NFLPA/NFL Benefits Announcement

Nov 10, 2011

Most members of the NFLPA received the first announcement in their Inboxes earlier today along with different variations from many sources. The second, more detailed announcement comes out of the NFL Communications office. If you note in the league’s release, credit is graciously being given to several retired players who took part in later discussions held directly with Commissioner Goodell and the owners, something that’s clearly missing from the NFLPA’s announcement. In fact, the NFLPA and its representatives did NOT attend that meeting held in Washington DC.
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We’re posting both announcements here exactly as received:
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Legacy Benefit Agreement
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NFLPA Former PlayersGreat News! The NFL has agreed in principle to the NFLPA’s proposal for the distribution of the Legacy Benefit. This agreement is contingent upon the final actuary approval of the proposal.
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Players who were vested in the Bert Bell/Pete Rozelle Retirement Plan prior to 1993 are eligible for the new Legacy Benefit. If any player is vested before 1993, and has credited seasons after 1993 those pre-1993 years are the only ones that will benefit from the Legacy Benefit payments. The Legacy Benefit will be paid for the lifetime of any vested player before 1993. This benefit will be accessible to the vested player upon reaching age 55. The Legacy Benefit will be allowed to be taken separately from the pension. Just like the Bell/Rozelle Plan, the longer you wait to take the Legacy Benefit payment between ages 55-65, the more it increases. There is a $600 floor built into the Legacy Benefit to assist players who took their pensions early. The players who played before 1974 will receive $124 per month times their credited seasons and the players who played after 1974 to 1992 will receive $108 per month times their credited seasons. Election forms will be sent from the Plan office and you must complete the form and return it before payment is calculated.  You may choose a Life Annuity or a Joint and Survivor Annuity.  If you are married and chose a life annuity, by law, your wife must sign the form. If you are divorced and have a QDRO it will be reviewed individually before your benefit is determined. The Legacy Benefit payments will be retroactive to August 4, 2011.
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Please call the benefits department at 800-372-2000 for more information on your individual Legacy Benefit payment.

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NFL Announces Distribution of $620 Million Legacy Fund Benefit for Pre-’93 Retired Players

The NFL and NFL Players Association have reached agreement on how to distribute to retired players the $620 million “Legacy Fund” that was established as part of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement.
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“Nothing the league can do can ever fully express our appreciation to the players who helped build our league,” said Commissioner ROGER GOODELL. “However, the Legacy Fund is a significant step, especially as the benefits apply to the older players.”
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The new benefit has three important points:

  • Players will receive these pension increases for their lifetime, not just the duration of the current Collective Bargaining Agreement, and that of their eligible beneficiaries.
  • Current benefit payments to retirees and their beneficiaries/former family members will immediately be increased to no less than $600 per month, regardless of the form of benefit. In addition, this $600 per month floor on benefits will apply for players who are not yet receiving pension payments, based on electing a life annuity or joint & survivor benefit.
  • In addition to the floor of $600 per month, the new Legacy Fund benefit credit will be added to players’ current monthly pension checks. If a player is over 55 and already receiving his pension, then he will receive in his monthly check an additional $124 per season for seasons before 1975, and $108 per season for seasons beginning with 1975 and continuing through 1992. If a player is over 55 and not yet receiving his pension, the additional Legacy Fund payments will be slightly higher when he starts his pension. If a player is under 55 and takes his pension early, his Legacy Fund addition will be lower.

After discussions with the leaders of several retired player groups – including MIKE DITKA, CARL ELLER, BRUCE LAIRD, WILLIE LANIER, GEORGE MARTIN and RON MIX – the formula for pension increases was agreed to by the NFL and NFLPA, and was designed to give larger increases to those retirees who played in the league’s earliest years.
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This new benefit applies to more than 4,700 players who were vested in the Bert Bell/Pete Rozelle Player Pension Plan prior to 1993, regardless of whether they are currently receiving a pension check.
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Players currently receiving pensions will receive an immediate increase in their payment for seasons before 1993. For players who are not yet receiving their pension, their pension credits for seasons before 1993 will be increased through the Legacy Fund.
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Details of the Legacy Fund benefit were communicated today to retirees.
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Below are two examples of how the Legacy Fund benefit will greatly increase monthly pension payments to many retired players:

  • There is a 10-year veteran player who retired in the 1960s who has been receiving a $200 monthly pension. The Legacy Fund benefit will increase his monthly check to $1,840.
  • Another 10-year veteran who retired in the 1970s will see his monthly check increase from $165 to $1,810.

