Sam Huff fires another salvo at Drew Brees

Pro Football Hall of Famer Sam Huff has ripped Saints quarterback Drew Brees once again, this time penning a brief essay in which he writes that “Drew Brees is just trying to get to where I have been.”

To review, Huff has hated Brees since 2009, when Brees said that it’s not the responsibility of the active players to take care of retired players who have blown their money.

“There’s some guys out there that have made bad business decisions,” Brees said in January of 2009. “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.”

That made Huff furious, and his fury hasn’t ceased. Last week Huff said he wants Brees to shut up, and this week Huff sent his latest anti-Brees diatribe to the Washington Post, which has published it in full.

Huff boasts in his essay that he’s a Hall of Famer at the high school, college and professional level, that he was “the only NFL player to be on the cover of Time Magazine,” that he had a documentary (The Violent World of Sam Huff) made about him, and even that he and his Giants teammates are the reason the word “defense” is pronounced with the emphasis on the first syllable.

According to Huff, those credentials from his playing days are what give him the authority to say that Brees was dead wrong in his comments in 2009.

“I know about the players of the 50’s and 60’s, and they gave everything imaginable to make the game what it is today,” Huff said. “Some of those players need help from the NFLPA. They deserve it, and Drew Brees needs better credentials before he makes such derogatory statements about those players.”

Huff is one of the all-time great linebackers, but it’s absurd for him to suggest that Brees somehow lacks the credentials to opine on the subject of what the active players should do to help the retired players. Brees is a Super Bowl MVP-winning quarterback who has proven himself to be one of the most thoughtful, articulate players in the league off the field. Brees, as one of the most active members of the players’ side in the ongoing labor dispute, has not just the right but the responsibility to express his thoughts on benefits for retired players.

Furthermore, Brees’s attitude isn’t as cold-hearted as Huff is suggesting. Brees has said many times that he believes the active players should consider the needs of the retired players. Brees even said that in the very same interview in which he made the comments that so infuriated Huff.

“They shaped the game for us,” Brees said in that interview. “Because of those guys, we have an opportunity to play this game, to make the money that we make, to get the benefits we get. We will always, always, always reach back to give to those guys. But there’s a way to do it.”

But Huff can’t seem to see through his rage at the other comments Brees made.

“I was always taught that if a person could not say something good about someone, anyone subject to attention, they should keep their mouth shut,” Huff writes. “I have a struggle living up to that standard; especially when it comes to Drew Brees.”

60 responses to “Sam Huff fires another salvo at Drew Brees

  1. The NFLPA* should do something, but shouldn’t shoulder the whole burden for retired players. Help them with health benefits only, but not make up like Brees said for bad business decisions. In the regular world current employees do not take care of retired employees the company does. Huff needs to realize the game or current players owe him nothing, despite all his accomplishments. Take all of Huff accomplishments and 2.00 it will get you a cup of coffee.

  2. How about some perspective on Huffs point of view. Is he broke because he blew all his money as Brees suggests some are, or is he just an idiot?

  3. Grocery baggers needed & no one can retire anymore with the dollar being devalued everyday, so get over it.

  4. I don’t always agree with Drew, but I do agree with him on this subject. It’s quite impossible to support all players who make bad decisions and find themselves in financial crisis. Just take current players’ examples, down the road, how are players going to support Cromartie and his 8 kids that he had with 7 different women, Charlie Batch’s bad investment decision which led to bankruptcy, a similar situation with Mark Brunell, and Dez Bryant’s unpaid bills, stolen jewelry debts etc.

    However, I agree that the NFLPA* has to do something to help retired players one way or another.

  5. imjinbrdgr

    huff is 100% right! those players of his day and earlier even built the NFL and worked for peanuts. They were forced to have off-season jobs by what they were being paid by the owners. Now at these inflated figures of living TODAY guys like Brees make millions per year, easy to save from that, but guys like Huff, and others of highest ability earned a tiny fraction of that in their careers before costs of living not in kingsize mansions like the Brady’s of today live in.

