, “then I wouldn’t have played football.”

You can read the rest of this article by clicking HERE.

(Just added) And check out the long collection of comments that have come in already.

6 Responses so far | Have Your Say!

  1. Dan Lloyd
    November 26th, 2008 at 7:47 pm #

    Dan Lloyd
    As a UW teammate and a player on the field for the Giants, I’m impressed with Dave’s passion to help all of us get benefits. There has been nothing from our schools and nothing from the teams that drafted us. We bought into the idea that we were a team. We loved playing and I think that we all still dream of playing if we could just find our helmets, cleats and make it the field on time.

    I’m 55 and still dreaming. It was an honor to play and to be around teammates like Dave. Dave stated, “If I knew that I was going to be hurt this bad and be abandoned by my employers,then I wouldn’t have played football.”

    Our problem: We played and the business we loved won’t take care of us. How in the world could my neck be judged “non-football related” when I learned to play with my head? Dave – BUTT and PRESS!

    Mad Mel :-)

    They dragged all of us off the field. But Dave, we knew… Well, I certainly knew, but I just thought I would be dead by now.

    Three lights, Stretch and Atlas.

    Dan Lloyd
    UW Husky 1978
    NY Giants 1976 – 1983

  2. John Hogan
    November 27th, 2008 at 5:56 am #

    John Hogan
    On this Thanksgiving Day, I have many things to be thankful for, including the friendship and inspiration of Dave Pear. I never played the game, but I have loved it all my life. It is players like Dave – who absolutely gave their all – that makes the NFL as great as it is today.

    Dave was obviously never afraid of hard work or pain – heck, he played with a broken neck! But young men in their 20s really aren’t in a position to foresee or understand how their football injuries will effect them and their families for the rest of their lives. They can’t appreciate how broken spines and concussions will impact their ability to support their families when they reach their 40s and 50s.

    I admire Dave’s courage to make his life and problems after the NFL so public not out of a misplaced sense of ego, but in a selfless manner to bring attention to the plight of all injured and disabled retired players.

    Dave, I am honored to be working with you in the cause of justice!

    John Hogan

  3. Brian
    November 28th, 2008 at 4:30 am #

    Dear Dave:

    I was born in the Tampa Bay area, and grew up a Dolphins fan. But then Tampa won the Bucs franchise and I have been a Bucs fan ever since. I remember watching you and the other original Bucs play at the Sombrero. I always admired the way you played the game.

    I read the article yesterday in the St. Pete Times. I hope that your efforts will soon change the way the NFL and Union has dealt with the issues discussed in the article. The courage you displayed on the field is your greatest strength, all these years later. What can the Bucs fans do to help you and the other players that have given all of us great memories?

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.


  4. Bob Grant
    November 28th, 2008 at 10:53 am #

    Bob Grant - Baltimore Colts

    I am so glad that we won that trial and I really enjoyed talking with you while we were there. I understand the confusion that some of the guys have over the GLA List. I am one of those who actually signed two of them but am not on the list. One in 2001 and another in 2003, I think. I made the mistake of not making a copy for my own records and I accept responsibility for not doing so. I’m not going to lodge a protest or do anything to complicate things for the guys who are showing up on the final List. I’m not going to try and hold anything up because I know that the NFLPA is praying that a fight breaks out within our own ranks over what will probably end up being just a few thousand dollars for each man anyway.

    I am only going to ask each of the men who does receive anything, if the appeals ever end and the award is not reduced, to consider contributing maybe three hundred dollars that can be used to carry on in our continuing fight to force the NFLPA and the NFL to give all retired players all that they have cheated them out of over the years. If any of the guys on the List are not comfortable with a contribution, no one is going to hold it against them

    To those of you who think that they are all going to get a million, I assure you that they will not. The Attorneys will get somewhere between 33% and 44% right off of the top. That could end up being higher with the appeals that the PA have said that they will definitely file. Before any deductions are made for the attorneys, Federal Taxes, State Taxes and Social Security, there will only be about $13,000 for each man. And believe it or not, if the final pie is just cut up into 2,000 pieces, each man could end up with somewhere between five thousand to fifteen hundred dollars or so.

    If all of us make a run to be included and the NFL appeals a few times there could be nothing left for any of the players and the NFLPA would have won even though they lost. They can appeal all the way up to the Supreme Court. They will just keep paying the lawyers with OUR money. It will not cost any of them one copper penny from that big salary that You, I and the active players are paying them. Heck, you and I probably don’t even make as much as the janitor or a secretary who works at the NFLPA with our pension each month. Now that may sound a little funny but you know that it’s the truth.

    So I’m going to just let it go even though I signed and my image was used in the Games.

    Finally, and most importantly, I would like for each and every one of you to register your support with Dave or one of the other Advocates for the Retired Players’ Summit that is being planned by all of the Advocates for next year. All that you have to do is email your Name and the Teams that you played for. That’s pretty simple and it will really help us all in the fight that we are waging against the NFLPA and the NFL for better benefits for you. Quite a few guys have already registered their Name and Teams and most say that they will be there for the Meeting if at all possible. We hope to FINALLY organize all players so that your Advocates can do their work, and the impressive people in Politics, Law, Labor, the Media and a number of other fields who have indicated that they will definitely help us in our fight will see that our organized numbers are large enough so that everyone can see that We’re Not Going To Take it Any More. That we’re not going to sit back like good little boys while those Bandits and Lawyers continue living “high on the hog” on our money. (Irv – I said Bandits. I didn’t use the “G” word!)

    We can only work for you if you support us in the fight. You know that Dave will not quit and I guarantee you that he’ll never sell you out the way that many of the guys in the NFLPA offices have over the years. If he or any of the other Advocates ever did, I would let you know.

    I’ll bet that you were embarrassed to tell people that Gene was, with all of his arrangements, getting a check from us for more than $1,600,000.00 per month! How much was yours? Mine wasn’t quite that large. Bernie has the exact number, I think.

    We’re not asking for your money. We just need your registered support in order to put our Summit together. Remember: just your name, team and e-mail to either Dave, Bruce, Brent, Abner, Tony, Jeff or myself. Hopefully you will be able to attend the Summit as well.

    Bob Grant
    Player Advocate
    Retired Baltimore Colts

  5. Dan Maloney
    November 28th, 2008 at 11:58 am #


    What a surprise when I saw your always smiling face on the front page of the sports section of the St. Petersburg Times on November 27th! Gary Shelton wrote a wonderful article and tribute to you.

    It’s been quite a while since we saw each other (my former days at the tomato company and you at the paper company), so it was great to see you again.

    I’m sad to hear of your continuing health battles. I hope a solution arises.

    Best Wishes,
    Dan Maloney

  6. John Hogan
    November 28th, 2008 at 1:38 pm #

    John Hogan - Disability Attorney

    Because of the statue of limitations (the deadline to file a law suit) only guys who signed GLAs 2004 and later were included in the class. What I would like to know is why the NFLPA and/or Players, Inc. apparently didn’t send GLAs to more/all retired players?

    I’m not getting a penny of the class money, so it certainly isn’t up to me to tell anyone how to spend it. But I think your suggestion about chipping in $300 or so is a great idea!

    Thanks for all your efforts on behalf of all retired players.

    Best regards,