Blog Entry

Dan Pastorini feels let down by NFL, NFLPA

Posted on: August 31, 2011 8:26 am
Dan Pastorini is upset with the way he feels been treated by the NFL and the NFLPA (US Presswire).Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Dan Pastorini is mad. He’s mad at the NFL owners. He’s mad at the NFL Players Association. And he’s mad at Drew Brees.

“F--- Drew Brees,” Pastorini said.

Pastorini is mad at the way he feels he and his former NFL compatriots have been treated, and though Brees isn’t the true villain in this movie, he’s also an easy target for something he said two years ago.

Pastorini looks at the new CBA deal and figures out how much more money he’ll receive as a player who retired before 1993. He remembers how much he made when he was playing quarterback for the Oilers, Rams, Raiders and Eagles from 1971-82. Then, he thinks about the NFL Players Association and the NFL owners -- and the labor fight for which he couldn’t participate -- and his blood boils.

He gets mad, really mad, and he lets loose on a rant in which he places blame on both sides who he believes simply doesn’t care about the men who helped build the NFL into what it is today.

The $620 million “Legacy Fund” added to the new CBA for the players who retired before 1993 that will be used to increase pensions? And the $300 million in other benefits, including those for health? It’s simply not good enough for Pastorini. Not good enough for how much he says he sacrificed.

“I’m going to get an extra $1,000 a month. Big f------ deal,” the 62-year-old Pastorini told recently. “I think it’s a travesty the way they treat the older players. I’m part of that group. They’re throwing us a bone with the $620 million. By the time they get to a new CBA after 10 years, they won’t have to worry about us pre-93er’s. It’s sad, but it’s their M.O. They want to wait for us to die.

“What they’re talking about now is to give us a bone and to shut us up. It’s just wrong. It’s damn wrong. And the players association is just as greedy as the owners are, if not more so. The players don’t go to bat for us, which makes us ashamed.”

And what Brees said in 2009 when discussing retired players who complained about their benefits -- as recounted here by’s Mike Freeman -- really upsets Pastorini.

“There's some guys out there that have made bad business decisions,” Brees said then. “They took their pensions early because they never went out and got a job. They've had a couple divorces and they're making payments to this place and that place. And that's why they don't have money. And they're coming to us to basically say, 'Please make up for my bad judgment.' In that case, that's not our fault as players."

It might have seemed Brees was talking directly to Pastorini, who’s had to declare bankruptcy twice and has been divorced after ending his one-time Pro Bowl career. Clearly, Pastorini feels that Brees -- who is making $7.4 million this year and could be the next quarterback to win a $90 million contract -- made it personal.

“My first year’s salary was $25,000, then $30,000, then $35,000,” Pastorini said. “These guys make my first contract in a game. Look at (former NFLPA executive director) Gene Upshaw and what he left his wife when he died? How did he leave her $15 million? They’ve been screwing us from day one. My pension was $1,100 a month, then $1,200, then $1,400, and now it’ll be $1,750. No medical, no disability -- $1700 doesn’t even pay for my rent.”

Not surprisingly, the NFL has a slightly different opinion.

Said NFL spokesman Greg Aiello in a statement to “We respectfully disagree with Dan.” The NFLPA declined comment on the issue.

But let’s look at the other side of the story. Before the newest CBA, the Legacy Fund didn’t exist. The NFL and the NFLPA are both contributing at least $300 million over the next 10 years to add more money for former players. If it’s $1,000 more a month for a retiree, that’s $1,000 more than that former player had before.

And though Brees’ statement continues to backfire on him and the union, those close to Brees says he was one of the retired players’ biggest advocates in trying to give back to the players who came before him -- and to get everybody to understand the importance of doing so. Witness a radio interview he gave last April to XX 1090 in San Diego.

“I know that I’m fighting for so many people here, for former players in the form of improving their pensions and disability benefits to take care of those guys that built this game for us and future players too,” he said. “To be honest with you, this is one of those things that when a settlement is reached, that settlement is something that I’m probably never going to benefit from. It’s guys before me, it’s guys that are going to come after me. So for me, there’s so many guys that made sacrifices before us to make this game better.”

Dan Pastorini with Bum Phillips, Wade Phillips and Bob McNair (Getty). Pastorini (second from the left in the photo to the left) has good reason to want better medical benefits as well. With so much newly emerging information about chronic traumatic encephalopathy, Pastorini is worried that he’s going to be suffering from the dementia-like condition if he lives long enough.

“I’ve been to clinics. I’ve been put on vitamin regimens. I find myself not remembering people’s names,” said Pastorini, who said he sustained at least a dozen concussions when he played. “I’ll go to the kitchen for a cup of coffee, and I can’t remember why I went in there. It’s possible I have that. I won’t know until they cut my brain open.”

Pastorini isn’t alone in his thoughts. During Super Bowl week in Dallas, the NFL Alumni held a press conference that featured former players who were fighting -- and outspoken in their demand -- for better pension benefits and long-term health care.

But in reality, what can the NFL and the NFLPA say to fully satisfy the league’s alumni? Probably nothing, and to their credit, both sides feel like they’ve tried to improve the conditions for the retirees. But to Pastorini, it’s just not good enough.

“There’s a lot of greed in this business,” Pastorini said. “We’re the guys on the outside looking in, and we’re never going to be compensated for what we do. We built the game, and these guys should be kissing our ass now. But they’re not.”

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Since: Sep 27, 2006
Posted on: September 1, 2011 11:27 am

Dan Pastorini feels let down by NFL, NFLPA

>>>Are you saying that players 30-40 years ago didn't know the risks of the job (a game) that they chose to do?  In my job, I don't run full speed at another person and throw my entire body weight into theirs.   I don't get concussions!  Funny how that works.

