“It appears the NFLPA and their constituents are only worried about themselves, and, ‘Sorry, guys, just die, will you please? Go away,’ ” John Riggins, 69, told USA TODAY Sports during a recent group interview that included his wife, Lisa Marie, and several former Redskins including Larry Brown, Roy Jefferson, Mark Moseley and Mike Bragg (above). “That’s kind of the feeling you get.”
As another Super Bowl looms, with yet another appearance by Tom Brady and Bill Belichick on tap, there’s also a “Groundhog Day” effect when it comes to aging ex-players looking for a bigger piece of the NFL pie.
They’ve been at it for decades, in one form or another, frustrated that those who played before the major sea change in the NFL’s system occurred in 1993 – when liberalized free-agency and a salary cap were instituted – are in a markedly lower class for benefits.
This, while the most robust sports league in the land continues to grow, with revenues exceeding $14 billion per year.
Compare the pension of, say, Hall of Fame guard Joe DeLamielleure, around $30,000 per year, with the $220,000 maximum for similarly vested retirees of Major League Baseball or the NBA who played in the 1970s, and the concerns of the ex-players resonate: