Lomas Brown: NFL should provide health care for life

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.”

59 responses to “Lomas Brown: NFL should provide health care for life

  1. WTF is wrong w/ these guys? Do they understand costs at all? Under what conditions…1 month employed 1yr…5 yrs… seriously? Lets just break the bank watch the NFL go under and then we can all just watch the UFL? Right? man learn to finance yourself liek the rest of ADULT AMERICA

  2. 5 years after that your insurance is gone….

    Is he saying that no other employer will offer health insurance to s former player when hired? Is he saying that no insurer will sell an individual former football player a policy?

  3. If the players expect the NFL to provide any lifetime benefit, the the players should expect to be okay with the NFL taking more “off the top” to pay for it.

  4. That’s why the retired players need to have an actual seat at the bargaining table – and not just “feel good” when Drew Brees says: Hey – we got you guys covered – no sweat.

  5. Earth to Lomas Brown……The active players care about one thing………….Getting paid…..No matter what the sport or profession……

  6. Would agree for football related injuries ONLY.

    Other than that, they are no different than any of the rest of us when it come to heath insurance.

  7. You’d think the current players would be pushing for all sorts of retirement benefits, including health insurance for life, since they well be retired players soon enough.

  8. I’m all for healthcare, but come one. there are millions of people without healthcare in the US. why should a guy who played 4 years in the NFL get healthcare for the rest of his life when he is 26-27? he still has good years to go find another job and work like the rest of us.

    I’m a police officer who makes $15 and hour with no health care or insurance, yet people who play a sport want health care for life?? screw that

  9. I think most Americans would like to work for their employer for four years and have health insurance for life.

    Unfortunately, the health care system in this country sucks and most Americans who have employer paid insurance still have to kick in monthly payments along with ridiculous $$ amounts before insurance kicks in( $2500+ deductibles)

  10. I *LOVE* the entitlement mentality. SHOULD be taken care of for life? Should they also continue to pay you a salary for the rest of your life too?

    Let me tell you about SHOULD, Mr. Brown:

    By the time you retire, you SHOULD have made enough contacts to get a job somewhere, earning a decent salary. At age 26, you’re still young enough to work. By age 32, you SHOULD have enough skills to have employment where health benefits are offered, so you SHOULD be able to take care of yourself.

    If the owners WANT to give lifetime health coverage, fine. But to require anyone to take care of you for life when you were compensated fairly for the work you did is just greedy. And it’s this mentality that’s destroying our nation.

  11. Seriously? A 4-year career should yield health care for life? Please, just sit around once you are done with football and don’t worry about working ever again.

  12. I could not disagree more. When a player retires, he has the rest of his life to pursue job opportunities and make valuable contributions to society. To think that your life is over at 26 or 36, because your football days is over, is absolute nonsense. It’s retiring from Football.., not retiring from life.

  13. He’s right on only one angle. Every person should have health care, not football players in general, but everybody. Only in places such as the USA is it even an issue. It’s insane how many people are twisted into believing the United States doesn’t have one of the poorest reputations on Earth for caring for their civilians. You shouldn’t have to pay for life saving medical care. You shouldn’t have to get second jobs or refinance your house to afford medication. Good lord, it’s pathetic.

  14. I think several people here, and also Lomas Brown misunderstand. I personally don’t think the NFL owners should provide health insurance for life for the retired players…the NFLPA and the NFLAA (Alumni Association) should get together and have a way that the retired players should get health insurance for life.

    It should work similarly to Medicare. Active and retired players pay money into the system to provide the health care for the retired players, with active players having to pay a larger portion. The retired players shouldn’t get it for free, but they should be able to have easy access to it.

  15. So what Lomas is saying, is that playing in the NFL for any amount of time should give you lifetime health insurance?

    How about getting a NEW job that gives you health benefits? Heck, people that work at McDonald’s can be eligible for health benefits with the their company.

    Guess these guys just want to play in the NFL and do nothing other than leech off society for the rest of their lives…..

  16. I agree with those who have expressed a displeasure at the entitlement mentality. I’m not quite so hard line. Current players, even those who make the minimum, might have enough money to become self insured. That is if they took care of their money and didn’t blow it on jewlery, cars, and illegitimate children. If I had the means to become self insured and forgo health insurance, with its red tape and jumping through hoops to get reimbursed, et. al., I would in a heartbeat. Part of the reason players get paid so much for such a short time in the league is that the job of football player is extremely punishing on a person’s body and they can generally only play for a few years. (The other part is that Football is awesome and generates a lot of money to be paid out to players.)

    That said, I do think the players have some argument. It is possible for a player to only make the league minimum for a few years and come out with a very beat up body. It may be possible that insurance is hard to get due to pre-existing conditions. Yet, I do also agree that future employers should be able to include them in group policies. It just requires a player to get a job.