    If there wasn’t for players of the 60s this league would not be where it is. But Huff is not speaking about himself. He has always worked at many different things after football, announcing, horse racing commissioner, businessman, etc. Huff is speaking for the others who played the game – the ones not the big names like Brees. The ones who blocked for the star QBs but in those days offensive linemen didn’t earn millions as well.

    Brees should shut his arrogant mouth.

  6. I would argue the days of anyone (companies or current employees) taking care of retired people are all but gone. Welcome to reality for at least 75% of the real world. I can see an argument for some form of extended health care but beyond that the players should be on their own.

  7. It’s a sour grapes thing with the old players,. In the 1950’s the average NFL Salary was $6,000 per season. That number didn’t break $10,000 until the 70’s. These older players see the current stars making eight figure salaries….ANNUALLY….and feel they are “owed” something for blazing the trail. Are they? Maybe. But you can’t put the onus on the current players to be responsible for reparations for what you have done 50-60 years ago. It’s a different time and a different era. In 2050…if the lockout has ended….players will probably be making 150mil a year and LA will have won 3 Super Bowls……but those guys won’t owe Drew Brees a dime.

  8. Go Sam Huff. Drew does not care about the non-millionaire players either. Who dat that says who dat.

  9. **Huff boasts in his essay that he’s a Hall of Famer at the high school, college and professional level, that he was “the only NFL player to be on the cover of Time Magazine,” that he had a documentary (The Violent World of Sam Huff) made about him**

    And yet he still blew all his money? Sign some autographs at a local car dealership on the weekends if you need the money Sam.

  10. Sam Huff reminds me of those two old curmudgeon’s in the balcony on the Muppet Show.

    Hey Sam, I’ll bet you would be the first to say that nobody handed you anything when you were playing, right? So why change your tune now?

    Jesus, Sam – you were always a warrior. A man who made his own way. Stop crying about how Brees et al won’t help you now.

    It just comes off as…sad.

  11. brees is right, its not their fault as players today to finacially support older players for bad business, divorces and 13 kids with 10 different moms. as far as bennies, ya i believe there is more they can do for the injured on the job guys. but not for anything else.

  12. Bravo, Sam!

    What many fail to realize, is that 10-15 years from now, when brees is running for public office, he wont give much more than a wooden nickel to the players of today, let alone yesterday.

    Mark my woods, every thing this snake says is premeditated amd calculated, benefitting only his massive ego and agenda.

  13. This is one of those cases where both guys are right. Current players DO owe something to the players who came before…and so do the Owners for that matter. But sometimes it’s like giving a homeless person cash. There is a chance they will go and buy booze. But if you buy him a meal or pay for a checkup, then you are doing him a service.

    Like Duane Thomas said above, start by covering their healthcare. Then supplement it with a pension. You cannot guarantee that they won’t use it pay off gambling debts or three foreclosures, but it is no longer the active players’ business at that point. You just cannot personalize it and say “this player deserves this money, but this one does not.” If the guy helped to build the league, he deserves it. Maybe the active players can help fund some counseling services to help guys not make so many bad decisions once they are out of the league.

  14. The fact of the matter is, old retired players are very jealous of the insane amounts of money being paid to todays players…Most of em had a second job in the offseason, and look at Albert Haynesworth lying on the ground out of breath, like a bleached whale, with a 100 million dollar contract, and it probably pisses em off…But i doubt when they were playing they were worried about future players, decades later, i never heard an older player say, we are doing this to build the game, they were doing it to get paid……Just like today’s players…

  15. Sam Huff’s comments makes him he comes off like an old curmudgeon who is bitter about being born too soon. Modern day player do owe the older players something; but in no way should they be bowing down to those former NFL veterans. Like Brees said many blew their money. Sam to his credit made a good living after football; but if you asked today’s fan what they think most would say just play the damn games and shut up!

  16. You had your day, Sam, so now it’s finally time to stop patting yourself on the back and trying to bully anyone with an IQ higher than your 72. You were a loudmouth back in the day and obviously still are.

  17. not sure whether Huff didn’t read Brees’ comments correctly or if he just doesn’t understand the meaning and context of the word “some” in Brees’ statement…SOME guys. that doesn’t mean all guys, and it generally doesn’t refer to the players that Huff is referring to. Brees’ statement isn’t incorrect.

