Mike Goff: “NFL does an awful job” with retired players

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The suicide of Junior Seau has many former NFL players saying it’s time for the league to do more to support the men who have left the game. Mike Goff, who played guard in the NFL for 12 seasons, says what the NFL is currently doing for retired players is totally inadequate.

“Players need a game plan,” Goff told U-T San Diego. “The NFL does an awful job. When you’re done, they kind of chuck you away – ‘Thanks for everything. See you later.’ The NFL is more concerned with the product is this year rather than what these guys are going to do when they’re done.”

No one knows, and we might never know, what led Seau to kill himself. But some of his former retired players say that when you leave the game, you go from football being your reason to live to not knowing what you’re living for.

“I still have trouble with it,” Goff said. “Especially when you live in the community where you played and had your best memories . . . you wish you were still out there playing, out there with your boys. . . . You can find other avenues, but there is nothing that will be the same as when you were playing.”

The NFL welcomes each year’s draft picks to the league with a rookie symposium. It would be wise to also invite the players those draft picks are replacing to a retirees’ symposium.

102 responses to “Mike Goff: “NFL does an awful job” with retired players

  1. This to me is where the lack of education these athletes receive as adolescents catches up to them.

    Yes, you will never experience the same adrenaline rush, but there are other challenges in life if you have an idea how to look for them.

    Not every man can be Magic Johnson, some even become Lenny Dykstra. But every athlete should understand that one day their career will end and they’ll need a contingency plan.

  2. NFL players should try being a regualar guy that pays 200 bucks to go see them play and never live the lives they live – then tell me about hard times. sorry I dont feel sorry for people that have the means to live a great life and throw it away – walk a mile in my shoes

  3. In other words Mike Goff, you’re saying you had the chance to play a game for a living and make tons of money – and it was so awesome that you don’t know how to cope with a normal life?

    I don’t understand this cry baby mentality of grown men expecting to be coddled by their former employer. It is one thing if the NFL hid the risks and dangers of concussions. It’s another to expect them to hold your hand your entire life.

  4. I’m sorry, I can’t agree with Goff. Yes the current game is built on the backs of the men who came before them, but the NFL can not live your ‘post NFL life’ for you. If the players don’t have a “plan”..who’s that blame fall on? And, let’s be honest here…let’s say the NFL offered financial planning, life coaching, etc… how many players do you think would actually take advantage of it? Coming out of college and making millions, I’m willing to bet most of them pretty much think they don’t need it or they know it all already. You want a rookie symposium? Make a 2 hour video that they sit through and watch that details issues like Seau and Taylor and Alzedo and Schlichter and Bonds and Dykstra and make them aware that as awesome as it is to be in their position, they’re all only a few bad decisions away from being part of next year’s symposium video…

  5. So the NFL treates former employees the same way all companies do? Wow. Here is an idea…when your making all that money hire a financial professional to create a plan for you so worrying about money is no object. It means you cannot buy 10 cars or mansions but you wont be broke.

    These retired guys need to shut up. Ask any employee in the real world what happens when they leave a company…that company does nothiong for them

  6. Hey man you got to enjoy it a lot longer than the rest of us get to. Most of us get high school football, maybe some college if we are so lucky, and then we are done. And we do not make millions of dollars while we are at it neither. I would rather be in your shoes with too much money and nothing to do than being the average joe with not enough money and too much to do.

    I can’t believe these players egos sometimes. They don’t feel “special” once they are done playing. The NFL does nothing for them. Those poor souls only get millions for about 10 years of work and then they have to retire. This is like when they compared the NFL to slavery. Excuse me if I don’t join the pity party.

  7. Football is a job and the NFL is an employer. I do not expect my employer to help me transition to retirement when I call a quits 30 years from now. At some point we have to realize that players are accountable for their own actions. If they throw away their money and everything they have worked for is it the NFL’s fault? If they did nothing to secure a stable and happy life for themselves while they were playing is that too the NFL’s fault? Junior Seau’s death is a tragedy but he had every resource in the world available to him. He could have helped himself but chose not to.

  8. Im sorry that a free college education and millions a year through your professional playing career werent enough for you to plan for life after

  9. Want the NFL to hold your hand and sing you to sleep too? You’re grown-ups, take care of yourselves.

    The people that need better post-career support are disabled veterans from the Military. The VA gives pretty poor support, unless forced to help.