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35 Responses so far | Have Your Say!

  1. Brad Cousino
    November 10th, 2011 at 6:56 pm #

    Brad Cousino

    What exactly is the requirement to be “vested”? Everyone seems to dance around… Exactly how many games or seasons does it take to be fully vested? I played LB with Bengals ’75, New York Giants ’76, Pittsburgh Steelers ’77 and the preseason ’78 — was cut and then went to CFL for ’78 – ’79. So what constitutes a vested year? And what is the threshold?

    Also did any positive changes to the vesting requirement happen with the latest CBA? What if a player’s career is over due to career-ending injury from summer camp during years 1, 2 or 3? Based on what I’ve read, seems like there was NO BENEFIT to those players who played for 1 to 3 years.

    Or am I wrong?

    Brad Cousino
    Cincinnati Bengals, New York Giants, Pittsburgh Steelers
    1975 – 1977

  2. Tony Davis
    November 10th, 2011 at 9:41 pm #

    Tony Davis

    Brad,

    I believe that Pre-93 Retirees’ requirement of vesting is 4 credited seasons. Looking at your stats, it appears you have three vested years. Many of us pushed very hard to at least include those Pre-93 Players with 3 credited season but could not get it done this time.

    Tony Davis
    Cincinnati Bengals & Tampa Bay Buccaneers
    1976 – 1982

  3. Bob Avellini
    November 10th, 2011 at 10:22 pm #

    Bob Avellini

    What complete propaganda! We were led to believe that the Legacy Fund would increase our pension by $2,000 per month, then it was decreased to $1,000 per month, now we’re supposed to be excited about $108 per month per season vested? How many guys have 10 – 20 years vested?

    Great job, NFLPA!

    Bob Avellini
    Chicago Bears & New York Jets
    1975 – 1984

  4. Henry Bradley
    November 11th, 2011 at 12:32 am #

    Henry Bradley

    I played nose guard from 1979 to 1983. The punishment you took back then would not allow you to play 10 years.

    Henry Bradley
    Cleveland Browns
    1979 – 1983

  5. Jim Tolbert
    November 11th, 2011 at 2:22 am #

    Jim Tolbert

    I played 11 years in the league and I’m happy to have been able to play that long. Thanks for the increase in the pension – every little bit helps. But I’m sad for my teammates who are not here who took their pensions early at age 45 like me. I know a lot of retired players are hurting for money and this is not much but it’s better than what we were getting. Will our checks be retroactive?

    Jim Tolbert
    San Diego Chargers, Houston Oilers, St. Louis Cardinals
    1966 – 1977

  6. Joe DeLamielleure
    November 11th, 2011 at 6:51 am #

    Joe DeLamielleure

    While it’s supposed to look good on paper, it’s pathetic! The “pension/legacy” fund has not provided a livable income for former players. There will still be Hall-of-Famers who will be making less than $25,000 per year before taxes. That’s ridiculous! No “honor” whatsoever even for those who built this league. Nothing’s changed. Injuries and no benefits!

    A few more points: The amounts of this new fund need to take care of families, not just individuals.

    For evil to win, it just takes good men to do nothing… JoePa is learning the hard way.

    Joe DeLamielleure
    Buffalo Bills, Cleveland Browns
    73 – 1986

  7. Glenn Bujnoch
    November 11th, 2011 at 8:52 am #

    Glenn Bujnoch

    Totally surprised by this outcome. Once again, we were fed the scraps from the table. But if no one is there to count this money and as to how it’s being distributed, are we really getting our share?

    Who can you trust?

    Glenn Bujnoch
    Cincinnati Bengals, Tampa Bay Bucs
    1976 – 1985

  8. Gordon Wright
    November 12th, 2011 at 7:28 am #

    Gordon Wright - NY Jets

    Bradley, you are being nice about the punishment comment!

    I started with the AFL/NFL and Farm Teams of the Philadelphia Eagles, New York Jets, Cleveland Browns from 1966 through 1971. I played for the Wilmington Clippers which is now NFL Europe. In those days, the AFL & the NFL pay was in the thousands – low thousands – and I played for the Farm Teams for $200.00 in the offseason. Playing with a harness and a torn shoulder and a broken bone was common place in my day.

    My Civil Rights and my Labor Rights were violated by the Philadelphia Eagles. I have never been paid for the 1968 year and I have not received the 1968 credit season that would give me my Fourth credit season. The current Penn State scandal certainly proves Pennsylvania State does not have a problem with violating a young man’s Civil Rights. They Violated Me. The coverup goes All the way up to the NFL and The NFLPA.

    The Present NFLPA is Anti-Family. I Just received an invitation to the Christmas Party and it said No Spouses Allowed! Well, that’s all right as long as I go alone there are not any women escorts all over the place in short skirts the way I have previously witnessed – or any MALE escorts either! If it is for the former NFL Players, then there should only be Men only and no promotion of escorts at the NFLPA Meetings. Stop discrimination against anyone, NFL & NFLPA!

    Gordon Wright
    Philadelphia Eagles & New York Jets
    1967 – 1970

  9. John Griffin
    November 12th, 2011 at 8:58 am #

    John Griffin

    When Obama passes his jobs bill for building more roads and bridges, maybe he can add heating and air-conditioning so when all the old retired players lose their homes, they can sleep comfortably under the bridges. The NFLA, NFLPA and NFL owners must think we all have dementia and have lost our ability to add and subtract. Are we supposed to pat them all on the back for giving us this pitiful amount of money? What and who is going to deal with the $650 million that’s left? I don’t know which organization I want to give my $100 dues to because I don’t think any of them took us seriously; and I really do not have the $100 to take away from my medicines and family to give it to you.

    John Griffin
    LA Rams & Denver Broncos
    1963 – 1967

  10. Woody Bennett
    November 12th, 2011 at 6:09 pm #

    Woody Bennett

    If the NFLPA is trying to make things better for retired veterans, then why are they still penalizing those veterans who took their pensions early knowing that most were in dire need at the time and if those who took their pension before 55 will be decreased how much of a decrease is expected? It seems like just another way of punishing those who made the game what it is today. We were originally under the impression that the Legacy Fund would not be a part of our pension but a separate legacy fund but now Will some players be penalized by tying it to the pension?

    Woody Bennett
    New York Jets, Miami Dolphins
    1979 – 1988

  11. Larry Kaminski
    November 12th, 2011 at 6:32 pm #

    Larry Kaminski

    Independent Players,

    Like many of you, I was surprised at the change in our benefits for the pre-74 years. However, look at what has transpired: We have asked Congress, the NLRB, various legal letters, and a lawsuit against the group that is supposed to represent us; the results have always been the same. Nothing happens and who cares. We allowed Upshaw to build a power structure that will be impossible to penetrate let alone get fair treatment. The press will say that a couple a grand more a month is a heckuva deal for the old timers. After all, the active players on our so-called team like Brees call us old, irresponsible misplaced men. What member of the press will challenge statements made about us and our “greed”?

    It’s a shame and unless we can unite and do something drastic, I’m afraid it is what it is.

    Thanks and Happy Thanksgiving to all.

    Larry Kaminski
    Denver Broncos
    1966 – 1973

  12. Henry Bradley
    November 13th, 2011 at 12:20 am #

    Henry Bradley

    My retirement is $24,000.00 a year – I had to take the 25% early payment. This was after I was denied line-of-duty disability AND severance pay. I hold the NFLPA responsible for the loss of both of those benefits. The Browns (Ravens) refused to pay me my severance pay because they said the NFLPA had signed them away during a grievance filed by Bradley and the NFLPA. After getting a copy of the settlement, I saw they did sign them away; however, there is no mention of which lawyer worked on my case. Can someone give me direction on how to advance this case?

    I cannot have any peace until I face the people that cause me to lose my house and become homeless. I want to know what charges can be filed.

    I say we put up tents and occupy the NFLPA until we get justice!

    Henry Bradley
    Cleveland Browns
    1979 – 1983

  13. Larry Vargo
    November 14th, 2011 at 8:05 am #

    Larry Vargo

    Wasn’t the original offer for $114 per credited season for pre-93 players? It took over 2 months of ” tough negotiations” to get us another $10 a season?

    Did the Eller lawsuit agree to this or is that lawsuit still pending?

