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 Lions asst says NFL can do better helping adj to retirement 
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Post Lions asst says NFL can do better helping adj to retirement
DetNews wrote:
May 9, 2012 at 1:00 am
Lions assistant says NFL can do better helping players adjust to retirement
By Chris McCosky
The Detroit News

Allen Park— If NFL commissioner Roger Goodell wants a more complete understanding of what might have led three former players to commit suicide in the last 15 months, he should sit down with Lions receivers coach Shawn Jefferson.

He would hear a starkly different point of view. Jefferson played for 13 years in the NFL — he was Junior Seau's teammate on the star-crossed San Diego team for four seasons — and has been coaching since 2004.

Jefferson doesn't pretend to be a medical doctor or a shrink. He doesn't pretend to know the impact concussions and brain trauma have on human behavior. He's not trying to belittle the league's efforts to study, prevent, reduce and treat head injuries.

But, with all his heart, he believes concussions aren't killing these former players.

"It's not the depression that kills you," Jefferson said. "It's trying to make that transition to real life without that support group you've had in place your whole career. The depression is a result of not being around your guys anymore; that's what kills you.

"The depression comes about because you don't have that structure anymore. You aren't walking into that locker room and chatting with your locker mates. You're not in that fire on Sunday with those guys. You are at the door knocking, but nobody will let you in. You don't have that sense of purpose. For guys who retire, there is a dark side to that transition period."

Jefferson is speaking from experience. He thought his post-football life would be grand. He had saved and invested his money wisely. He had a young family to tend to. He figured he could happily live out his days fishing and, as he put it, "living the salt life."

A year into it, he was struggling. The void, the absence of the game and all of its attending structures, became increasingly unbearable.

"I was getting up every day and going fishing," he said. "After a while I was going by myself because my buddies had to work. I would just keep pushing the limits. I would go 50 miles out into the ocean. The next day, I'd say let's go out to where the big boys are and I'd go out 100 miles. But it's not the same. You just can't replace that feeling, that adrenaline rush you get playing the game."

A soldier's alienation

This is a common problem for athletes. It's why players like Brett Favre, Michael Jordan and so many others struggle to give up the game. They can't find the same intensity, exhilaration or adulation in any other activity. The skills that made them a success on the field aren't always useful in real life.

"What are they going to translate it to?" Jefferson said. "Are you going to tell a civilian that you are ready to go to battle with them? They'd look at you like you are crazy."

To hear Jefferson explain the rush of game day is like reading the last sentence in James Joyce's "Ulysses" — one breathtaking, roller-coaster ride.

"There's nothing you can do to replace that feeling you get when you are on that bus and you are in Wisconsin and you are driving to Lambeau Field and the smell of the brats is coming through the windows and you are driving through a subdivision and suddenly there are thousands of fans in their driveways, barbecuing and holding up signs and you are trying to get through the gates and you hear the boos and then you are finally in the place with the Lombardi ghost — you can feel the ghosts in that stadium — and you walk out on that field and you hear that roar; nothing can replace that."

The alienation of the retired player, Jefferson said, is similar to what a soldier feels when he's back from combat.

"People in the outside world don't know what it's like to go into battle with a guy," he said. "Civilians who haven't been to war have no idea what it's like to be in a foxhole with a guy, to depend on that guy to save your life. Basically, that's what football players do, they depend on each other to save their butts every week. You develop a bond and when you retire, that bond is gone and you crave for it."

Jefferson was thrown a lifeline, the type of lifeline he believes NFL officials should finance and promote as much as they do player safety. He was asked by former Lions coach Steve Mariucci to take a coaching internship.

"It was by the grace of God that Mooch called me out of the blue," Jefferson said. "I was out of the game a year and he said, 'Hey, what're you doing?' He asked if I was interested in an internship and I jumped at it.

"This was the rope somebody threw me when I was drowning in high water."