  18. For the record, Sam Huff was paid $35,000 in 1964. Factoring in inflation that was close to $250,000. Not millions, certainly, but quite a comfortable living, especially in 1964. That does not include his endorsement money, which he was quite successful at (after all, he was on Time magazine which WAS a big deal back in those days). So those of you going on about Sam needing to hold down two jobs, you’re wrong. Sam was paid quite nicely when he was playing. Truth be told, he deserved it. He was a HOFer in every sense of the word. He also has been very successful since leaving the NFL making money in horse racing, hotels, and broadcasting. Huff is far from broke. I suspect this is more about protecting some teammates that didn’t earn the money he did and did, in fact, squander what money they did make. Huff was and is a fanatically loyal man.

  19. To those siding with Drew Brees regarding how all the old-timers must have blown their money, I have a question; “What money?” Sam Huff wasn’t dragging down multi-million dollar signing bonuses and seven figure endorsement deals. Bob Lilly made 11 Pro Bowls and 7 All-Pro teams and yet he spent part of his off seasons working for a Ft Worth company as an alarm installer. Tom Landry did not initially consider being an NFL head coach as being a career. It was just some extra money until he could get his planned insurance agency going.
    There have been a few generations of players in the past who gave their youth and their health to lay the foundation which has made the NFL a game that now affords the Drew Brees’ of the world the chance to enjoy multiple luxury homes around the country, private schools for their children, and a lifestyle that few can imagine. When Sam Huff says the current generation of NFL players needs to maybe throw a bone or two in the direction of those who came before, he’s correct. When Drew Brees claims they squandered their money, I again say, “What money?”

  20. who is sam huff again? HUff is just a cranky old man who missed the boat on the mther load…get over it old man and if you played in todays game would probably be a below average player for sure. Actually the more i think about it if he played for the 4skin team right now would be a star which tells you about awful that team is as they have no talent at all at any position.

    I think we all could whine about things in our lives huffy…i.e…missing the mther load in stock options or this or that. Man and shut up as nobody wants to hear from you. Plus he blows in the broadcasting booth.

  21. Drew Brees is such a naive hypocrite, in 2009 he bashes retired players, and today he is supposedly doing the lawsuit for them, for their benefit… Brees got his brains washed by D Smith….

  22. To my knowledge, Huff is not broke, so he is not grasping for $$ or looking for a bailout. While I dont know what his balance sheet is, he played so long ago that he never made any real $ anyway.

    Plus he is a Redskins color commentator on radio, so he has at least one job.

  23. @ 1 BigTex

    You do realize the money paid is relative?

    These guys weren’t making absolutely nothing back in the day.

    Sam Huff’s salary in 1963 was 19,000…

    The average salary in 1963? 4 grand.

    So yes, he didn’t get paid like the guys today…but he also has to remember that sometimes it pays to be the first guy through the door and sometimes it doesnt.

    But I’m willing to bet had you offered Sam Huff a job in 1963 making 7K…he’d have laughed and taken his 19K pay day to play a game.

    So Sam – Please shut the f*ck up you crotchety old man.

  24. There are players currently playing in the NFL who are broke because of personal decisions, should they be paid out of pocket by the more thrifty and intelligent too? And by the way, there are over 10,000 dead or missing in Japan…for perspective on this crap.

  25. Lord, people!! Educate yourself!!!!

    Huff has been the Redskins radio commentator for more than 30 years. Huff retired as a Vice President of the Marriott Corporation in the late 90s as he neared age 70. Huff owns portions of upscale Marriott hotels. Huff operates a successful horse breeding business.

    Huff is a multimillionaire many times over – and that didn’t come from the relative peanuts that the HOFer earned as one of the best middle linebackers in history. It all came from his business dealings after retirement from the NFL.

    Huff is speaking for the thousands of his teammates and NFL fraternity brothers who made less than $20,000 per year, had to take offseason jobs to feed their families, broke their bodies apart playing the game and now receive peanuts as a pension and have little to no medical care provided by the NFL as compensation for breaking their bodies while providing the foundation for the massive growth of the product.