    One more consideration is that the much older retired players didn’t make a ton of money when they were playing. Setting up an insurance fund for them would be the least that current players and owners should do for them as a thaqnk you for bringing the NFL to where it is today. This is really the only group of players that I believe have a gripe about insurance coverage. And even here, if working, these players should be able to get into group policies.

    It’s really hard for us jo-schmo’s to care about these arguments when so many of us cannot even afford to go to a game because of job loss or pay cut. We have real issues finding health benefits for ourselves now too. I think these arguments need some context, and an awareness of where all the money is coming from. Whether it’s the NFL, NBA, or government entities, I feel like there is a sense of an endless pot of money out there. This sense needs to change, but I don’t know how to do it.

  17. Mr. Brown may need extra health care for a mental evaluation after that comment.
    Footballers are loosing perspective; millions of Americans have much more dangerous jobs than playing football that entails no glory other than that of a smiling family.
    We are in a recession and these guys want to be taken care if like ex presidents when they retire at 30.
    Get a real job.
    Or go sign some autographs.

  18. I am getting tired of hearing about the average career of an NFL player, blah blah blah. One guy says average career is 3 years, another says, 5, another says 4… Well, which is it???

    Here is where I can understand what a guy like Lomas is saying. If you play 8+ NFL seasons, that means you were pretty good, and you played a lot of downs on the grid iron. If they want to be compensated after 8 years of service, I suppose I cant really argue with that. But, compensated for football related conditions, if you need a new liver because you were an alcoholic, that isnt really football related…

    However, I can argue against health care benefits for someone that is out of the league after 3 years, or 4 years. If you only made it 3 years, you probably sucked and didnt get on the field very much. Not being on the field very much means less wear and tear.

    To be fair, there are players like Robert Edwards for example, that had a promising career cut short because of injury, in a situation like that, I think it is fair to offer the same benefits as you would for someone that played 8+ years.

    But that is where I draw the line if I am an owner. Just because you were on an active game day roster for 3 weeks, before being cut, doesnt mean you should be eligible for lifetime benefits, LMFAO

  19. “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.’ “

    ….And then you go get a job–just like the rest of us!

  20. simplesimon1 says: Jul 14, 2011 11:50 AM

    He’s right on only one angle. Every person should have health care, not football players in general, but everybody. Only in places such as the USA is it even an issue. It’s insane how many people are twisted into believing the United States doesn’t have one of the poorest reputations on Earth for caring for their civilians. You shouldn’t have to pay for life saving medical care. You shouldn’t have to get second jobs or refinance your house to afford medication. Good lord, it’s pathetic.

    You also forgot, you shouldnt have to pay for the healthcare of all of the illegals in this country…do you think that the people of Canada, or England, or Australia, etc are hard at work right now, so that you can walk into a hospital in their country and get free health care???? If you put money into the health care pot, you should be able to receive any and all treatment you need. If you dont put into the pot, you can go F yourself. The leaches in this country that think being an American (or simply living in America, legally or otherwise) entitles you to everything from housing to food to healthcare, and you should be given everything for free, are killing us

  21. It’s become so clear to me that NFL players really view the NFL as the lottery. Once they are in they should never have to work again. I always assumed players made ridiculous amounts of money because of the inherent risks associated with football to either injure them for life or just a simple career ending injury.

    If that’s the way you want to live you’d better be smart about your money but doing things like “making it rain” doesn’t help.

    How about you guys set a mill’ back to exclusively pay for lifetime insurance that YOU purchase? Hell, a lot of these guys have degrees and are perfectly able to work a REAL job. Either save in order to not have to work again or don’t waste your chance to make yourself marketable to another employer later.

  22. I am in favor of access to heavily subsidized heath insurance for players provided they have a service minimum length required. Like 5 years of service or a certain amount of games started.
    As to the commenter who said for football injures only, how would that work exactly? I think it would be a nightmare of paperwork and man hours and hence more $$ to deal with that. Just subsidize the policy.

  23. Universal Health Care works perfectly all over the world. It’s really sad that people are against it because Glenn Beck told them it was a bad thing. It’s sickening that people need to rely on a for profit corporation to keep them alive. Healthcare is a basic human right, like education.

  24. simplesimon1: “You shouldn’t have to pay for life saving medical care.”

    Who should have to pay? Do you think the government is just supposed to print more money or are you willing to have more taken out of your paycheck for those who refuse to work? Do you think the doctors should donate their time? If so, are you willing to come in on the weekend and flip a few extra burgers for free because the citizens of your city are hungry? Why not? They might starve and you wouldn’t want their health to be at risk.

    Why do you think 70% of this country is upset over ObamaCare and want it repealed? Your members of Congress didn’t even care to debate it because they’re exempt from the law that they couldn’t be bothered to read. I think it was Nancy Pelosi who said “We have to pass the bill to find out what’s in it.” Unbelievable. Both political parties are responsible for it too.

