The NFL Pledges Unlimited $ but that is half of the story.


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I congratulate the NFL for stepping up to tell the world and the retired players that they will spend whatever it takes to provide the healthcare the players need. But the promise to pay is half of the issue. The other half is how the agreement will be implemented.

Unfortunately, the history of the NFL caring for their retired players is bleak at best. As I have argued before, the retired players have no representation in negotiations between the NFL and NFLPA. Former NFLPA head Gene Upshaw admitted that he was only representing the current players.

As a result, even when retired players got some crumbs off the table, the NFL and NFLPA made it nearly impossible for the players in need to actually qualify for the help they needed. The league and players association have installed middle men that were paid based on how little money they dispensed.

If the same type of “pay for no pay” system is part of this settlement, things for those in need will be no better. The NFL should set up a committee of medical doctors and retirees to determine which players deserve and need help. The retirees should include players from the pre-93 group. Those players both receive less in retirement pay and are older and more in need of medical help.

The bottom line is the Courts need to approve not only the final settlement but also the system that will make decisions about who gets the help and how much medical support is to be awarded. If the issue is left to the NFL and NFLPA, things will not be better for the players that need the support.

The NFL is a billion dollar a year business that was built on the backs of the retired players. Not only do the retirees deserve medical help, they have earned the right to get it. If those players had not given their bodies to the game, pro football would not be the financial goldmine it is today.

I will continue to report on what the NFL does and how it administers the program. Fryingpansports will not let the issue die.

That is what I think. Tell us what you think.

NOTE: Check out the live News, Notes and Rumors show on Monday, Thursday and Friday at 6 PM Eastern on or On Samantha Bunten of NBC Sports, former NFL scout Kelron Sykes and I talk NFL draft with just a little Indians and Cavs thrown in. The archive is available on Please join us.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He edits He has also published several novels on and a non-fiction work at Follow him on twitter @NNRonDSN to get the schedule of Special News, Notes and Rumors broadcasts. You can hear the previous shows on and the live show Mondays at 6 PM Eastern time on .

He also edits .

To keep up with the News, Notes & Rumors podcasts, follow me on twitter @NNRonDSN.

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