  10. I can’t understand how these athletes think that they are going to get sympathy from the public on statements like this. I mean, these guys get to retire in their 30’s, with multi millions of dollars, and then they want to play the “oh poor me” card. Like the above poster mentioned….try showing up for a real job every day, and never getting to take vacations. They have no idea the reality of the world that everyone else lives in.

  11. Wow come on players welcome to the REAL WORLD. Every retired person goes through you aren’t what you were. If you aren’t smart enough to put something away for the day than please don’t get on the soap box and cry the blues. There are millions in your condition and they find away to make it.

  12. It would be wise to also invite the players those draft picks are replacing to a retirees’ symposium.



    Brett Favre
    Randy Moss

    Retirement in the NFL isn’t exactly retirement

  13. From the cradle to the grave.

    I don’t think so.

    Time for the players to take the training wheels off and pull up their own pants.

  14. This makes absolutely no sense. NO company has a responsibility to “prepare” it’s employees for another job. These are grown men. When their football playing days are over they need to figure out what their next steps are – just like the rest of us do when we leave one job and move on to the next.

  15. The NFL is supposed to carry them for life, or what?

    The already got a free college education, if they actually chose to participate.

    Enough of this.

  16. I have never understood why it is the NFL’ s responsibility to aid ex players in retirement. their culture keeps them depending on handouts, government or employer. do it for yourself or live in a box and eat trash. as long as you entertain me.

  17. The NFL is a job. It lasts for a while and then you need to get a new job. Just like 300,000,000 other Americans.

    The idea that playing a professional sport entitles you to a lifetime free pass at 35 is ridiculous.

    Most everyone else has to work another 25-30 years. Maybe athletes should too.

  18. Maybe the NFL can do a little more to give these guys some post career advice and guidance when they leave the game but these are grown men and the NFL shouldn’t need to hold the hands of these guys after they are done playing.

    Quit blaming the NFL for everything wrong with your life and take some personal responsibility.

  19. Considering how much the average NFL player makes, I see no reason why the NFL should have to worry about your azz after retirement. Not only that, but for those that make millions, it’s laughable to think that anyone owes them any sort of retirement plan. It’s not the NFL’s fault these dumb jocks can’t manage their money.

  20. I thought the NFL had a program in place that helped former players find work in the media. Please correct me if I am wrong.

  21. Gobungles pretty much took the words right out of my mouth. I can imagine that when you’re in college, and you’re a top NFL prospect, and you’re staring millions of dollars in the face and a lifetime of fame and luxury, that school isn’t the first thing on your mind.

    But if these guys would pay attention and take something out of the classroom part of their college careers, maybe they could find something else that they enjoy doing and could get hired to do it.

    Heck, most of these guys make enough money that, invested wisely, they wouldn’t even have to WORK for a living, they could find another hobby that they enjoy doing and spend their lives doing it.

    I just find it hard to believe that these guys don’t have anything else that they enjoy in their lives and the means to do said things.

  22. The NFL already takes care of them. It’s called a fat pension. Why should the NFL have to give them a “gameplan” on retirement? Can’t these guys figure out what to do on their own? And if guys can’t handle the loss of fame thats not something the NFL can or should handle. Goff sounds like a crybaby

  23. His anger is misguided, most NFL teams have somebody available while they’re playing to assist them in transitioning beyond their careers.

    The league does also: http://www.nfl.com/playerdevelopment/transition

    But more than likely most players are too busy hanging out, clubbing or pissing their money away on travels, vehicles, mansions or via child support after knocking women up.

    Every year you see it on Real Sports on HBO.

    It’s easy to blame others and absolve yourself of responsibility.

  24. Surely this comment will not be popular, but it is what it is…. I understand to a degree and sympathize what alot of these men go through and deal with after years of playing, and having “nothing after football”…but this recent sentiment that the NFL(or anyone)owes them a retirement and/or reintegration plan is kind of offensive. Maybe its just me, being a combat veteran and all, but these are grown men who know what they are signing up for, and (with this era anyway)are VERY well compensated and live their dream. By all means give them some support, but they are not “owed” anything after they retire.

  25. Mikes comments reflect the entitlement mentality in our country. What does anyone owe you or me? The simple answer is “nothing”. The correct perspective should be that it was a privilege to play a sport and get paid well for it. If you want to “adjust” well after life in football or in any sport, quit looking for what others can do for you and find what you can do for others. It will bring healing to your soul.

  26. Grow Up! Try having to work like a dog till your 65 to make what you make in a few years. Enjoy your retirement at 35 douche!

  27. This guy is so wrong. Thats were being a 35+ year old man comes in. No one should have to tell you what to do with yourself.

    You dont have to work, but if you want to do it.

    Maybe a seminar for retiree’s “how to deal with being less famous” and “now that people aren’t paid to tie your shoes…”

  28. If players only used enough of their salary to live comfortably, putting the rest IN THE BANK, they would have more than enough after retirement, to live better than 99% of Americans.

    Applying their college degree would be icing on the cake.

  29. Are NFL retirees responsible for anything these days? Sorry but it’s about time to wake up and enter the real world.

  30. 1st: Here’s an idea for those players who majored in basket weaving in college just to get by….FOCUS ON YOUR EDUCATION!! Some of these kids come from bad situations and have a real chance to do something with a college degree AFTER playing.

    2nd: You can’t help stupid. Did anyone notice Dontari Poe on draft day with his big gaudy diamond watch, and diamond stud earrings? HE HASN’T EVEN SIGNED ON THE DOTTED LINE YET! That behavior doesn’t change either which is why most of these guys file for bankruptcy in 5-10 yrs. after playing.

    3rd: Every NFL team has a Director of Player Programs who sets up internships and other career related programs for these guys during the offseason. If players don’t choose to partake in these programs, you can’t cry about not “being set-up” for success after your career is over.

  31. I was going to add a long “I feel bad for the former players”. But you know what, the more I think about it. Whiners.

  32. Worst case scenario for an NFL player…………
    They play the for only the NFL average which is 3.5 years @ 400k per year + free college education.

    Hmm that’s enough to pay cash for a nice house and invest in a small business after football. We should all be that unlucky.

  33. bigjoe2269 says:
    May 5, 2012 5:15 PM
    NFL players should try being a regualar guy that pays 200 bucks to go see them play and never live the lives they live – then tell me about hard times. sorry I dont feel sorry for people that have the means to live a great life and throw it away – walk a mile in my shoes


    What a hypocrite. “Walk a mile in my shoes”. So it doesn’t apply to them because they had/have money???

    THIS is the indictment on our society that thinks their problems are so special, so unique, that they are elevated above others. It is a grand ignorance that is killing a Nation and a people.

    Compassion for ANYONE struggling is a strength, not a weakness.

    You are one self-centered fool.

  34. Pretty sure taking care of retired union workers is the union’s job. Not the leagues. All the league is responsible for is to ensure any retirement checks to players with retirement plans through the teams get sent on time.

  35. It’s pathetic that most of the comments of the ppl commenting falls into the “suck it up and take a lap” category.

    What fools these fans be.

  36. Me, me, me. That’s all these guys think about. i retired as a Realtor. Do you know what I get as a retirement package? NOTHING! Nobody calls. No checks. No support. Nobody worships me. Nobody cares. There are no adoring fans. No healthcare. No microphones. No reunions. Nothing. I’m on my own. So what? Geez. now I’m sad.

  37. You know it’s funny how these guys feel like everyone owes them something.The million dollar contracts the freebies for being a famous pro athlete and the fame just aren’t enough for these guys.But like everything it eventually comes to an end and they are still whining that they want more.The NFL gave them more than they ever dreamed of and they want to complain still.They complain the NFL hid the dangers of aging the game.Ummm how so?You mean by running into other men who are just as big and strong as you are full speed 17 weeks a year for 60 minutes a game would hurt you?Wow who knew?Im tired of the ‘poor me mentality ‘of these guys when nobody fired them to play the game or spend their money foolishly.

  38. guys……the nfl is there to entertain US, the actual people who keep this country moving…..the ones who work 60 hours a week, who struggle to pay our mortgages, who wonder how in the world our kids will ever be able to buy a home someday. we love the NFL for its entertainment value…it allows us to take a break from our REAL lives….but we cannot allow ourselves to take what any NFL player says, about real life, seriously. these guys are blessed….and DELUSIONAL, if they think that WE care what THEY have to say about how difficult life is…..gimme a freaking break.