Employees for life

Jefferson believes part of the solution is for the league to take measures to keep retired players around the game. He's not saying give them all jobs. He's saying give them access. Establish internships — coaching, consulting, commentating. Or, more simply, make them feel they are still welcomed, still part of the game.

"You don't know how much good it could've done if Junior Seau could have stayed around the game," Jefferson said. "If he would have come to my practice on a Monday, I would have told him I have a team meeting on Friday and he had 15 minutes to tell the team anything he wanted. He would have felt important. He would have been on that stage again and everybody would have been in tune with him. He would have been thinking about it all week. Can you imagine what that would have done for a guy like that?

"The NFL doesn't get it. They are looking in the wrong places."

Here's one of many ideas Jefferson has: When a player retires, give him a card, a sort of lifetime NFL membership card. The card would give him access to team practice facilities and stadiums.

"This would allow guys to go watch practice at a facility," Jefferson said. "He's not going to steal ideas or share ideas or anything like that. He's just going to watch practice. He's just going to smell the game, get on the grass, be around the guys. That would mean the world to retired players.

"The mere fact that he had that card, the mere fact that he knew he could be around football, would change things for him. You don't understand the change of mind-set that would take place there. He would know he's still part of the NFL, that they still care about him, that his presence is wanted. If they did that, those guys would feel like employees for life even though they're not getting paid."

Jefferson applauds the league's stance on player safety. He understands the concern about head injuries.

"But," he said, "find out what triggers the depression and what triggers the depression is not being around the guys anymore, not being on the field anymore. Mother Nature has taken away that one great asset that she gave you and changed your life. That triggers the depression. The blows to the head don't. It takes something to trigger it. I know. I have been through it."

chris.mccosky@detnews.com

twitter.com/cmccosky

From The Detroit News: http://www.detroitnews.com/article/2012 ... z1uNnqkYfe

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May 9th, 2012, 10:35 am
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Post Re: Lions asst says NFL can do better helping adj to retirem
I've said for years that the NFL should have a pension in place. If these guys gave up 10% of their paycheck in exchange for a guaranteed pension of $50k is per year for the rest of their lives, plus healthcare, they'd be better off off and so would the game.


May 9th, 2012, 10:53 am
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Post Re: Lions asst says NFL can do better helping adj to retirem
I respect what Jefferson had to say. But you know what? Boo freakin' hoo. Retirement is tough for a bunch of people, not just football players. And they should be far more financially set in their retirement than 99% of the nation. Other people have to learn to adjust to difficulties during their retirement, and nobody is throwing them a "life line".

This is the life they chose, this is the career they wanted. If they can't stand being away from the cheers, the comraderie, the celebrity status, then I'm sorry but that's just tough. At least they got to experience all of that. Most people don't.

Get over it.

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May 9th, 2012, 11:12 am
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Post Re: Lions asst says NFL can do better helping adj to retirem
wjb21ndtown wrote:
I've said for years that the NFL should have a pension in place. If these guys gave up 10% of their paycheck in exchange for a guaranteed pension of $50k is per year for the rest of their lives, plus healthcare, they'd be better off off and so would the game.


I agree with this, there needs to be a forced saving program given the financial issues that follows so many players careers.

In addition, there does need to be a transition program. These guys haven't had to think for themselves their whole adult life for the most part. They have coaches and itineraries that tell them exactly what to do throughout the day - suddenly they have nobody telling them what to do and don't know how to cope.

Most have degrees, but with little if any real world experience. Imagine getting a degree and then doing nothing with it for 5-10 years. I have to admit I've interviewed a few former players over my many years of management but never came close to offering one a job. In the old days many had second jobs and the transition was therefore much easier, now it is a nightmare.

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May 9th, 2012, 11:18 am
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Post Re: Lions asst says NFL can do better helping adj to retirem
m2karateman wrote:
I respect what Jefferson had to say. But you know what? Boo freakin' hoo. Retirement is tough for a bunch of people, not just football players. And they should be far more financially set in their retirement than 99% of the nation. Other people have to learn to adjust to difficulties during their retirement, and nobody is throwing them a "life line".