    I’ve got news for you. It’s not the government’s money. It’s your money. It’s my money. And we work hard for it. There are able-bodied people in this country who refuse to do their share so maybe you should help them. While you’re at it, maybe you should give Lomas a call and ask him how much you can send his way since you’re concerned for his medical care.

  25. Everybody should be covered under a government healthcare plan that takes care of ALL its citizens. MAybe if we put less money into military and more into that it would be possible.

    However, thats not going to happen any time soon. So the reality of the situation is with the way things are currently is that Lomas Brown’s thinking is crazy. An NFL player should be treated like any other employee anywhere else when his career is over. Go find another job with insurance.

    Now, I will say this, if an NFL player has injuries that prevent them from getting any other insurance after they leave the NFL, then the NFL’s insurance should remain covering them. Also, if they have injuries that are so bad (paralysis, etc…) that they can never do anything again, then they should also remain covered by the league.

    I think all of that is pretty fair.

  26. Agree with most comments here … Especially that the NFLPA and the NFLAA should be the ones providing the benefits, not the owners.

    My thinking is that the longer a player plays, the longer his benefits should last after he retires. Guy who plays one year gets a certain number of years. Whereas a guy who plays ten years would get substantially longer coverage.

  27. If he really wants Health Care for Life, he needs to run for congress, get elected for one term, that oughtta do it!

  28. Can they not find a job like the rest of us. That’ll provide them health care. I guess at 32 they have no more plans of EVER working again…. Welcome to the real world. It certainly sucks. But we deal with it every day, and never had millions and millions of dollars.

  29. and everybody wonders why we are quickly moving closer to the soviet union day by day……
    they go to school for free, the make a gazillion dollars and they want somebody to pay their way through life…..
    It is only a matter of time before they are discussing ways to make owning property illegal. And I am serious.

  30. That is outrageous, the older in life you get, the more you need to go to the doctor? That just cannot be true, not possible. It must only apply to pro athletes. He is 100% right, his first employer should pay his health care for life.

  31. How does working 3 or 4 years on average for a company that pays you a lifetime’s worth of money in that timeframe make you ALSO entitled to a lifetime’s worth of benefits once you are done? Why isn’t it the players who are reaping the benefits off the backs of these guys who made a fraction of what the current guys are reponsibility? If the players really want a “help the legacy guys” fund, then by all means, the NFLPA has ever right to set up some sort of percentage based reduction on everyone’s paychecks that puts money into this pool. I’ll bet you that 90% of the current players would outright refuse this if they had a choice because they want to help the old guys, as long as it’s not coming out of their pockets of course.

  32. Just because I am sorry and broke, everyone should be…especially guys who play a kid’s game that I worship.

    Their employers should treat them as crappy as mine treats me. They should get over-priced, weak coverage just like I receive.

    I don’t realize that you guys were so into equality.

  33. @ swervinmervin:

    Are you serious? Every time I hear the military funding argument I want to slap whoever is presenting it. Don’t you realize that is one of the FEW things the govt IS, and supposed to be, responsible for? National defense. That is their function. Period. Health care is not. The Feds shouldn’t be involved in anything. If a state wants to try and lure tax payers into their state by offering socialized medicine let THEM decide. The Feds have no business doing anything other than protecting the borders and printing money that good in all 57 states (Obama jab).

  34. i agree with mr. brown as long as the nfl takes all the money out of the pot that the players get. They should also pay players an annuity so that they have money after they retire. Again just take it out of the pot, so peyton manning now makes 200k a year and a rookie makes 30k a year. But you’ll be covered for life!

  35. Dude, you are an athlete, not a federal employee. As an athlete your job was one of the most irrelevant (affects on the community) jobs in the world, only 2nd to those who report on said athletes. Plus, you got paid very well to make sure you had those bases covered when your career ends. If all that cash when up your nose or down the drain, that’s not the employers fault and they should not have to baby sit you forever.
    That said, you were one heck of a football player and good luck to you.

  36. The problem is Brown is sort of right. The players destroy themselves playing football. They sacrifice their body for our amusement. The argument that they make a lot of money doesn’t hold. Most players do not make a lot of money. Most players are the temp players that fill roster spots in camp, or due to injury. For that, they get permanent injury. With the ongoing revelations about horrific brain injuries, clearly something needs to be done. These older players cannot get health insurance due to these “existing” conditions. Many older players die horrible deaths, not even knowing who they are. That is what these players have to look forward to. Crippled brains and bodies. Early deaths.

  37. Wow. The arrogance, ignorance, and lack of compassion or reason displayed by many people here is staggering. Just because you did not get a chance to play in the NFL like he did, does not give you the opportunity to blast him and assume that he’s “out of touch” with society. Analyze his opinion based upon the words he uses, rather than based upon your own biased assumptions.