    Larry Vargo
    Detroit Lions, Minnesota Vikings, New York Giants
    1962 – 1967

  14. George Visger
    November 14th, 2011 at 4:34 pm #

    George Visger

    After watching the game a couple weeks back when Kris Dielman suffered a concussion and stumbled back to huddle, I noticed a ref approach him and looked to question him. It was quite obvious Dielman had his “bell rung” as they used to call it and was having problems walking, yet he continued to play. Both of the “NFL-Provided Watch Dog Doctors” on the sidelines stated their vision was blocked and they were unable to see what had happened. Somehow millions of viewers were aware of what had happened and I can only imagine all the coaches in the booth witnessed it also. I know personally that if I even scratched my nose wrong while on the field, that “Eye in the Sky” would never miss it. (Just ask those guys Roger Goodell fines for using their cell phones on the sidelines.)

    If either of those highly professional doctors were players who had missed a major assignment they would have been yanked from the field so fast their heads would be swimming. Yet it was OK to miss a major head injury while enjoying the game from the sidelines.

    As a survivor of 9 NFL-caused emergency VP shunt brain surgeries and many associated gran mal seizures, I am very much aware of the fact that gran mal seizures cause brain damage.

    I’m not vested, so I have never counted but I do have one question for the NFL:

    Who is liable for Dielman’s brain damage: The NFL or the NFL’s sideline doctors?

    CLICK THIS LINK: Mike Florio on NBC Sports: Dielman seizure highlights NFL concussion issue

    And here’s Dr. Mark Adickes on FOX Sports discussing who should be responsible for monitoring player concussions.

    George Visger
    Wildlife Biologist
    SF 49ers 1980 & 1981
    Survivor of 9 NFL-Caused Emergency VP Shunt Brain Surgeries
    Benefactor of ZERO NFL Benefits

  15. Janet & Michael C. McCoy
    November 15th, 2011 at 2:21 pm #

    Mike C. McCoy

    To Henry Bradley, contact Ron Mix. He may be able to answer some questions for you.

    Janet Brown-McCoy
    for Mike McCoy
    Green Bay Packers
    1976 – 1983

  16. Judson Flint
    November 16th, 2011 at 1:10 pm #

    Judson Flint

    What great news… for who? Those who played in the earliest years of the NFL. You deserve it! But WE all played when it was the roughest to survive any amount of time in the league. We will never get what we ALL deserve so we take whatever they give us.

    Congrats to those who made out on gaining a significant boost in their pensions. I hope it helps for the long time it’s been since they had to settle for $200 a month.

    Judson Flint
    Cleveland Browns, Buffalo Bills
    1980 – 1983

  17. Tom Beer
    November 16th, 2011 at 4:18 pm #

    Tom Beer

    How benevolent of the NFLPA to throw vested pre-93′ retirees who sacrificed so much for the game a few crumbs from their $8.5 billion dollar banquet table into the Legacy Fund. In retrospect, we were the sacrificial lambs playing football in an era when crack back blocking, line of scrimmage clipping, bump-and-run mugging, brutal head slaps, clothesline tackling, helmet-to-helmet hits and feet first wedge busting were legal techniques we had to endure every Sunday. Sadly, I witnessed both teammates’ and opponents’ careers abruptly ended due to these brutal but legal techniques. All those techniques thankfully are banned, giving today’s player a much better chance of prolonging his career.

    And how many of us were concussed on Sunday, only to be given the OK by team doctors and trainers to keep playing. Regarding our Legacy Fund “per diem”, the sum allocated to vested pre-93′ retirees is less than 3/4 of 1% of $8.5 billion and decreases in 10 years to less than 1/2 of 1% based upon projected income in 2021 of $15 billion.

    Sadly, the old Upshaw NFLPA era mantra of delay, deny and hope they die has been adopted by DeMaurice Smith and his regime.

    Tom Beer
    Denver Broncos, Boston/New England Patriots
    1967-1973

  18. John Griffin
    November 18th, 2011 at 9:25 am #

    John Griffin

    Tom Beer: Well said and it still shows some of us old-timers can still add and subtract!

    Do we owe them a thank you for these crumbs for the next 10 years? I thought the Legacy Fund was in addition to pension, so why did they not increase the pension with some of that money? Oh, we’re supposed to live on this but poor Michael Vick is filing bankruptcy and can not live on $12 million! There you go. And Drew Brees tells us again about how the old-timers made bad investment decisions.