This is the life they chose, this is the career they wanted. If they can't stand being away from the cheers, the comraderie, the celebrity status, then I'm sorry but that's just tough. At least they got to experience all of that. Most people don't.

Get over it.

I don't think it's the cheers, comraderie, celebrity status, etc. that gets to guys. I think it's something more along the lines of what I hear Mike Golic talking about on ESPN radio the other day. He was describing how from the time he was a kid all the way through the NFL, there were people who had his schedule, where he needed to be, what he needed to do, when he ate, everything, all planned out for him. In high school it was his parents and his coaches, then in college it was coaches, trainers, etc. and that carried through the NFL. Then one day football is no more, and you have nowhere to be, nobody around you, etc. He said it was a really tough transition, because he had never had a normal life prior to that. He mentioned that he was lucky to have a great wife with him to help him out. But imagine those that don't have that. I can definitely see how it would be tough to deal with. Yes it's true they don't have financial problems, but as the saying goes, money doesn't buy happiness. I think it is much tougher to go from a situation where you never really had to deal with "normal" life and suddenly be thrown into it, than it is to live a normal life, then reach retirement and have financial struggles. At least day-to-day stuff is normal to you and you know how to handle it.

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May 9th, 2012, 11:45 am
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Post Re: Lions asst says NFL can do better helping adj to retirem
Pablo wrote:
wjb21ndtown wrote:
I've said for years that the NFL should have a pension in place. If these guys gave up 10% of their paycheck in exchange for a guaranteed pension of $50k is per year for the rest of their lives, plus healthcare, they'd be better off off and so would the game.


I agree with this, there needs to be a forced saving program given the financial issues that follows so many players careers.

In addition, there does need to be a transition program. These guys haven't had to think for themselves their whole adult life for the most part. They have coaches and itineraries that tell them exactly what to do throughout the day - suddenly they have nobody telling them what to do and don't know how to cope.

Most have degrees, but with little if any real world experience. Imagine getting a degree and then doing nothing with it for 5-10 years. I have to admit I've interviewed a few former players over my many years of management but never came close to offering one a job. In the old days many had second jobs and the transition was therefore much easier, now it is a nightmare.
Good points. I would add that the NFLPA, as these employee's union, should have their own programs in place as well.

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May 9th, 2012, 11:46 am
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Post Re: Lions asst says NFL can do better helping adj to retirem
wjb21ndtown wrote:
I've said for years that the NFL should have a pension in place. If these guys gave up 10% of their paycheck in exchange for a guaranteed pension of $50k is per year for the rest of their lives, plus healthcare, they'd be better off off and so would the game.


I would think the problem is that even with the most successful players, a player's career is very short and the 'retirement' phase is very long. That's a very different situation that other pension programs face.

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May 9th, 2012, 12:04 pm
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Post Re: Lions asst says NFL can do better helping adj to retirem
TheRealWags wrote:
DetNews wrote:
May 9, 2012 at 1:00 am
Lions assistant says NFL can do better helping players adjust to retirement
By Chris McCosky
The Detroit News

Allen Park— If NFL commissioner Roger Goodell wants a more complete understanding of what might have led three former players to commit suicide in the last 15 months, he should sit down with Lions receivers coach Shawn Jefferson.

He would hear a starkly different point of view. Jefferson played for 13 years in the NFL — he was Junior Seau's teammate on the star-crossed San Diego team for four seasons — and has been coaching since 2004.

Jefferson doesn't pretend to be a medical doctor or a shrink. He doesn't pretend to know the impact concussions and brain trauma have on human behavior. He's not trying to belittle the league's efforts to study, prevent, reduce and treat head injuries.

But, with all his heart, he believes concussions aren't killing these former players.

"It's not the depression that kills you," Jefferson said. "It's trying to make that transition to real life without that support group you've had in place your whole career. The depression is a result of not being around your guys anymore; that's what kills you.

"The depression comes about because you don't have that structure anymore. You aren't walking into that locker room and chatting with your locker mates. You're not in that fire on Sunday with those guys. You are at the door knocking, but nobody will let you in. You don't have that sense of purpose. For guys who retire, there is a dark side to that transition period."

Jefferson is speaking from experience. He thought his post-football life would be grand. He had saved and invested his money wisely. He had a young family to tend to. He figured he could happily live out his days fishing and, as he put it, "living the salt life."

A year into it, he was struggling. The void, the absence of the game and all of its attending structures, became increasingly unbearable.

"I was getting up every day and going fishing," he said. "After a while I was going by myself because my buddies had to work. I would just keep pushing the limits. I would go 50 miles out into the ocean. The next day, I'd say let's go out to where the big boys are and I'd go out 100 miles. But it's not the same. You just can't replace that feeling, that adrenaline rush you get playing the game."

A soldier's alienation

This is a common problem for athletes. It's why players like Brett Favre, Michael Jordan and so many others struggle to give up the game. They can't find the same intensity, exhilaration or adulation in any other activity. The skills that made them a success on the field aren't always useful in real life.

"What are they going to translate it to?" Jefferson said. "Are you going to tell a civilian that you are ready to go to battle with them? They'd look at you like you are crazy."

To hear Jefferson explain the rush of game day is like reading the last sentence in James Joyce's "Ulysses" — one breathtaking, roller-coaster ride.

"There's nothing you can do to replace that feeling you get when you are on that bus and you are in Wisconsin and you are driving to Lambeau Field and the smell of the brats is coming through the windows and you are driving through a subdivision and suddenly there are thousands of fans in their driveways, barbecuing and holding up signs and you are trying to get through the gates and you hear the boos and then you are finally in the place with the Lombardi ghost — you can feel the ghosts in that stadium — and you walk out on that field and you hear that roar; nothing can replace that."

The alienation of the retired player, Jefferson said, is similar to what a soldier feels when he's back from combat.

"People in the outside world don't know what it's like to go into battle with a guy," he said. "Civilians who haven't been to war have no idea what it's like to be in a foxhole with a guy, to depend on that guy to save your life. Basically, that's what football players do, they depend on each other to save their butts every week. You develop a bond and when you retire, that bond is gone and you crave for it."

Jefferson was thrown a lifeline, the type of lifeline he believes NFL officials should finance and promote as much as they do player safety. He was asked by former Lions coach Steve Mariucci to take a coaching internship.

"It was by the grace of God that Mooch called me out of the blue," Jefferson said. "I was out of the game a year and he said, 'Hey, what're you doing?' He asked if I was interested in an internship and I jumped at it.

"This was the rope somebody threw me when I was drowning in high water."

Employees for life

Jefferson believes part of the solution is for the league to take measures to keep retired players around the game. He's not saying give them all jobs. He's saying give them access. Establish internships — coaching, consulting, commentating. Or, more simply, make them feel they are still welcomed, still part of the game.

"You don't know how much good it could've done if Junior Seau could have stayed around the game," Jefferson said. "If he would have come to my practice on a Monday, I would have told him I have a team meeting on Friday and he had 15 minutes to tell the team anything he wanted. He would have felt important. He would have been on that stage again and everybody would have been in tune with him. He would have been thinking about it all week. Can you imagine what that would have done for a guy like that?

"The NFL doesn't get it. They are looking in the wrong places."

Here's one of many ideas Jefferson has: When a player retires, give him a card, a sort of lifetime NFL membership card. The card would give him access to team practice facilities and stadiums.

"This would allow guys to go watch practice at a facility," Jefferson said. "He's not going to steal ideas or share ideas or anything like that. He's just going to watch practice. He's just going to smell the game, get on the grass, be around the guys. That would mean the world to retired players.

"The mere fact that he had that card, the mere fact that he knew he could be around football, would change things for him. You don't understand the change of mind-set that would take place there. He would know he's still part of the NFL, that they still care about him, that his presence is wanted. If they did that, those guys would feel like employees for life even though they're not getting paid."

