JUSTIFIED ANGER: If you want to understand why longtime retired NFL players get so frustrated, the men who played decades ago, consider the following.
Linebacker Mike Vrabel is retiring. According to an advocate for retired players, Jeff Nixon, a critic of the current NFLPA leadership, of which Vrabel was an executive committee member, these are benefits Vrabel will receive:
1. $600,000 in his second career savings plan.
2. $580,000 in his NFL annuity plan.
3. $300,000 in his health reimbursement account.
4. $157,000 in his severance pay account.
5. $45,000 in his tuition assistance account.
6. $77,000 annually in his NFL pension, $6,475 a month starting at 55.
And perhaps most impressively, Nixon says, Vrabel will get free medical insurance for him and his family for the next five years.
Not bad. Not bad at all.
Now, Vrabel deserves every penny. He's earned it. All NFL players have. They deserve to be the highest paid players in all of sports because of the physical damage done to their bodies.
But you can understand why someone who played in the 1970s, for example, who gets practically nothing, gets upset when they see the benefits of today's players. As Nixon points out there are older players in the Hall of Fame who receive less than $200 a month in disability. That's it. That's their benefit package.
The NFL will never be whole until all of its former players are taken care of. All of them.