    The vast majority of these thousands of players didn’t go broke due to “bad business decisions” (unlike today’s NFL players) – they’re broke because they NEVER made any money playing in the NFL.

    Think, people. Use your brains.

  26. This is simply the world we live in.

    If I worked for a company in it’s early years, and twenty years after I retire it becomes ultra-successful, I doubt if I’m going to see too many additional bonuses and kickbacks.

    I can’t see anything wrong with what Brees said. Today’s players aren’t responsible for business decisions, divorces, children out of wedlock and so forth that older players may now suffer financially from. That’s just common sense.

    But at the same time, it is important to recognize the contributions and the sacrifices made by former players who have helped shape the game and make it what it is today – which is what Brees has stated.

    Besides, if Huff wants a bigger piece of the pie, he can always go after the owners rather than Drew Brees and the current players. I’m sure that bunch would be more than willing to pony-up.

    And … the fact that Huff was a high school, college and pro hall of famer? Well, that’s nice – but I don’t care. So What? Good for him. That doesn’t doesn’t necessarily mean he would be if he played today.

  27. Boy oh boy what a bunch of clueless people.

    For all you Mensa candidates that keep lamenting the blowing of all their money on “fun stuff” you’re missing the entire freaking point. Most didn’t have any money to blow. They had to have a second job just to pay the bills and they didn’t live the “rich life”. In fact many of them had to put their families in the poor house so they could play. My Grandpa for one was making just enough to buy dinner and pay for the fleabag hotel rooms they put them up in. He sent ZERO money home and made NADA off professional sports. He wasn’t resentful and made his way through life like the rest of us normal folk…he had a career. But just because you played in the pros doesn’t mean you were raking it in unless you came up post 1970’s and even then the guys in the 80’s weren’t making anywhere close to the bank the players of today do just for riding the pine.

    Still again the point is missed by many here…the ones who could barely walk within a few years of retiring couldn’t work either. They literally gave their life to the game. Sam Huff is spot on here. Yes Brees is right that some are where they are because of irresponsibility, but that’s a small percentage, most never had any money to begin with.

    Oh and Huff is doing just fine financially, he’s resentful on a collective level and thinks Brees while right in individual cases is painting a grossly unfair and inaccurate picture about why these athletes are in trouble.

  28. Huff is definitely not in the color commenting hall of fame. He and Jurgenson are the absolute worst in any sport. The only reason they have those jobs is because Snyder loves old Redskins players.

  29. So sayeth the Raiders fan. Count me as one who doesn’t think your opinion is relevant Skippy. I’d agree that Huff needs to hang up the mike, but Jurgenson is one of the best analysts in the business.

  30. Stupid Raiders Fan is right, Sam, you and Sonny just shut up and make sure Danny doesn’t draft that Cam Newton, or trade for Brett Favre this offseason.

  31. Joem and Arnoldz-

    If Huff is so well off and doing well, why doesn’t HE help the older players who need help. I am an accountant and if in the future accoutants make over a million dollars a year and live in the lap of luxury am I entitled to go back and lobby and berate the American Society of Accounting to pay me money and give me stuff because I “paved the way” for accountants of today? NO, absolutely not. Just because I chose this profession does not mean I am entitled to anything later on down the road other than what I make for myself. No one forced these guys to play football back then and take on second jobs. They should have taken their college degrees, which they almost all got back then, and gotten a job that paid them a better salary and better pensions. The health benefits I agree with based on the nature of the job, but as for the cash, forget it. Have Huff and his old cronies who are rich start an organization for these older destitute players and they can take care of them.

  32. @arnoldziffel
    This is simply the world we live in.

    And … the fact that Huff was a high school, college and pro hall of famer? Well, that’s nice – but I don’t care. So What? Good for him. That doesn’t doesn’t necessarily mean he would be if he played today


    Well if you ever saw how he dominated and eraced in almost every Giants/Browns meeting, Jim Brown the greatest running back of all time – I think you’d say he could play in today’s 32 team watered down NFL.

    Huff is a multi-millionaire! He is not speaking for himself, he is trying to help his former teamates and opponents who are having a hard time of it now because the union and the league these guys helped big have never helped them.

    I agree with you ” this is the world we live in” and in this world there still are a few people of conscience and a few good people – Sam Huff is one of them.

  33. The sense of entitlement is pathetic. Today’s players owe yesterday’s players NOTHING. If the old timers are pissy that today’s players make more than they did, they can get over it.

    Can we, the people, have someone removed from the Hall? Huff would be high on the list of potentials…

  34. “Today’s Players” are exactly why my Love for the NFL is waning. Chest thumpin’, holdout, LOOK AT ME, I need to get paid babies. No respect for the game. What ever happened to scoring a touchdown and handing the ball to the official?
    Remember Drew, those “old players” had to have jobs in the off season while you make enough money IN ONE YEAR to retire in comfort.
    If the NFL ever goes to pay per view, I’ll never watch another game.
    I enjoy the NFL, I don’t NEED the NFL.
    You’ve already priced me out of going to games in person.

  35. Huff does help, but his pockets -as deep as they are- pale in comparison to the collective fund of a league squabbling over literally billions.

    If you sacrificed your body the way these guys did in a much more brutal game than exists today then yea I’d say you actually might have a decent case for some getback when the fruits of your labor directly lead to current state multimillion and billionaires. Accountants don’t risk their lives in any way shape or form doing their jobs. You’re not risking your future to walk or live (NFL life expectancy is in the 50’s IIRC) to be an accountant…enormous difference.

    Oh and anyone who thinks even an old Sam Huff couldn’t ruff someone up has zero knowledge of what kind of a brutal dominant player he was.

  36. “Brees is a Super Bowl MVP-winning quarterback who has proven himself to be one of the most thoughtful, articulate players in the league off the field.”

    Being a Super Bowl winning QB is irrelevant.

    And saying Brees is one of the most articulate players in the league is akin to saying you are the smartest idiot.

  37. Huff was a great player of course. But have you ever heard him in an interview? Just not a bright guy.

    Blow off, Huff. Stick to something about which you have a modicum of understanding. This isn’t it.

  38. agreed about Huff, he was an absolute dominator and one of the best players period, so no disrespect to his career or abilities. My point in all of this is that medical benefits should be granted and they (former players) should be taken care of physically. I get the roughness and punishment of the sport so medical is a given in my mind (as many others concede this as well), but as for the other money, the current players are not required to give them a nickel. I know some may want to help, but for the former players who are crowing about how they are owed, they are barking up the wrong tree.

  39. Let’s see….

    If a company grows dramatically due to a marketing campaign and savvy business dealings, how much exactly do former employees deserve in terms of compensation?

    Oh, that’s right, NOTHING. The NFL didn’t become huge because of people like Huff, it because huge because it got the right TV contracts and made the right business decisions. That’s the secret of professional sports: if you make the games competitive, it doesn’t matter who you throw out on the field if you promote the games well enough. People don’t care if they’re watching the greatest product ever: college sports has proven that for decades. They just wanna see competitive games.

    The players of the past were compensated commensurate to what they were worth to the team, just like today. If the money is greater, that’s because the league has done a great job at promoting itself and has a larger revenue stream to draw from.

    Huff is a pathetic whiner who knows that as long as he talks about Brees, his name will be in the media. “We’d put a target on his back, we would”… What nonsense. The average college freshman at linebacker today is a better athlete than Huff was in his prime.

  40. Just because you played when it wasn’t as popular doesn’t mean you are owed anything

  41. @helinhater

    Of course I realize that money is relative. In 1963, Sam Huff was a 4 time Pro Bowl, 2 time All Pro who was making a little bit less than 5 times the average salary. Do you think that a present day 4 time Pro Bowl, 2 time All Pro would show up for 5 times today’s average yearly salary? Of course not!