Jefferson applauds the league's stance on player safety. He understands the concern about head injuries.

"But," he said, "find out what triggers the depression and what triggers the depression is not being around the guys anymore, not being on the field anymore. Mother Nature has taken away that one great asset that she gave you and changed your life. That triggers the depression. The blows to the head don't. It takes something to trigger it. I know. I have been through it."

chris.mccosky@detnews.com

twitter.com/cmccosky

From The Detroit News: http://www.detroitnews.com/article/2012 ... z1uNnqkYfe


This is the gist of what I was talking about when I posted this in the Junior Seau thread.

Quote:
I am saddened to hear this news. But, I am surprised that this type of thing doesn't happen more often. The cheering stops and these guys no longer have any reason to live. It's a shame. I fully expect that, in the not too distant future, we will hear about Bret Favre committing Suicide because he is such a media hound. The NFL should have required training for all players to help them prepare for when the cheering stops.


To which Legend felt compelled to reply with this:
Quote:
you fully expect that? im sorry but that is f...ing ridiculous


I guess I'm not so ridiculous.


May 9th, 2012, 12:17 pm
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Post Re: Lions asst says NFL can do better helping adj to retirem
m2karateman wrote:
I respect what Jefferson had to say. But you know what? Boo freakin' hoo. Retirement is tough for a bunch of people, not just football players. And they should be far more financially set in their retirement than 99% of the nation. Other people have to learn to adjust to difficulties during their retirement, and nobody is throwing them a "life line".

This is the life they chose, this is the career they wanted. If they can't stand being away from the cheers, the comraderie, the celebrity status, then I'm sorry but that's just tough. At least they got to experience all of that. Most people don't.

Get over it.


In a way, I can agree with this sentiment also.


May 9th, 2012, 12:19 pm
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Post Re: Lions asst says NFL can do better helping adj to retirem
m2karateman wrote:
I respect what Jefferson had to say. But you know what? Boo freakin' hoo. Retirement is tough for a bunch of people, not just football players. And they should be far more financially set in their retirement than 99% of the nation. Other people have to learn to adjust to difficulties during their retirement, and nobody is throwing them a "life line".

This is the life they chose, this is the career they wanted. If they can't stand being away from the cheers, the comraderie, the celebrity status, then I'm sorry but that's just tough. At least they got to experience all of that. Most people don't.

Get over it.


With all due respect, cause you know I luv u man this is apples to oranges.

Football Players are often "forced" to retire, most of the rest of us choose to retire. Football Players typically "retire" still in their 20's, or in their 30's if lucky. The rest of use retire in our 60's (or 70's now), 50's if we are lucky. We also have social security as a fallback at this point (or have up to now at least). Football players rely on physical skills that aren't transferable to the rest of our lives, the rest of us continually develop skills that are applicable.

Listen, I get the fact that these guys get crazy money in a condensed amount of time but what would you do with a couple of million bucks at 22?

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May 9th, 2012, 1:32 pm
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Post Re: Lions asst says NFL can do better helping adj to retirem
Touchdown Jesus wrote:
m2karateman wrote:
I respect what Jefferson had to say. But you know what? Boo freakin' hoo. Retirement is tough for a bunch of people, not just football players. And they should be far more financially set in their retirement than 99% of the nation. Other people have to learn to adjust to difficulties during their retirement, and nobody is throwing them a "life line".

This is the life they chose, this is the career they wanted. If they can't stand being away from the cheers, the comraderie, the celebrity status, then I'm sorry but that's just tough. At least they got to experience all of that. Most people don't.

Get over it.

