Gregg Bingham: My $600,000 Headache

Jun 21, 2013

Gregg B Surgery
OK. Got your attention now? That guy with all the staples on the back of his head is… me. This picture was taken four years ago in 2009 after I finally came out of a 3-week coma. During that coma, I went in and out of consciousness but still remember nothing to this day. At one point, the doctors made a quick decision to operate which probably saved my life. Not many of my old football buddies know about this life-changing event in my life. But I’ve decided to tell everyone about it now for several reasons. Mostly, it’s because like some of the earlier posts have been saying, I’M MAD AS HELL AND I’M NOT GOING TO TAKE IT ANY MORE! And whether you want to believe it or not, everything that happens in life is connected in one way or another. I hope that by telling my own story, I can convince more of you retired players that the Dryer vs NFL (Films) Settlement offer is a really bad deal in more ways than one and that each of you needs to get off the couch and at the very least, vote against it here on Dave’s Blog. And then either Opt Out yourself or hire a decent attorney to fill out the paperwork for you. If you end up not doing anything and losing your rights, that might not be the only thing you’ll end up losing.
Many of you have seen my comments over the past few weeks speaking out against the NFL Films Settlement deal since it first came out. And I’ve already enlisted a lawyer to advise me on it as well as to send in my Opt Out paperwork for me (I also decided to retain Jason Luckasevic at Goldberg Persky White).
So here’s the deal with this picture: My family finally got brave enough to show this to me a little while ago. That’s ME after I woke up from my coma…
It seems your blog is gaining a broader audience nationally now so I figured it would be a “shock” picture to wake everyone into reality:
245 NFL starts and all I got to show for it was this set of “steel football laces” on my head.

  1. $500,000 in hospital bills and numerous doctor bills;
  2. 2 weeks in ICU; plus
  3. 3 weeks in heavily monitored care (3 of those first 5 weeks while in a coma)*; then
  4. 5 more weeks in rehab just to learn how to boil water again without burning myself.

* When I say coma, I wasn’t completely unconscious for all of those 3 weeks. It’s just that I have absolutely not one nanosecond of memory of this time – NONE! What actually happened was that on April 12th, a light flickered in my brain and I got out of bed and just started to stumble around and asked one of the nurses, “What happened to me?!!” She managed to get me back in bed and she handed me a booklet with my entire history from when they cut off the back of my head. I spent the next week studying it just to try to get my bearings of where I was and what had happened to me. The way I articulate it now is it’s sort of like that part in Terminator 2 (only in reverse and for weeks not seconds like in the movie) where Arnold Schwarzenegger was lowering himself into the molten steel and you see his “lights” going out. You know: All that blinking and sputtering and then… Zap! That’s how is was for me. But only in reverse as they were coming on and not going off!
On top of the $500,000+ price tag for my stay and my surgery:

  • all my co-pays were out-of-pocket;
  • all my deductibles were out-of-pocket ;
  • and another $36,000 in rehab bills all out-of-pocket (yep – declined by my insurance company!).

