Retired Football Players Declaration of Independence

Jul 22, 2011

As retired football players, we’re all sick and tired of everyone trying to tell us what’s best while not giving us a voice or a vote in how it’s done. With the CBA close to being finalized, the so-called Union, the NFLPA, is once again trying to walk away with our retirement and disability benefits as an afterthought to what they’ve negotiated for their active players. And with the Hall of Fame induction ceremonies coming up, a large group of Hall of Famers have signed a Retired Football Players Declaration of Independence (click on any images below to enlarge for easier reading and printing):

We’re asking all retired players to read and sign on as well – I have already (PLEASE pass this along to all the other players you know):



And if you know retired players who don’t have Internet access or e-mail, you can also download a copy of the Declaration by right-clicking HERE and saving the PDF version that you can then print out and distribute to fax in or send by snail-mail. Thanks for all your support!

21 Responses so far | Have Your Say!

  1. Greg Davis
    July 22nd, 2011 at 5:41 pm #

    Greg Davis

    Thanks, Dave, for what you are doing. I admire courage above all things; there’s so little of it now.

    Greg Davis
    Atlanta Falcons, New England Patriots, Arizona Cardinals
    Minnesota Vikings, San Diego Chargers, Oakland Raiders
    1987 – 1998

  2. Marilyn Bishop
    July 25th, 2011 at 11:02 am #

    Bill Bishop

    Thank you for all you are doing to help retired players, especially the older players.

    Marilyn Bishop
    widow Bill Bishop (1931 – 1998)
    Chicago Bears 1952 – 1961
    Minnesota Vikings 1962

  3. Tom Sorensen
    July 29th, 2011 at 11:30 am #

    Tom Sorenson

    Dave –

    Keep up the good work!

    Tom Sorensen
    New Orleans Saints, Atlanta Falcons, Pittsburgh Steelers

  4. Roy Schmidt
    July 29th, 2011 at 4:34 pm #

    Roy Schmidt

    Do I understand you want to replace the NFLPA as an entity to negotiate with the NFL for retired NFL players benefits?

    Roy Schmidt
    New Orleans Saints, Atlanta Falcons
    Washington Redskins, Minnesota Vikings
    1967 – 1971

  5. Ed White
    July 29th, 2011 at 5:01 pm #

    Ed White

    Hopefully, this is the issue that will bring all retired players together and give us a real voice.

    Ed White
    Minnesota Vikings 1969 – 1978
    San Diego Chargers 1978 – 1986

  6. Dave Pear
    July 29th, 2011 at 5:59 pm #

    Dave at Home

    Roy –

    What you are seeing is a grassroots revolution of retired players finally coming together as a group to fight for control and management of our own pension and disability benefits. It’s long been known by most of us – and proven in a court of law – that the NFLPA has consistently lied and shortchanged all of us as retired players when it comes to our earned benefits. Enough is enough!

    The NFLPA is finally realizing that this is coming down now and has been resorting to every dirty trick they’ve ever used against us in the past …and more. There’s a lot of money at stake and it’s always been our money they’ve been playing with all these years.

    We can’t possibly do any worse running this thing ourselves if we work together to do it the right way once and for all. Rolling over again isn’t an option for many of the pre-93 players who may not even last the 10 years of this new CBA.

    There is blood in the water once again but this time, it’s not ours!

    Please be sure to lend you support by signing the Declaration of Independence and then telling everyone else you know! I promise to keep everyone updated on our progress as it develops – this is a team effort.


  7. Chris Coleman
    July 29th, 2011 at 6:42 pm #

    Chris Coleman

    I understand and can completely relate to the plight of the pre-93 class of players who have been unfairly treated by the NFL and NFLPA.

    However, I was undrafted in 2000 and would like to share my story as I know there are many with similar circumstances to mine. Like many of you, I grew up thinking I would one day play in the NFL. I worked out hard, studied in high school and college and excelled above others in the classroom and on the field in order to make it to the NFL. Despite a great junior year in college that would likely have yielded me being a 2nd- or 3rd-round pick because I was the 3rd highest-rated receiver in the country at the time, I decided to stay for my senior year. My senior year didn’t go so well and I ended up going undrafted into the NFL.

    I played well in the NFL, was a viable backup receiver and a starter on several special teams. Going into my third season in the pre-season, I began a Master’s degree program under the premise it would be paid for by the NFL’s great tuition payment program. Soon after – and I’m sure coincidentally – I was released from the team and my tuition was no longer covered. I’m a finisher like most NFL athletes, so I finished the degree program and completed my MBA four years later. Unfortunately, I amassed over $40K in school loans that I am now having to pay. This is just one of my issues with the NFL and the system they employ to keep all the money in their pockets with fewer benefits used or even discovered by the players.

    Thanks for listening,
    Chris Coleman
    Tennessee titans
    2000 – 2001

  8. Gary A. Padjen
    July 31st, 2011 at 7:08 pm #

    Gary Padjen

    As VP of the NFL Alumni INDY Chapter, I support the movement and hope we get results! Please let me know if I can help.

    Gary Padjen
    Baltimore Colts, Indianapolis Colts
    1982 – 1987

  9. Fred L. Morrison
    August 1st, 2011 at 5:34 pm #

    Fred Curly Morrison

    As a seven year player and a pre-59er, I believe the owners realize where they have failed. I feel this time they will come through with fair pensions for those of us who have been waiting a long time.

    Fred L. Morrison
    Cleveland Browns, Chicago Bears
    1950 – 1956

  10. Melvin Gray
    August 12th, 2011 at 8:29 pm #

    Mel Gray

    We made the game what it is today. WHY CAN’T THESE PEOPLE SEE THAT? I just want everyone to be happy at this point.

    Melvin Gray
    St. Louis Cardinals
    1971 – 1982

  11. Terry Metcalf
    August 16th, 2011 at 7:39 am #

    Terry Metcalf

    Our blood and sweat is scattered all across the country in many stadium. Our legacy has made the game what is today.

    Terry Metcalf
    St. Louis Cardinals, Washington Redskins
    1973 – 1981

  12. Mike Meade
    August 16th, 2011 at 7:47 am #

    Mike Meade

    It would be nice not to be embarrassed when talking about your pension from one of the largest corporations in the world!!!

    Mike Meade
    1982 – 1985
    Green Bay Packers, Detroit Lions

  13. Melvin Gray
    August 16th, 2011 at 3:12 pm #

    Mel Gray

    I feel sad that the current players don’t see what we’ve done for them. They should read some of the history and then that will open their eyes.

    Melvin Gray

  14. Anthony Simmons
    August 17th, 2011 at 1:44 pm #

    Anthony Simmons

    Will the retired athletes ever get what we sweated for the past these 40 plus years? There is a lot of unfair treatment to the pre-’93 players.

    What are we going to do? I need Medical Insurance!

    Anthony Simmons
    San Diego Chargers
    1985 – 1987

  15. Don Ryals
    August 18th, 2011 at 1:47 pm #

    Let us keep fighting, brothers. The ownership establishment owes us respect and many dollars.

    Don Ryals
    Cleveland Browns
    Miami Dolphins
    Denver Broncos

  16. Larry Barnes
    August 20th, 2011 at 9:08 am #

    Philadelphia Eagles

    I am currently getting disability pension for four years of service 77-80 with San Diego and Philadelphia. Please keep me informed and I will support whatever is necessary.

    Larry Barnes
    San Diego Chargers & Philadelphia Eagles
    1977 – 1980

  17. Woody Campbell
    August 31st, 2011 at 1:51 pm #

    Woody Campbell

    We have no vote or voice/representation. Yet there is a lot of ballyhoo about how we as pre-’93 players will benefit.

    How does that happen if the people deciding on our fate are not in sync with us or have any real appreciation for our plight? I would like to know how we change that beyond our opinions or just collecting our comments!

    Woody Campbell
    Houston Oilers
    1967 – 1971

  18. Steve Kiner
    September 1st, 2011 at 1:37 pm #

    Steve Kiner Today

    A lot of retired players think we should be satisfied with the CBA, thankful the current leaders of the NFLPA have thrown us a bone. Nothing of value has been negotiated and no one in their group has our best interest in mind.

    I sent a thanx to DeMaurice Smith regarding his comments about retired players then told him what I thought of his representation and his response, ” OK, whatever.” How about Mr. Big Shot Drew Brees! I want to tell him nicely how impressed I am with his comments about former players.

    Those comments sum up a consensus of opinion regarding our position in any negotiations they conduct. We are not important and any needs we might have are not their concern. This was my position on the matter when I played. I felt we, the current players, were the group that supported the union. We had no obligation to the retired players. None. Nada.

    I know what the current players think of us. What they don’t know are the residual effects of football. The number of broken families, broken bodies, demented minds and the lives that have been taken when our brothers looked into the abyss. Nothing in the way of treatment was – or is – available.

    We’ll say it wasn’t a football-related suicide: “He just went nuts!” Then the Union says, “Oh, the NFL doctors must be right!” How could someone actually take his life with all that success, all that money and all that notoriety?

    A little food for thought: “There but for the grace of God go I.”

    Steve Kiner
    Dallas Cowboys, New England Patriots, Houston Oilers
    1970 -1978

  19. The devil of the new NFL CBA is in the details for retired players | FryingPanSports | Football
    September 2nd, 2011 at 10:44 am #

    […] and we thank Dave Pear for this information. Please check out the Declaration of Independence on and sign on as a fan.  We all can make a difference. Thank you in advance. I would like […]

  20. Don Latimer
    October 10th, 2011 at 4:25 pm #

    Don Latimer

    Pain is the way of life with me just trying to make it through each day. Fans ask me all the time when change is coming for all the hard work you guys put in during your playing time – only God knows.

    We all need some help with some kind of Disability before it’s too Late!

    Don Latimer
    Denver Broncos
    1978 – 1983

  21. Larry Kaminski
    October 19th, 2011 at 1:46 pm #

    Larry Kaminski

    Independent Players,

    Today I was saddened by the death of Kent Hull – this was a great player and did not get to enjoy his senior years. Now more then ever, we need to get this issue on pensions and disability solved. My wife recently reminded me the owners are in no hurry because you are all passing on. Isn’t that a very sad ending to all of you who dedicated your energy and skill to make the NFL game what it is today.

    Lastly, Drew Brees: As a Purdue alum I am ashamed of you and your arrogance. Remember: One blind side hit can make you a member of this group.

    Larry Kaminski
    Denver Broncos
    1966 – 1973