I don't think it's the cheers, comraderie, celebrity status, etc. that gets to guys. I think it's something more along the lines of what I hear Mike Golic talking about on ESPN radio the other day. He was describing how from the time he was a kid all the way through the NFL, there were people who had his schedule, where he needed to be, what he needed to do, when he ate, everything, all planned out for him. In high school it was his parents and his coaches, then in college it was coaches, trainers, etc. and that carried through the NFL. Then one day football is no more, and you have nowhere to be, nobody around you, etc. He said it was a really tough transition, because he had never had a normal life prior to that. He mentioned that he was lucky to have a great wife with him to help him out. But imagine those that don't have that. I can definitely see how it would be tough to deal with. Yes it's true they don't have financial problems, but as the saying goes, money doesn't buy happiness. I think it is much tougher to go from a situation where you never really had to deal with "normal" life and suddenly be thrown into it, than it is to live a normal life, then reach retirement and have financial struggles. At least day-to-day stuff is normal to you and you know how to handle it.


I understand, but it's no different than someone just getting out of high school or college and being forced to face their worst nightmare: the real world. The only difference is that the athletes have been handed everything they've ever wanted, and now that's not happening. Tough to deal with is not impossible to deal with. Junior had a family, he had opportunities. So do many other former athletes. A kid coming out of college typically doesn't have his/her degree paid for by the university, but maybe by his/her parents. They have a tough adjustment in finding out what they learned in college doesn't really translate directly to their jobs. They have to learn to budget money, adjust to a working life with far less time off than what they had in school, etc.

I am not saying that life is a bowl of cherries for former athletes. But last I checked, we ARE talking about adults. We are talking about guys who like to walk around and talk about what "men" they are, and then when the limelight is off them they can't handle it? As I said, would we feel so sorry for these guys if they were drug addicts who committed suicide? Or former felons released into society who honestly try to adjust but simply can't?

Ask yourself those questions.....

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May 9th, 2012, 1:58 pm
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Post Re: Lions asst says NFL can do better helping adj to retirem
Pablo wrote:
m2karateman wrote:
I respect what Jefferson had to say. But you know what? Boo freakin' hoo. Retirement is tough for a bunch of people, not just football players. And they should be far more financially set in their retirement than 99% of the nation. Other people have to learn to adjust to difficulties during their retirement, and nobody is throwing them a "life line".

This is the life they chose, this is the career they wanted. If they can't stand being away from the cheers, the comraderie, the celebrity status, then I'm sorry but that's just tough. At least they got to experience all of that. Most people don't.

Get over it.


With all due respect, cause you know I luv u man this is apples to oranges.

Football Players are often "forced" to retire, most of the rest of us choose to retire. Football Players typically "retire" still in their 20's, or in their 30's if lucky. The rest of use retire in our 60's (or 70's now), 50's if we are lucky. We also have social security as a fallback at this point (or have up to now at least). Football players rely on physical skills that aren't transferable to the rest of our lives, the rest of us continually develop skills that are applicable.

Listen, I get the fact that these guys get crazy money in a condensed amount of time but what would you do with a couple of million bucks at 22?


I would have never HAD to work for money the rest of my life. I was also fortunate to have a father who taught me the value of money and how important investing is. I started an IRA right at 18. My father said for as long as you live in my house you will put 10% of your earnings in it.
But I would have had to do something. An idle mind is the devils work shop.


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May 9th, 2012, 2:37 pm
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Post Re: Lions asst says NFL can do better helping adj to retirem
frok wrote:
Pablo wrote:
m2karateman wrote:
I respect what Jefferson had to say. But you know what? Boo freakin' hoo. Retirement is tough for a bunch of people, not just football players. And they should be far more financially set in their retirement than 99% of the nation. Other people have to learn to adjust to difficulties during their retirement, and nobody is throwing them a "life line".

This is the life they chose, this is the career they wanted. If they can't stand being away from the cheers, the comraderie, the celebrity status, then I'm sorry but that's just tough. At least they got to experience all of that. Most people don't.

Get over it.


With all due respect, cause you know I luv u man this is apples to oranges.

Football Players are often "forced" to retire, most of the rest of us choose to retire. Football Players typically "retire" still in their 20's, or in their 30's if lucky. The rest of use retire in our 60's (or 70's now), 50's if we are lucky. We also have social security as a fallback at this point (or have up to now at least). Football players rely on physical skills that aren't transferable to the rest of our lives, the rest of us continually develop skills that are applicable.