    It doesn’t appear to me that Huff is crying out for today’s players to send him any money. However, while they are arguing with the owners over who gets the last million, how about kicking some increased pension and health benefits to those who laid the ground work. Go take a look at a former great like John Mackey who’s reduced to living in a nursing home not knowing who or where he is and unable to care for himself. Remember Bob Hayes dying on his sister’s couch because he couldn’t afford dialysis.

    Whether they care to admit it or not, today’s players owe a debt to those who came before. While they are worrying about what size big screen is appropriate for their theater room or debating the relative merits and demerits of a Porsche versus a Lambo, how about acknowledging that debt. We’ve got two sides fighting over billions of dollars. Seems as if there should be enough to go around. I guess it just depends on how greedy one is.

  42. Huff shouldn’t have been so egotistical and blown his money banking on future players to take care of him. He should of invested.

  43. I am not a lawyer, but the NFL is protected to some degree by the CBA. The CBA allows the NFL to forget the players of the past mainly because the NFLPA has forgotten the players of the past.
    IF you were a laborer in any industry and years later were diagnosed with health problems directly related to chemicals you were exposed to at that time chances are you (or your heirs) see coverage for related treatments. This is true for coalminers, shipyard workers, farmhands, factory workers of all sorts. Why wouldn’t it be so for former NFL players?

    Honestly, I have a soft spot for the old timers of the froms PRE-1987. They are the men who truly sacrificed and laid the foundation to allow the game to grow to what is is now.

  44. axshusz hit the nail on the head. Its not about claiming a piece of the pie because players are jealous. Its about discovering later in life the complicated health problems the players have and the NFL having not properly supported with health benefits commensurate with what they are dealing with. As noted in other industries the situations were made right when they discovered the adverse effects of their given professions had on their health. All you see now from the players is the greed. Its sad.

  45. It’s obvious to anyone that today’s player only cares about themselves. That can be seen in their callous disregard for the men who built the game and now suffering the effects, or taking beer from a cooler of a casino like you own the joint. These monsters were created by us fans, the media, the coaches, the owners and yes, men like Huff who turned the game into an American obsession. Players today found themselves in the penthouse suite and now, not only do they think the built the building, they think they own it. The only way they’ll learn their lesson is to sit home for a year or 2 with no game checks and no prospects of employment. When they wake up and realize they took the elevator in a building owned by others and built by men like Huff, they’ll be better men for it.

  46. @coachstram says: Apr 5, 2011 8:48 AM

    another vikings fan? Man when are you guys gonna get over that pick by Porter? It’s over dude, let it go. There is a new champion this year, go hate on them.
    Brees is a good guy, and sometimes I know people like you don’t want to accept that because of your own faults that are so glaring, you’d rather destroy someone else.

    It’s ok though man, I’m sure someone still loves you, even if it isn’t your family.

  47. I worked in McDonald’s for 4 years to help my family and to pay for school. I want part of their profits because now my cholesterol is bad from eating so many Big Macs and I suffered emotional trauma from the fat and demanding customers.

  48. huff was the real thing. and he doesnt appear to need help from the nfl or nflpa*. he is speaking on behalf of retirees, however.

    brees usually thinks before he speaks, or seems to. on that one occasion he certainly did not. he should learn from that. also, he should not pick fights with sam huff.

  49. This is obviously a debate between readers from two different eras. The point being missed by the younger readers is one of the main reasons for the founding of the NFLPA (by retired veterans such as Huff) was, along with creating a vehicle for standard labor negotiations with the owners, to establish a pension and health benefits for retired NFL veterans. The problem is, too little of the money in the NFLPA goes back to the retired veterans who made this game as popular as it is today.

    CrackerJackJoe states “start by covering their healthcare” — I agree. Bob Lilly (HOF, All-Pro DT of the Dallas Cowboys) receives $126 per month from the NFLPA — folks, I don’t know where you buy your health insurance, but that certainly does not cover a monthly premium!

    Drew Brees was out of line with his original statement — and Mr. Smith has obviously couched this post in the same vein as the late Gene Upshaw’s statement “I don’t work for the retired players — I work for the current players.” (which also goes against the NFLPA constitution and by-laws — as much as Upshaw’s threat to break DeLamielleure’s neck!)

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