Totaling over another $100,000!!!
And I got ZERO from the NFL, ZERO from the Mackey 88 Plan (which I was led to believe was exactly for things like this), and ZERO from the NFLPA.
Oh – But I did manage to get my insurance premiums doubled to $1,400 a month! And now I don’t even have the option of shopping for a better rate because of my pre-existing conditions dating all the way back to my playing days through to this last brain surgery – Thanks, NFL! Once again, EVERYONE pays. Except the NFL!
BOTTOM LINE: Like George Visger (and Dave and most of the rest of you), benefactor of ZERO NFL benefits of any kind whatsoever.
And just how does all this tie into the NFL Films Settlement?
Well, we can start with their warm-and-fuzzy “Greater Good Fund.” I have no doubt that my coma and surgery and rehab were all football-related. And if the NFL and the NFLPA and all their wonderful plans and programs haven’t already figured out how to even help me or any of you other guys out there with benefits that really mean anything to all of us, do any of you really believe that another new program is going to help the majority of us older players now? And the NFL is offering to use what little of OUR money they’ve stolen from us to create one more charity that will do most of us no good whatsoever.
But here’s my real issue with this deal: If we give up all our visual rights to the NFL for what amounts to nothing, then what message are we sending both to the NFL AND those attorneys who are selling us down the river for $7 million in legal fees? And if that’s the message you really want to send, then how many of you expect to be treated any differently if you have those very same lawyers representing you in your personal concussion lawsuits? I can just see it now: The NFL offers them $500,000 in “legal fees” on each suit and you’ll get a lifetime gift certificate to McDonald’s along with a free membership in one more shiny new benefits package (Maybe they can be honest and name it “The NFL ZERO Plan“? Truth in advertising, right?). The NFL will simply say, “Well, your Honor. They were stupid enough to take the same deal with their images in NFL Films. So if it was good enough then, it’s good enough for this Settlement.”
Each and every one of us needs to send a loud and clear message to the NFL and all their lawyers NOW! This is one battle we can win to finally regain some of what’s been stolen from each of us over the years. As many of you have also said, if we’re not going to get anything out of this anyway, why not fight all the way? We have nothing to lose, right? We can’t let this go on any longer.
I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how quickly we’ve already reached nearly 400 500 votes (with just 8 votes FOR the deal!). But we need to get even more votes so we can send a very clear message to the NFL and the judge. So tell all your old teammates. Like that earlier post said: VOTE NOW! And don’t forget to OPT OUT too!
[yop_poll id=”2″]
Greg BinghamGregg Bingham
Houston Oilers
1973 – 1984

11 Responses so far | Have Your Say!

  1. Lou Piccone
    June 21st, 2013 at 3:58 pm #

    Lou Piccone

    Hey Bing,

    Whew! Man, are you one hurtin’ Cowboy!

    Can I vote again? ;-)

    Well, as your old beachcombing buddy, I’m glad that you lent your visual to the problem. You know that I know and a lot of other players do, too. What’s a matta with you guys? Don’t you believe your eyes or your brothers? Or are you part of the apathetic, dumbed-down-beaten-up-got-no-more-fight, Not-For-Long (NFL) Crew?!!

    Take a stand while you can still stand up! I’m with you, Bing!

    Let’s Cruise,
    Lou #89
    New York Jets 1974 – 1976
    Buffalo Bills 1977 – 1983

  2. Greg Larson
    June 22nd, 2013 at 6:47 pm #

    Greg Larson

    NFL Films deal stinks! I don’t understand how these people can just forget about the old players who built this great game, playing hurt every game and then having surgery in the offseason.

    This is embarrassing.

    Greg Larson
    New York Giants
    1961 – 1973
    13 years and 14 surgeries later

  3. RobertinSeattle
    June 22nd, 2013 at 8:53 pm #

    Here’s that Terminator 2 scene for all you Arnold fans out there:

  4. Ron Pritchard
    June 23rd, 2013 at 11:30 am #

    Ron Pritchard

    Keep up the good writing, Gregg! You were a warrior then and still are today.

    I can get so angry sometimes thinking about our football brethren who want benefits (rightfully so) but do nothing to help their cause!

    Thanks, my brother, for your transparency!

    Ron Pritchard
    Houston Oilers, Cincinnati Bengals
    1969 – 1977

  5. Erick Mann
    June 24th, 2013 at 1:49 pm #

    Erick Mann

    Gregg Bingham,

    You ALL need someone who is Legal Specific to review your Contract BEFORE YOU SIGN for YOUR BENEFIT, NOT the NFL!

    Problem here: Gregg Bingham is NOW being REACTIVE when he should have been PROACTIVE!

    You’re being sold a bill of goods by others that only fleece the lining of their pockets, NOT YOURS!

    ‘If we give up all our visual rights to the NFL for what amounts to nothing, then what message are we sending both to the NFL AND those attorneys who are selling us down the river for $7 million in legal fees? The NFL will simply say, “Well, your Honor. They were stupid enough to take the same deal with their images in NFL Films. So if it was good enough then, it’s good enough for this Settlement.”’

    Would you do business with an NFL SUPER BOWL Champion Businessman?

    Just saying.

    Erick Mann
    Houston TX

  6. Ron Pritchard
    June 24th, 2013 at 2:03 pm #

    Ron Pritchard Bengals

    Yesterday I went to the movie Man Of Steel. I happen to notice three national brand name retailers on the screen during the two-hour plus film; I had no idea who was the payer or payee for those great spots up on the big screen.