Listen, I get the fact that these guys get crazy money in a condensed amount of time but what would you do with a couple of million bucks at 22?


I would have never HAD to work for money the rest of my life. I was also fortunate to have a father who taught me the value of money and how important investing is. I started an IRA right at 18. My father said for as long as you live in my house you will put 10% of your earnings in it.
But I would have had to do something. An idle mind is the devils work shop.


Frok


While this might be true Frok, your upbringing is much different from that of an inner city kid whose parents never had money and wouldn't know how to teach a kid about it. In fact, many of them don't even have fathers. I started working as a Caddy at 14 and saving for college (Go State) - but I can't compare my upbringing in the burbs to that of an inner city kid who only has a Mom on gov't assistance.

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May 9th, 2012, 3:10 pm
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Post Re: Lions asst says NFL can do better helping adj to retirem
Pablo wrote:
While this might be true Frok, your upbringing is much different from that of an inner city kid whose parents never had money and wouldn't know how to teach a kid about it. In fact, many of them don't even have fathers. I started working as a Caddy at 14 and saving for college (Go State) - but I can't compare my upbringing in the burbs to that of an inner city kid who only has a Mom on gov't assistance.
Well said.

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May 9th, 2012, 3:20 pm
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Post Re: Lions asst says NFL can do better helping adj to retirem
thelomasbrowns wrote:
wjb21ndtown wrote:
I've said for years that the NFL should have a pension in place. If these guys gave up 10% of their paycheck in exchange for a guaranteed pension of $50k is per year for the rest of their lives, plus healthcare, they'd be better off off and so would the game.


I would think the problem is that even with the most successful players, a player's career is very short and the 'retirement' phase is very long. That's a very different situation that other pension programs face.



TLB - IMO that's not the problem, but the reason for my proposed solution. I think it should start with the older players first, (the Mean Joe Green's of the world), the players that paved the way, and they should be given health care and a pension for what they've done, and it should extend to everyone in the NFL. The NFL annual player salary is approximately $4 billion dollars. That's BILLION with a B. If they took $400 million (10%) of that total pot and put it toward retiree costs they could cover 40,000 ex players THIS YEAR with a $50k pension and a $50k health care package (that's a grossly over-exaggerated HC # BTW, really, about $35k should cover it, and at the reduced $35k cost you could cover 7,000 more people).

You say the problem is that their careers are too short, but IMO the fact that their careers ARE that short sparks the necessity and the reason for implementing a retirement program, along with the immediate need for the system. And think about it, even the vet minimum guys make $275k or something like that. Even if you took 10% from the least financially stable guys currently playing you really wouldn't be hurting them. There are currently something like 2k players in the NFL, you could literally cover everyone from the last 20 years under my system right now, with this years wage pool.

(And I'll add that there should be some poverty line that players should have to qualify for to receive this pension... if they're net worth is over $5 million or some pre-determined number they don't qualify until they've fallen below that line. That would allow for many many more to be covered.)



*** EDIT TO ADD - I come at this from the standpoint of having an ex NFL player in my family. He was an offensive lineman for the Denver Broncos and had to have at least 6 major knee surgeries to be able to walk again. He last played in the 70s and through the 80s he could barely walk with a cane. I know cause I use to shag his beers at family parties and whatnot.

These guys make a lot of money now, but they didn't always. However, that aside, they STILL require TONS of medical assistance from the years of abuse that the game gave them. Now don't get me wrong, I understand that they played willingly, but I'm advocating that THEY take care of THEIR OWN, and THEY have a safety net for THEMSELVES. I'm not saying society or the govt. should coddle these guys.

And, FWIW, my uncle walks better now than he has in the last 30 years, and he's financially stable, but it wasn't always that way for him. He literally couldn't walk and couldn't work for a good decade.


May 9th, 2012, 3:23 pm
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