    When I played my yearly salary was $13,000. 00 and we only received $50.00 per pre-season game. WHO AND WHAT ARE THEY REALLY GOING TO DO WITH THE $600 MILLION THAT’S LEFT OVER???

    John Griffin
    LA Rams & Denver Broncos
    1963 – 1967

  19. Henry Bradley
    November 19th, 2011 at 8:00 am #

    Henry Bradley

    I’m not happy about getting $500 more a month. I believe every player should have received at least $1,000. I think those involved should revisit the people who were making more than $200. I am glad for the older players; however, there’s still a need for everyone else.

    I may have only played 5 years but feel I deserve more than $500.

    Henry Bradley
    Cleveland Browns
    1979 – 1982

  20. Burt Grossman
    November 20th, 2011 at 4:22 pm #

    Burt Grossman

    Will our benefits – along with retroactive increases – be paid in the December checks or in January?

    Burt Grossman
    San Diego Chargers, Philadelphia Eagles
    1989 -1994

  21. John Griffin
    November 22nd, 2011 at 8:41 pm #

    John Griffin

    Just how many of us old timers prior to 1960 were even able to play 10 years? I don’t think there are that many so way are the using this 10-year example? That’s just to make it look as though they have done something great and we need to pat them on the back.

    I was at my doctor today having a shot of cortisone injected in my knee due to arthritis and he said, “I read where they finally signed off and have given an increase to the pensions for the older players – that’s great.” I had to laugh and he asked why I was laughing so I told him, “Yeah, they increased it by $124.00 per season played per month.” Then we both had a real good laugh.

    So the public is getting the wrong message thinking the NFL and the Union have really helped all the old players.

    I have a suggestion for the millions of dollars they’re going to have left; Why doesn’t the NFL take some of the billions of dollars they are making and find a way to build a retirement home or assisted living facility for the old players so they would have a place to go that would be safe? The way I see it, as far as the NFL is concerned, we were all going to be dead at an early age anyway so they shouldn’t have to deal with too many of us, right?

    John Griffin
    LA Rams & Denver Broncos
    1963 – 1967

  22. John Griffin
    December 6th, 2011 at 12:16 am #

    John Griffin

    Well, December 1st has come and gone and not a pension increase or communication has been heard or seen. It is like when you were a child and your parents promised you something just to get you to be quiet and you sat quietly and when it came time for the prize they always had an excuse; but they at least gave you an excuse. The NLFPA or the NFL Alumni have just left us high and dry. They already have their money to enjoy a Merry Christmas and have parties and golf tournaments. But those of us who are waiting for the scraps just have to try and make do. The NFLPA keeps sending me letters and e-mails asking me to pay my dues and so does the NFL Alumni; that’s $200 out of our budget we sure don’t have right now for the Holidays. IF I PAY MY DUES, we won’t have anything to even buy a few gifts or a little food to celebrate the Holidays!

    HOPE ALL YOU ROOKIES, FIRST-ROUND DRAFT PICKS, ACTIVE PLAYERS AND UNION LEADERS AT THE NFLPA ALL SLEEP WELL THIS HOLIDAY SEASON. MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL AND TO ALL A GOOD NIGHT!

    John Griffin
    LA Rams & Denver Broncos
    1963 – 1967

  23. Burt Grossman
    December 6th, 2011 at 8:22 am #

    Burt Grossman Cover

    It is sad that our Union representation has no problem sending out dues requests on time as well as BS benefit announcements. Yet as the season draws to a close, we still haven’t received anything and I can assure you that as January 1st rolls around, we still won’t have anything tangible – except, of course, another borderline illiterate email update from Sam that says absolutely nothing.

    Burt Grossman
    San Diego Chargers, Philadelphia Eagles
    1989 -1994

  24. Janet & Michael C. McCoy
    December 7th, 2011 at 10:06 am #

    Mike C. McCoy

    We just talked with the Benefits Department at the NFL and still no answers with regard to the “NEW BENEFIT.” No date as to when the benefit form will be mailed. No word on what the benefit will be when the letter is received.

    I asked if we are now waiting until February or March before we see something. Again, same story: Should be done before that but still no real answers.