    When I got home, I read about this particular movie and its apparently successful Fathers’ Day openings across the world. They stated that Man Of Steel grossed $196.7 million for the weekend. If by simple math, a ticket averaged $9 per 3D seat, that was probably about 22 million viewers for the movie. It led me to call a friend in the motion picture industry to ask him a question: So who’s paying whom for those spots in this movie? He told me advertising like that was a huge moneymaker for the filmmakers. They call it bold product placement. He stated that Sears, I-Hop and 7-Eleven could have paid as much as $90 million for the screen time they received. When all is said and done, this particular film will most likely be seen by over 1 billion people worldwide.

    I said all that to get to this point: We former players are being asked to give up our images to the NFL so they can sell them and we get nothing in return. They make millions from the NFL Films vault every year and refuse to share a portion with the stars of the show! This is American Greed at its best – or lowest. They get to sell our images for others to see to build their brand name and reap all the benefits. In doing that, they are basically stealing from us and we should think that this is a good deal? I think not!

    Men, keep voting “NO” on the image settlement.

    Ron Pritchard
    Houston Oilers, Cincinnati Bengals
    1969 – 1977

  7. Ed White
    June 24th, 2013 at 7:50 pm #

    Ed White

    Fellow Retired NFL Players:

    This is a very pivotal moment in our history. The Dryer Case can make a difference. I believe everyone who ever played contributed to NFL Films and should be paid fairly for it. Everyone on a team contributes to that team’s highlights. Whether we were backups or starters, we should not be forced to give up our rights for nothing. That is why I oppose this settlement.

    I want everyone to know that I choose to be excluded from the settlement. I must OPT OUT of this settlement, because I do not agree to let the NFL use my identity with NO compensation. I do not think it is fair that the NFL continues to make money from using my identity and yours. I believe this settlement would do exactly that. The settlement would allow the NFL to continue to use my name, nickname, autographs, voice, videos of my play in NFL games, photographs, signatures and more – just know that the NFL has already used these without my permission and I refuse to give them permission to continue to do so. I believe this settlement would do exactly that.

    This is only one important reason that I oppose this settlement; there are others that are just as bad. It is time to OPT OUT of this stinky deal.

    The other five retired players and I who started Dryer vs NFL in 2009 have been accused of fighting this settlement for personal gain. This is 100% false! We want ALL PLAYERS to be paid fairly for being used in NFL Films. We have never asked to be paid any differently than anyone else.

    I am also posting the form you need to sign and send in to opt out of this settlement. (Download and print this, then fill it out and send it in BEFORE August 30, 2013.)

    Player (or deceased player’s estate representative) instructions to Opt Out:

    Mail this completed “Request To Be Excluded” by U.S. Mail (you cannot email it) postmarked by August 30, 2013 to:

    NFL Retired Players Publicity Rights Settlement Exclusion
    P.O. Box 2899
    Faribault, MN 55021-8699.

    It is recommended but not required that you mail this U.S. Mail “Return Receipt Requested” to receive delivery verification, keep a copy of your Request, and send a copy to your attorney if you are represented by one in Dryer v. NFL.

    Ed White
    17-year NFL Vet
    Minnesota Vikings, San Diego Chargers
    1969 – 1985

  8. Lou Piccone
    June 24th, 2013 at 8:22 pm #

    Lou Piccone


    As we move forward, we can’t look back because all we did was lose our money, esteem, self-worth,health and sanity in the afterlife of the NFL. What people just don’t get yet is that we’re the first generation that has revealed the carnage of the NFL and fairly soon we will all be dead. And they (NFL) will have accomplished their goal of the negotiation tactic of Delay, Deny no matter what they say AND THEY WILL DIE SOON because they (US) just can’t keep playing this game! Well, they may have all the money but guess what? We have our images – our rights to those images. And oops. Hey – don’t play those clips unless you pay us our chips. I don’t care how much it is. We can stop them from using the history that they financed and we built with our Bodies, Minds and Souls. Basically, we sold our souls doing anything to compete and they took full advantage of our programmed mindset and the competitive spirit in each and every one of us and when they were done with us? You can EACH answer that question FOR YOURSELF. There is no doubt that most of us would do it again because that’s who we are: Warriors. So let’s get LEGAL ON THEIR ASS. JUST SAY NO. OPT OUT. DON’T GIVE THEM THE SATISFACTION OF RAMRODDING ANOTHER BS PROGRAM WORTH AN AMOUNT WE CAN’T EVEN IDENTIFY.

    But hey – guess what? THE ATTORNEYS KNOW HOW MUCH THEY’RE GETTING. THIS IS SO EMBARRASSING. You know that they answered the call and put it on paper….did you look at the deal… the program. WOW! After the clawbacks and punishment to the class for the guys who opt out and maybe sue them outside of this case and they pay the attorneys, and then the Advertising Agency that’s doing the formation of the “I don’t Know” program with the “don’t know who you are” Retired Players to fund the “Common Good Fund” comprised of 20,000 plus players. And doing this all without Local, Regional, National Commitment on Paper for the participation from the Teams, their Logos and the National Scope of the NFL Logo.

    Let’s see. Can you say: NFL Alumni Program? Can you say: What happened to $5 – $6 Million Dollars. And can you say” “No Accountability?” Come on, Man. This thing smells to high heaven. We know that we’re closer to the Grave than those Glory Days but let’s go down fighting anyway! What do we have to lose? Opt Out. Shut it Down! NFL Channel is 24/7 NFL Football. What do you think they show? What if they can’t show from 2006 Back? UH-OH! Hey let’s see them show the guys that want this program and let’s say there are 1,000 of them. UH-OH – tough to cut out all the guys that make up the Big Plays…..the Big Games …..the History of the NFL and that’s WHAT AND WHO WE ARE!!!

    I know….let’s have a Ross Perot Flash Card Presentation of this program done by a professional outfit and collect 10 bucks from every former player that make up the 20,000 interested Retired Players. Let’s say we get 2,000 of the guys donate 10 Bucks. $20K – that should be enough for someone to take this Program and Break It Down for what it is.
    Anybody in? Just another thought. We have some time and maybe a big REVEAL will help assess our wonderful deal so we can do the right thing! Think about this: They don’t pay us anything FOR THE RIGHT TO USE OUR IMAGES. If they were already in the right and had no fear of any LAW, then why would they still need to have us sign away our rights forever. Or could it just be that we are so close to a payday and have been so divided for so long and they have used their money and Bully Tactics for so long that they believe they only have to do it 2 more times (The Concussion Case and the Dryer Case) and WE’RE RID OF THE RETIRED PLAYERS FOR GOOD AND FINALLY OWN THE GAME! I Believe the “New Deal” the Active Players did just that: “Sign their rights to their images away.” Oooohhh – that hurts.


    Well, I know that this is a rant but I just had to get it all out!

    Thanks for listening!

    And Hey Ed,

    Nice Write! Thanks for the Opt Out Form – that sure makes it E-ZEE! And Ed, those of us who have been following the path of this case truly understand the intent of the Original Plaintiffs and know where the group’s “Heart” is. Thanks for the Heads Up Play on behalf of “All Of Us.”

    NY Jets, Buffalo Bills
    1974 – 1983

  9. Ralph Perretta
    June 26th, 2013 at 9:07 pm #

    Ralph Perretta

    Hey Big Ed,

    Thanks for the clarification. It was really helpful. I sent my form in today!

    Ralph Perretta
    San Diego Chargers
    1975 – 1980

  10. Mike Augustyniak
    June 27th, 2013 at 8:54 am #

    Mike Augustyniak


    Thank you for your continued postings on the issues that we are all facing.

    And thank you to those real men for their open, honest and inspiring comments. Not a one has lost their heart or loyalty for their teammates.

    I just mailed my Opt-out paperwork a couple of minutes ago. Thank you for the reminder.

    Mike Augustyniak
    New York Jets
    1981 – 1983

  11. Susan B Purdue class of 74
    November 7th, 2013 at 9:58 am #

    Read this after watching a tv fox tony Dorsett interview. Remember asking Gregg at the Purdue bar “the pig” in the 70’s what it was like to tackle a player. He pointed at a brick wall and said, “see that wall. Imagine running as fast as you can straight into it.” So sorry to see the long term effects upon these guys..devastating to them and families. A lot of risk taking .