  39. If I want to know how to best prepare for retirement, I either do a ton of research or hire someone to advise me.

    I am 37 and the vast majority of players are retired by my age. Hard to have sympathy when I know I am going to have to work for another 30 years before I can relate to being retired, if I can even afford to.

  40. NFL players are really out of touch with the real world.

    I know, I know, thumbs down from ex-NFL players who believe they are owed the world and are spending their time on message boards hoping for handouts instead of getting a job.

  41. You have to be insane to risk your health playing this stupid game for the entertainment of the typical mouth-breathing, knuckle-dragging alcoholic NFL “fan”. What a sad bunch of pitiful savages.

  42. Hey Mike Goff, former NFL players are “doing an awful job” utilizing their free educations…

  43. Got damn what else do these people want? Make millions of dollars each year they play and cry like a baby when their career is over.

  44. This is going to be hard to convince fans of sympathy. They make more than most americans do in a lifetime in just a few years. You can do what everyone else does and take retirement but at a much earlier age. Is that what this guy is complaining about? Retiring too early?

  45. A retired player at 25, 30 or 35 years old needs someone to show them how to act when they leave the game? If you haven’t obtained enough life skills by then your probably not going to do well anyway. Most have college degrees or can obtain one with another year of school. I don’t feel sorry for any of these guys who have made more playing football than I we ever dream of.

  46. @bigjoe2269
    not sure what you mean by “have the means to live a great life and throw it away”. Is that a reference to Junior Seau’s suicide? I hope not.

    Regarding salaries/ticket prices, MOST players have a VERY short career of 3 years and don’t make NEARLY the amount of money that the media likes to present to the public.



    The lack of education and the “culture shock” of becoming a “regular guy” are major contributing factors in the failure of former player adjusting to life after football. Many players have been playing on organized teams since grade school, so when that support system is no longer there, they probably feel like many of us would feel if we lost most of our family in a single event.

    Lack of planning? Yes, but don’t minimize the impact of the head injuries, which can cause depression, memory loss and other significant problems. Players who took advantage of their college educations may be unable to function in a “normal” world, due to the impact of those injuries, despite their desire to do so.

    Above all, keep in mind that these issues don’t just impact the mega-rich players of the last 10 years or so. The legacy players have been suffering with many of the same issues for decades and the NFL has ignored them, and the “average” (3 yr career) guys are often cut due to injuries which can cripple them and prevent them from living “normal lives”.

    Some kind of trust or medical fund system should’ve been established years ago. Maybe “God-ell” will see fit to push that, now that the lawsuits have started.

    BTW, those players who don’t fall into the significant physical/neurological injury category should seek transitional support & then continued education, like the rest of us.

  47. Some of these guys are just unproductive, victim-mentality, dysfunctional, losers with their hand out looking for a free ride because they were too foolish to plan their future. They were paid far and away vastly higher than nearly any other workers on this planet and guess what…. most other workers don’t get anything from their previous employers. Some of these guys simply see a potential for “free money” and want to see if they can get it. I have no sympathy for these guys crying poor mouth. The rest of us all have to forge our way in life without getting handouts from our past employers or anybody else. We WORK day in and day out and EARN our WAGES. If some of these guys are screwed up and in financial dire straights, it’s their own damned fault and they should have planned/managed their financial affairs and futures better when they were rolling around in silly amounts of cash.

    Furthermore, with regards to the physical debilitation later in life because they played football. They played the game of their own free volition because A) It was their love & passion and B) they were paid a boat load of money. DO NOT PRETEND that you had no idea that it was taking a physical toll on your body. You knew it and you continued to play as long as you possibly could. It was your choice and yours alone. You did it for the huge money and you loved to play the game. Nobody else made you do it so please stop playing “the victim”.

    With regards to brain damage caused from repeated concussions: It is only recently that the cause/effect/magnitude of this has come to light. Since it has come to light the NFL has…. seemingly anyway…. taken deliberate steps to prevent/minimize concussions. Changing the kick-off rule is an example. (They blew it with the Colt McCoy situation last season so it’s definitely a work in progress.) However, considering that the medical community as well as the NFL had no concussion/brain damage understanding to this degree in the past, the NFL should not be held liable. It should also be noted that these players accumulated these concussions and the damage over the course of their entire careers including, youth football, high school football, college football and the NFL. Why are they not filing lawsuits against their home towns, their high schools and their colleges as well as the NFL? Because the NFL has lots and lots of money, a high public profile and the players and their lawyers figure to put the league into a public image nightmare and force a settlement from them just so the NFL can stop the bad publicity…. even though they did nothing wrong.

    Moving forward, however, the NFL will have liability because the medical evidence is now known. They must continue to address the issue and take very pro-active actions in not only preventing/limiting concussions but also implementing the right policies/procedures for post-concussion treatment on the field when it happens. The Colt McCoy situation should never have happened and is a glaring illustration what not to do.

  48. I guess Warren Sapp will jumping on your band wagon, Mr. Goff. These guys have degrees, tons of money than go bankrupt. Yeah its the NFL’s fault. Grow up welcome to the real world, since NFL players don’t walk in normal struggling peoples shoes.

  49. What a friggin baby!

    The nerve of these guys kills me, Mike Goff – a player who toiled in relative anonymity his entire career probably made more in 1 season of professional football than I will make in my entire 40+ year working career.

    As such, after playing for 12 years – one could only imagine he has enough money to live life however he wants and frankly so could his grandkids. He never had to work a job he hated (like most of us do), and he will never have to work a day in his life past the age of 35 (as opposed to the 65+ for the rest of us)

    Boo-hoo-hoo the NFL doesn’t do enough for him now that he’s retired. What should they do? Every retired player gets a lifetime job in the front office to each team? Mike Goff could pass the hundreds (thousands) of living retired Chargers players in the hall and do nothing but relive their “glory days”. Screw you

    I know its the current fashionable thing to do, but at least baseball, hockey, basketball, etc players aren’t constantly whining that they didn’t get enough from their millions of dollars

  50. Goff and other former players need to be scolding their parents, high schools, and colleges. Not all, but very many of them grow up with a self-identity that is totally centered on sports, and they are able to get through school with limited education because of their athletic ability. That leaves them with nothing to fall back on – either career-wise or from a personal perspective. Not surprising so many can’t handle it.

  51. Dude! Save and invest your money, then travel and see the world. Is that so freakin hard?? I have no pity on those “what am I going to do with my life?”. Give me a break. Maybe a lot of people will disagree but it’s just my opinion. I would love to be an nfl player. I guarantee you that I’d have no problem living the rest of my life.

  52. The loss of Junior is tragic, he was such a great player and even better human being. Athletes often go through a state of depression in retirement, as they begin to reevaluate their lives and the people in it. Depression happens to many people across all careers, and sometimes hit you unexpectedly. People around you start to seem so distant and part of the problem that you shut them out and internalize everything until its too late. As a former athlete, when I stopped competing, I went through a state of depression for about 13months. It changed me forever and the way I relate to people. People who face this need support around them, but the thing is… the people around them are usually the cause. They pile on their issues and problems on the strong and capable, like Junior. But eventually the strong and capable can’t bear any more, and they break. So who is there now to help the once “strong and capable”? Counseling should be mandatory for retiring players.

    But!!! As grown adults who get paid millions of dollars, NFL players need to assume some responsibility as well for their own well being and they should plan for retirement, just like many of us do. The notion that the league has to hold their hands is childish, these are grown men, who must accept that reality is not a pro player lifestyle where you are waited on hand and foot. The NFLPA should set up a program to educate players about depression, but players should pay for it, just like the rest of society. The league should not be responsible for managing every aspect of players lives… they get paid alot of money, they are more than capable putting some of it to their well being rather than extravagance.

  53. All athletes need to stop playing the victim.

    According to USA Today Goff made over $18,000,000.00 in his career and for those of you who take pity on the low end of the scale with the league average 3.5 years and making the minimum salary you earn $1,335,00.00.

    While the average american makes ~$41,000.oo.

    By my math it takes the average american 32.5 years to make as much as an NFL player making the minimum for a 3.5 year career.

    And do not give me the risk of injury crap…NO ONE in this country is forced to take a job…you have the right to choose.

    They choose football they choose high pay high risk. Period!

  54. Geez, what is wrong with all of the retirees?? We, the hard working citizens work our butts off 24/7 at 9-5 jobs and when we retire, do we get help from our former employers? NO! The NFL retirees need to learn how to take care of themselves. Also what are the colleges degrees for? Oh wait, about half of them do not have it since they left their schools early to make millions of dollars.

  55. NFL??? What is the NFLPA doing for its retired union members? A fund which would provide medical and financial assistance to retirees should be started. Five per cent of every players salary matched by the NFL. It’s a start.

  56. I believe the NFL should do as much as possible for players as far as health goes, both while they play and after.

    But I think the former players are getting a bit out of hand with their complaints. When you leave high school to play college ball, even if you think you may have a shot at the league someday, you need a plan. The players know that a career in the NFL does not last long. Get your college degree, establish a career with your NFL earnings, and do something with your life like everyone else does.

    I am a teacher/coach. I gave six years to my first school. I was laid off because the school was dropping enrollment and eventually closed. The school ended my paychecks and benefits at the end of the summer. That’s it. I moved on and got another job. I didn’t expect the school to be there for me if I got depressed 10 years later. If NFL players think that football is the only thing in life and they won’t know how to adjust to life without it, then their priorities are the problem, not the NFL. Family, faith, and education. That’s what’s important. Football is a game, and like all games, they end.

    NFL alumni: get on with your lives by understanding what is important in life to begin with. The rest of us do not feel sorry for you as we live paycheck to paycheck and watch you guys make millions, spend millions more, not have your priorities in life straight, then complain that the NFL won’t clean up your mistakes.

    Enough already. Players say the game is getting soft. Maybe they should take a look in the mirror.

  57. I agree..the NFL has HAD that attitude for a long time and hopefully it will change quickly. The players MAKE the game and then gone..mostly out of sight. Adjustment to retired life, out of the limelight can be brutal. Why is it that two years out of retirement 78% of all NFL players are broke or in financial difficulty?? (per an in depth Sports Illustrated story 09) It is more than just spending as the article says. They need help guidance on many levels. A symposium is the least they can do. I strongly believe that they need some kind of continuing guidance through their football careers so that when they are retired it might be easier. With the medical issues of long term damage with concussions that has to be looked at as well, both for current players as well as those retired. The NFL has money and Goodell needs to use some of it to help those that have played the game.

  58. “I still have trouble with it,” Goff said. “Especially when you live in the community where you played and had your best memories . . . you wish you were still out there playing, out there with your boys. . . . You can find other avenues, but there is nothing that will be the same as when you were playing.”

    Springstein sang about those “glory days”. Everybody has them. Grade shool. High school and college athletics. Fraternity parties. But we all have to grow up and face life. So do NFL players and the sooner they realize that, the better off they’ll be.

  59. they play games for a living and decide to do so using their own free will…I am sick of people who run their mouths making people out to be victims…Junior tried to kill himself last year in a car…if his family or network missed that clue…they are the ones who failed him…I got news for you this country is such a disaster these days…Football players need special attention?…I am so close to drawing the line on sports…especially these stupid blogs

  60. During the 1987 strike, a reporter was interviewing Gale Sayers, asking his opinion of the situation. Sayers asked the reporter, “What are they striking for?”
    The reporter replied, “Benefits.”
    Sayers countered almost angrily, “At a million dollars a year, I’ll make my own benefits – what are they striking for?”

    Sayers showed he understood it was up to the individual to make their own life, during and after football. Magic Johnson clearly surrounded himself with smart business people, and is worth far more now than what he made as a Laker. That’s the way it’s done. Former players complaining the NFL still owes them a “life” is being shortsighted and selfish.

  61. oh boo hoo, I really feel for a lot of spoiled ex athletes who p— their money away and have get a real life, not

  62. I think people are taking Goff’s comments the wrong way. The above is an excerpt from a larger article:


    From what I can tell Goff isn’t asking for the NFL to coddle players in their post career- he seems to be referring to the lack of resources and programs for former players especially those suffering from physical and mental ailments. I don’t think it’s a ridiculous request that there be programs in place to help individuals suffering from the effects of significant head trauma as a result of multiple hits to the head! Should NFL retirees pay for that type of service- sure! But the programs need to be in place in order for them to receive help they might need.

    I don’t think Goff mentioned NOT having a game plan. In the larger article it mentions he’s finishing school- sounds like he’s finding other things to focus on in his retirement. And it seems like he has a “game plan”.

