As the owners and players continue to negotiate a new Collective Bargaining Agreement, one of the open questions is whether and to what extent a new deal will provide better benefits for retired players.
One retired player, former Lions offensive lineman Lomas Brown, says it’s simple: Every retired player should get health insurance for life.
“I’m hoping [the next CBA] helps tremendously,” Brown told the Detroit Free Press. “Every guy should have total health care; you should have permanent health care. To me, most of your problems don’t happen until you get later on in life, and as it stands now, five years after you’re out the game, your health care is terminated. To me, that’s not fair.”
What would be fair, Brown says, is for players to be taken care of forever, not just for five years after they retire.
“The average career for an NFL player is four years,” Brown said. “If a guy comes out at 21 or 22 years old and has a four-year career, he’s done by 26 or 27. Five years after that, you’re 32, and your insurance is gone. You have the rest of your life. It’s a big issue now, with all the things that are happening with post-concussion syndrome, dementia and all the things they are finding that’s correlated with football.”
Brown knows, however, that the retired players don’t have a seat at the table.
“I want to make sure we don’t get left behind,” Brown said. “We don’t have a strong voice or an active voice in there, so we’re depending on DeMaurice Smith and the active guys to speak for us.”