    Janet Brown-McCoy
    for Mike McCoy
    Green Bay Packers
    1976 – 1983

  25. Tony Furjanic
    December 8th, 2011 at 9:47 pm #

    Tony Furjanic Notre Dame

    As a Pre-93 Non-Vested former player, it really makes me sick to hear about any former player from the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s – or even 80’s – who gave everything they had on the field of battle. Who came to work no matter what they felt like. As long as they had a pulse, could breath, they came to work. WHY can’t the NFL, NFLPA, NFL Alumni take care of us old warriors? It makes me sick.

    I am proud I was able to play 3 years in the NFL. I am not proud the way the former players are treated by the current NFL players, owners and current Union management team.

    Tony Furjanic
    Buffalo Bills 1986 – 1987
    Miami Dolphins 1988

  26. Gordon Wright
    December 10th, 2011 at 8:08 am #

    Gordon Wright - NY Jets

    The Injured Reserves have a lot in common with the 99% who are protesting the 1%. I worked super hard for the NFL Teams Philadelphia Eagles 1967 & 1968 to be exact. They have yet to pay me for the 1968 season while I was on the IR Roster.

    Miki Yaras-Davis has seen the document. Gene Upshaw witnessed the document. Then they proceeded to use those documents to benefit or enrich themselves.

    Even more food for thought!

    Gordon Wright
    Philadelphia Eagles & New York Jets
    1967 – 1970

  27. John Griffin
    December 12th, 2011 at 2:58 pm #

    John Griffin

    Excuse me – I just read where DeMaurice is to get a $1 million dollar bonus!!!

    For what? For giving us $124.00? Who could possibly have gone along with this? This is truly a slap in the face of every retired player living or who has passed away.

    Someone help me make sense of this please!

    John Griffin
    LA Rams & Denver Broncos
    1963 – 1967

  28. Burt Grossman
    January 4th, 2012 at 9:49 am #

    Burt Grossman

    As predicted, January 1st came and went with nothing in the way of increases. The season has pretty well come and gone and the CBA was signed last summer …and we still haven’t seen a dime.

    Just exactly what do these people get paid to do all day over at the NFLPA?

    Burt Grossman
    San Diego Chargers, Philadelphia Eagles
    1989 -1994

  29. Mike Davis
    January 16th, 2012 at 9:33 am #

    Mike Davis

    To all the Former Players…

    Many of you know me. You know I worked hard during the 82′ & 87′ strikes, as well as doing what I can in these present day events. I say this with complete respect. If you do not know what it takes to be vested, then you’ve certainly not have been paying attention. It’s always been 4 years pre 1993 with a twist. In the 50’s – 60’s, it was 4 solid years and later it became 3 years + 4 games that made up the 4 years. Post-1993, it’s 3 years. Are we clear? For better or for worse, it is what it is… No changes there.

    As for the Legacy Fund payments and the election you must choose, that’s on you. My advice: Be smart about it and follow your own wisdom. Oh yeah – By the way, there is now a retroactive pay feature added into the mix. Just so you know and won’t have doubts regarding this. Because now you know!

    Here’s where my heart hurts. Guys “saying they took their retirment early” and now they’re getting something – not much but something.” No comment. But it does have a sound of sour grapes. Please look at the positive side.

    The all-time wrinkle is how some of the Hall of Famers (just some of the guys) feel entitled to get MORE than other retired players. I respect these guys and always will; to be named to the Hall of Fame is an honor. To me, they were great players but in reality, just teammates and or players I played against. And in most cases, I outperformed a lot of the HOF guys. I played 11 years and just don’t see myself any differently from a player who played 1 year or 25 years. Pre-1993 OR post-1993.

    My point is this: To plead ignorance on issues in these days of information technology is a cop out. To be bitter about the past is a waste of energy and emotion that gets us nowhere other than getting consumed in the past. For once – this being a NEW Year with a 10-year CBA on the table – Why don’t we all just stay together and united with a positive attitude for the future?

    I respect each and every one of you and have NO ill will toward anyone or their opinions. My problem is with those guys who always try to knock the wheels off the wagon, do nothing to help putting them back on but then always complain the wheels are off the wagon – by their own doing.

    My entire career, I’ve always had my compass set on how can I help with the severe injustices I saw coming into the League in 1977 and living it. My question was – and still is to this date – how can I make it better? I realized “I” could not. It’s “We” who can.