You were perhaps never a young man, or perhaps don't have kids of your own. Young people, men especially, have a sense of immortality, that they will live forever, with the perfect health they had when they were young.

30-40 years ago, the risk of multiple concussions was not as well known as it it today. (Or at least, those who did know were paid not to tell.) Guys thought they could "be a man" or "suck it up" and go out ad play the next day with no ill effects, and if they couldn't, it was because they were weak.

This article is really disengenuous, to make it all about Drew Brees and Dan Pastorini. Seems like something TMZwould write.

What about the other thousand or so players who did not get divorced, but who have suffered from problems because of their playng days.

It is an interesting insight o human nature. Yes, today's athlethes are grossly overpaid, and if each one contributed even a million a year to an old player's fund, they would never miss it. (Assuming they don't go out and have ten baby mommas, or so). After all, there aren't really that many old players left.

It is a pity they won't take care of their own, when their own fall on hard times.

Since: Nov 10, 2006
Posted on: September 1, 2011 11:15 am
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator

Since: Nov 10, 2006
Posted on: September 1, 2011 11:13 am

Dan Pastorini feels let down by NFL, NFLPA

Do you deserve a full retirement for a job you held for less than 10 years????

Since: Jan 12, 2011
Posted on: September 1, 2011 11:12 am

Dan Pastorini feels let down by NFL, NFLPA

More than $1700 rent???, How about living a little more modest and living within your means.  Living in Texas, you can have a nice rental for half of that cost, so kinda curiuos where he is living now.

Since: Apr 3, 2008
Posted on: September 1, 2011 11:06 am

Dan Pastorini feels let down by NFL, NFLPA

I wonder what Pastoroni did when he was a player for the players who paved the way for him. 

Since: Nov 14, 2009
Posted on: September 1, 2011 10:59 am

Dan Pastorini feels let down by NFL, NFLPA

I never knew what NFL retirees received. Dan is going to get $1,750 a month?  That's really nothing. My wife's, former husband (he died) played MLB for the Tigers (W.S. win 1968) and a couple of other clubs.  He was out of baseball in about 1972. She received a small widow's pension for many years. About 20 years ago there was two doubling s of what she received. For the last 20 years she's received $45,000 a year. (No increases since 1991).

Since: Jun 22, 2009
Posted on: September 1, 2011 10:33 am

Dan Pastorini feels let down by NFL, NFLPA

F*** Drew Brees??  No, f*** YOU, Dan Pastorini, you self righteous POS.  Your issue should be with Gene Upshaw or whoever the head of your union was when you played.  I'm so tired of hearing about how we're so much more aware and knowledgeable now on concussions than we were when guys like Pastorini played.  If I'm not mistaken, there were thousands of guys who played professional football before him, many with leather helmets, so obviously there were probably MORE concussions per capita in the NFL/AFL than there are now.  As likely one of the better paid players of his day, I seriously doubt Pastorini spread around his income to his contemporaries making less than him, and I'm even more confident in assuming that he probably wasn't giving much if any away to guys who played before him in the 50s and 60s who were at the time enduring football-related health problems.  What a hypocritical sack of crap.

Since: Apr 1, 2009
Posted on: September 1, 2011 10:25 am

Dan Pastorini feels let down by NFL, NFLPA

    Should they take care of their retirees: Absolutely! But, at what cost, how much is too much? While Pasterroni would probably want millions thrown his way because he thinks they built this league, what they're getting is pretty close to fair, if a solid benefit package was included. About 2,500 hundred a month would be acceptable I think.

    I do need to clarify a statement made by Dan though: Dude, The Fans Built This Game. You former players played it and are being compensated for it. What does your avid fan get, who spent hundreds of thounsands going to games, wearing the merchandise, and all the other cash grabs that are associated with the sport? Yes, players make too much, owners make too much, but the game has become more popular, and you're saying this is because of the previous ganeration, i don't agree! All I'm saying is we don't bicker (not too much anyway), just give us our game, and we will continue to spend millions on it!

    I think we all deserve a piece of the NFL pie. 2,000 a month sounds pretty good to me!

Since: May 27, 2008
Posted on: September 1, 2011 10:13 am

Dan Pastorini feels let down by NFL, NFLPA

This is such a slippery slope and, really, neither side is incorrect. It's a shame former players made measly fractions of what players are making today, but is it really just that guys like Brees kick back to these older players? Should every data entry person that worked at Apple in its formative years get money now that their products are flying off the shelves? And Brees is right, there are plenty of players who made poor decisions outside of the game and it hardly makes sense for current players to bail them out. But then, the flip side of that coin is, what about the players who made smart decisions but didn't have nearly the nest egg today's players are able to compile? What about the guys who suffered injuries back then and are now seeing the medical bills pile up? The whole thing is a shame, really, because while neither side is wrong, they can't both be right either.

Since: Dec 3, 2007
Posted on: September 1, 2011 8:49 am

Dan Pastorini feels let down by NFL, NFLPA

chucky:  Didn't Brees sue his own mother? That should tell you plenty.

I'm not a Brees fan on or off the field but your comment caught my interest.  It appears that she had "ended her relationship" with him after he chose a professional agent to represent him instead of her.  Then, as she was trying to run for office, she was using his image in her campaign.  When she refused to stop using his likeness, he threatened to sue.  Ultimately, she took her own life.

That doesn't sound like the typical parent-child relationship.  While she might have (assumption) contributed to his success as a youth, she clearly was not acting like a supporting parent in his adulthood.  She appeared to be using him for her own good.

Again, I could care less about Brees but don't think it's fair to just say that he sued his mother, therefore...

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