    It’s that type of extremist, unreasonable discussion…that inability to put yourself in another man’s shoes that has led to the rise of the extremists and lack of ability to compromise of the representatives in government.

  38. Regardless if Lomas or anyone else is covered by medical insurance, treatment is still paid for by the taxpayers. Do you want to continue paying on the back end, when someone doesn’t have insurance versus paying for it up front? I’ll pay up front because it’s cheaper. Not treating someone is not an option. We all should have AFFORDABLE health insurance for life. Hail!!

  39. swervinmervin says:
    Jul 14, 2011 12:43 PM
    Everybody should be covered under a government healthcare plan that takes care of ALL its citizens. MAybe if we put less money into military and more into that it would be possible.

    And who exactly is gonna stop another country from coming over here and taking all that free healthcare? Stern language is probably insufficient. Maybe if we had a military to protect us… Looks like we are back to square one, ervin.

  40. Hmmm… How about this? The average base salary is well above the rest of the population, and the NFL minimum is MORE than enough to allow the average “smart” player to put some $$$ away for the future. Stop living the high life, and think ahead. I have to do it with my job and life… they should too. A 4-5 year career with that income should provide plenty in the bank for the following years after football. As for the players that wash out…that is what the FREE college education was for… Injured early on, or a career ending injury while playing…health care should be provide at a reasonable rate.

  41. vdaigglesfan says:Jul 14, 2011 2:47 PM

    And who exactly is gonna stop another country from coming over here and taking all that free healthcare? Stern language is probably insufficient. Maybe if we had a military to protect us… Looks like we are back to square one, ervin.


    He said less money, not no money. People always take the extreme positions in this argument when they become offended.

    I don’t recommend cutting back the military personel wise but there are other ways. Take the uneccesary Iraq invasion and occupation. How many BILLIONS has the government spent on that boondoggle?

  42. I got laid off after 17 years with a company and now they don’t provide any health insurance either. However it was immediately, not 5 years down the road. It is/was my responsibility to put money away so that when I either reached retirement age or (in my case) had my job off-shored, I would have the money to pay for said insurance. As a Lions fan I have always liked and respected Lomas Brown. However, this is one comment by him that just doesn’t fly.

  43. I have no problem with the NFL providing healthcare for former players. The problem is the former players think it should be free is my guess.

  44. Why doesn’t football just pay you for life, buy you a mansion, a limo with a driver, a car dealership, free dental, free nursing home care and also include your family, your offspring from a marriage, your girlfriend or even your boyfriends. What else do you want? You want all the gold in Fort Knox too? Yep, I think you deserve it all. For someone that makes millions of dollars and buying all that bling bling you carry around your necks you surely deserve it all. Us poor people that WORK for a living will help support your habits including the purple juice, crack, steroids and anything else you want. Kind of a pity, someone that PLAYS a game hasn’t a clue what it’s like for someone that has to work for decades just to make ends meet if they can do that at all. My heart bleeds for you millionairs – NOT

  45. “It’s become so clear to me that NFL players really view the NFL as the lottery.”

    Well, it’s really this new faction of old, lawyered-up retired players – not the NFL active players – that are trying to elbow into the CBA negotiations and make pie-in-the-sky demands while they otherwise lay in their lounge chairs drinking pina coladas. They are trying to embarrass the league and active players with their ‘ we-built-this-game-so-you-owe-us- bigtime’ rant, but I’ll willing to bet most of them did little or nothing for John Mackey until the league stepped in with their 88 Plan. Even Gene Upshaw – who represented many of these retired players when they were active – said the union had no responsibility for the retired players. He considered that was the league’s responsibility – just as most employers are responsible for retirement benefits.

  46. They ought to have to pay for their housing, utilities, as well as a stipend. FOR LIFE!!!! In addition they should receive unlimited cell phone and data plan usage forever so that they can tweet about how tough their life is. I can’t believe these greedy owners! 🙂

    NFL players(not all of you… just ones with views like Lomas)…. You’re killing me!!!

  47. Here’s the plan. Players get healthcare for life, max of $2mil per season. Owners get a max of 125% return on investment. The rest of the money taken in a variety of taxes. That’s fair enough for all the greedy bastards. Owners and players alike need to see what a real job is so maybe they can stop the constant crying. They need to understand that no matter what happens with the talks they will better off than 99% of the world.

  48. Here’s a novel idea for the retired players that someone touched on earlier.

    Dear Retired Players,

    Do you remember that place where you were playing football before you played in the NFL called COLLEGE? That was the place where you got a FREE education and an opportunity to get a degree that can prepare you for a CAREER outside of football. Maybe you should have considered taking advantage of that and taking care of yourself like most normal men and women if you didn’t make enough money to retire comfortably.


    The average Americans

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