    Be well, Cheers for the New Year
    Mike L. Davis
    Oakland Raiders
    1977 – 1987

  30. Mike Davis
    January 16th, 2012 at 11:24 am #

    Mike Davis Block

    Bert,

    It’s been my experience that when a deal is minted it is never immediately. Language and Law and Guidlines need to be applied.

    When you say increases have not been given over the course of the signed NFL season, you’re only speaking a 1/4 truth.
    For all to know: The retroactive pay has already gone out to players who are on Total & Permanent Disability; those payments went out well over a month ago. The monthly checks following have been increased.

    As far as the Legacy plan payments, of course there’s a ton of paperwork to be applied as well as finding addresses of players. These things take time as federal laws apply, etc. It’s time for TRUE Facts!

    You make it sound as if the NFLPA is sinister and complicite in willfuly holding up payments. I’ll be the first to say you’re wrong and this is going by the legal book. Don’t be a wheel wagon thief. Let the wagon roll towards the bargained agreements. Yes, I agree former players want and need what’s on the come now. But it just doesn’t work that way. Given time, it will be done. Rhetoric helps no one and clouds the issues.

    Mike Davis
    Oakland Raiders
    1977 – 1987

  31. RobertinSeattle
    January 16th, 2012 at 1:03 pm #

    RobertinSeattle

    Mike –

    Thanks for your comments – your years of experience with the Union certainly show through. Having an open forum for sharing opinions and knowledge is more important now than ever. As you point out, in this day-and-age of information technology, there are fewer excuses to get information and actions done quickly. And I guess that’s where I’d have to disagree a little on how things are getting done for all the retired guys.

    While I’ll be the first to always admit that I’m not a retired football player and certainly much later to this game than many of you who have been at it for decades, sometimes having an outsider’s perspective from 10 miles up can bring some fresh points of view.

    I think the biggest issue from my own observations has to do with the point you make about living in modern times. It cuts both ways. With all their growing billions, the NFL and the NFLPA have access to some of the best technology and people along with all the money and resources to make it all happen. I don’t believe we can give them any excuses to take as long as they’ve already taken to get information – and checks – out to the retirees. They obviously have the best lawyers too and last time I looked, DeMaurice Smith was a highly-paid Beltway attorney running the Union. And as many of the comments have pointed out, they knew as far back as late last summer what needed to get done. Notifications could have been prepared and ready and letters could have gone out a few weeks after the CBA was settled. If, in fact, the Union claims to have represented the retirees’ interests during the negotiations (albeit secretively with no real input from retirees), then they certainly should have known all the details enough to have conveyed it clearly to its membership immediately. No excuses.

    When the CBA was finalized last year, active players were instantly put back on the payroll, lawyers were paid, the season resumed – and DeMaurice Smith even got his $1 million bonus. But you can’t tell me that with the ability to get all that done so quickly, the League and the Union couldn’t also have taken care of retirees’ issues at the same time. Instead, these guys are now looking at the end of a full playing season and heading into another Super Bowl with more delays and little clarification on the details of who, what, when, where and why of retirees’ benefits. All it would have taken was a single notification with all the details spelled out by a real leader within an organization that claims to represent retired players. Instead, we now have posts and comments from retired players and their widows about their frustrations in trying to get answers and clarification, let alone just getting their calls returned.

    BTW – considering the fact that the PA had their butts handed to them for the Players Inc. lawsuit and they had already gone through a detailed gathering of current addresses – as well as the fact that they certainly know where to send you a renewal letter each year for their membership drive – is confirming addresses in this modern age even a valid argument? Every year, we publish the NFLPA’s LM-2 that discloses those high salaries for employees at the NFLPA. With all those smart, well-paid staffers running around, shouldn’t retired players have some basic level of expectation and performance from “their” Union?

    We’ve also been blamed in the past for complaining too much and not enough action. But it’s one thing to be the guy who intentionally sets a fire in the theater and then yells, “Fire!”; it’s another to be the guy who finds and points out the problems first so you can see them clearly and fix them. We’re now starting off a new year with an avalanche of lawsuits against both the League and the Union. If the Union was really so good in taking care of all you men who gave your all to make this game what it is today and what it will become tomorrow, why would there be so many lawsuits and so much dissension from most of the men who don’t work inside the League or the Union?

    In the short time that I’ve been involved with this battle, I have to say that I’ve never seen such callous disregard for human life, all for the sake of keeping every last dollar left on the table. That’s been the single thing that’s bothered me the most of everything I’ve seen. For all too many of these people who are contolling the money, giving up a little money wouldn’t even be that noticeable; at their level of earning power (many multiillionaire current players included), it’s money they’d already be giving up in income taxes anyway. Personally, I’d rather give my money to the people who really need it than to Uncle Sam. But then, that’s just me…

    Robert

  32. John Griffin
    January 16th, 2012 at 2:17 pm #

    John Griffin

    Well said, Robert. And thank you for standing up for us. We really need the public to see and hear the stories of struggles that the retired players are facing and let them know where the hundreds and thousands of dollars they are spending their hard-earned money to buy tickets and season tickets to come and see the game and be reminded of the greats of the NFL that they idolize and buy memorabilia goes.

    I still get at least 2 letters a week asking me to sign a 3×5 index card so that a young or old fan and complete their collection of each team. I gladly respond and do not ask for a dime. This to me is a tribute from someone asking for my autograph and to be a part of the bigger picture. I wonder how many young or old fans ask DeMaurice Smith for his autograph and then how much would he ask them to pay for it?

    John Griffin
    LA Rams & Denver Broncos
    1963 – 1967

  33. Dave Pear
    January 16th, 2012 at 2:35 pm #

    Dave Pear

    Robert,

    I agree with what you said totally! Retired players left in a lurch by their Union (especially with disability issues) are yelling and screaming at the Union for breaching their fiduciary duty!

    The only players that may not be screaming (yet) are those receiving full disability (T&P Degenerative – or the new name Inactive A).

    My family (along with so many other retired players, ESPECIALLY the pre-1993 players) have long been swindled out of their earned disability benefits.

    The League has owed my family disability benefits starting in 1983 when I was denied the Line-of-Duty benefits even after their own doctors declared me football-disabled.

    With all due respect to my former teammate, Mike Davis – if he was cheated and swindled out of his full disability from the union and never received one penny from these crooks, how would he feel and what would be his response to these gangsters?

    This is a rethorical question and requires some thought because I guarantee you Mike would be screaming at these low-life pretend union people at the top of his lungs if he wasn’t already receiving his full disability (that he has certainly earned and deserves).

    Regards,
    Dave Pear

  34. Mike Davis
    January 17th, 2012 at 9:49 am #

    Mike Davis

    With all due respect! I have gone on the record saying our system is not perfect… And needs much work, Then and Now.

    The GLA fiasco brought tears to my eyes. We all got our asses kicked on that issue. Yes, we pointed the lawsuit at the right party. No, we didn’t get all the parties: EA sports, John Madden etc. That is why I had no real satisfaction of settleing the case and accepting my share of the damages. It was all typical accounting: Dangle Money in front of the players affected, case closed and over. The Damages paid out were in a word: Pennies. When we could have scooped up all involved and came out with 100’s of millions. But then that has always been the case, hasn’t it? Show me the Money?!! I will not – and never will – make a Drew Brees statment as he once discribed us as former players. Insulting is putting it mildly.

    Am I T&P? Yes. Did I work, have a career and invested my money after Football? Yes.

    Did I give the ultimate sacrifise for my Fellow Players? Yes I did. Dave, you know what I speak of in this regard. I still ask your confidence in this issue until I’m ready to speak of it. Thank you.

    With all that said, I say this: The same rules apply. No one wants to make mistakes in handling the Legacy Fund payments/elections. Disability and pension payments and elgibity.. This goes for The NFLPA, The Bert Bell/Pete Rozelle Retirement Plan Office, as well as the NFL. And in some cases consultation with the IRS. Therein lies time frame and delays.

    I point my finger at no one. What was bargained for is on the books. It will come. Let’s look at the current CBA as it affects pre-93 players as well as what other forward benefits we have in the entire CBA As Former Players and what it all means based on certain dates of the CBA and in leagal details.

    I stand united to the cause.

    I will be in Las Vegas for the meetings. Very much looking forward to it.

    Mike Davis
    Raiders
    1977-1987

  35. Gordon Wright
    January 17th, 2012 at 12:01 pm #

    Gordon Wright - NY Jets

    Thank You, Robert. Well said.

    Gordon Wright
    Philadelphia Eagles & New York Jets
    1967 – 1970