    The article doesn’t come across like he’s asking people to feel sorry for players who are financial well off based on millions of dollars in earnings nor does it sound like he’s excusing the idiots who blow all of their money… it merely sounds like there is a lack of services available for former players who might possibly need them and he thinks the NFL should step up and make that happen.

    Did Goff and other players get to make million of dollars- yes. Did they get to live out a life that most people dream of- yes. Should they have health insurance and programs to help their battered brains and bodies- YES. I’m sure they’d all willingly pay for it!!

  63. LMAO…wow, pretty much have to agreee w/everybody AND their brothers! Why should the NFL be responsible for what happens to these guys once they retire?

  64. So the players make all this money and can’t afford counseling? Player – “I am feeling depressed, maybe I should see counselor that could help me through things or maybe I should get some more bling. I’ll get the bling and show off, that will make me feel better.”

  65. RIP. Junior. NFL could hire a person or entity to assist players in coping with life after football. In fairness to the NFL it’s the same as any business, once you retire they forget about you. Sad but true.

  66. #1 That’s life:

    The NFL is just like every other company out there. Ask all the folks who got laid off in 2008 if their companies were there for them.. Well to be honest you cant ask all of them, some committed suicide.

    #2 Ex-players have been screaming for a piece of the pie forever. These recent retirees gave up nothing. But now they want it all.

    #3 There is an air of entitlement about this. They feel the world owes them everything.

    #4 Do you know the percentage of NFL athletes who file for bankruptcy? Despite their median $900,000 annual salaries, a surprising number of NFL players (some estimate up to 80 percent) squander their fortunes in the years immediately following their retirement.

    #5 The NFL does offer symposiums to players on how to handle the money now and in the future. Most ignore it.

    #6 I wish I had all of the problems of a ex-NFLer.

  67. Why is the league responsible for these men-children not being able to adapt to retirement? With all the lost jobs due to the economic downturn since 2004 there are a lot of normal working people who had to cope with downsizing and layoffs. Guess if they all had trouble adjusting it was their former employer’s faults too. Hogwash! Don’t blame others because you lack the intestinal fortitude to survive changes.

  68. drunkenagitator says:May 5, 2012 6:09 PM

    You have to be insane to risk your health playing this stupid game for the entertainment of the typical mouth-breathing, knuckle-dragging alcoholic NFL “fan”. What a sad bunch of pitiful savages.

    Risk their health? Gee, I didn’t know owners and agents held guns to the heads of the players to force them sign contracts. And I can think of millions of reasons why these guys freely decide to play this game.

  69. This comment probably will not be seen by many people, but I wanted to comment on the matter because my original doctoral dissertation idea was exactly this topic: Depression in Retired Professional Athletes Due to a Loss/Change in Identity.

    Depression after retirement is a serious and well studied issue in people of all professions; I believe the reason it gets overlooked with regards to professional athletes is because we assume that since they’ve earned big paychecks to play a game that their lives are fine because they haven’t had to go through the tribulations many of us have dealt with. This is more an idea based on resentment than actual fact though.

    Think about it: many professional athletes start playing sports when they are 5 or 6 years old. They soon learn/are told by coaches and other kids that they’re very good. So they devote more and more time to the sport so that they can improve. By the time they are in their early teens, which is the key time for identity development, they identify themselves primarily as a football/basketball/soccer/baseball/etc… player. As they continue to play, they learn/are told that they have a legitimate chance at playing in college and in the pros. So they devote even more time to the sport. The sport becomes who they are.

    But after you retire, you are no longer a professional athlete. You are a full time father, husband, and civilian, and there are a whole host of issues surrounding this loss of identity, such as: 1) Dealing with your body failing you. One of the main reasons athletes of all ranges retire is due to injuries. Their bodies are the one thing they have always been able to count on. They would train vigorously and they would see the results from their training on the field. Now that training doesn’t yield success. In fact, failure has resulted despite that training. This goes against their entire worldview. Coming to terms with this is extremely difficult because you have to figure out who you are outside of your sport.

    2) Loss of primary support group. When you play you have the natural camaraderie of the locker room. You might not get along with everyone, but there will always be a few people you can count on. When you retire, that support structure is gone. Although this is the digital age where every keeps in touch with everyone, there is a stark difference in communication that occurs once players leave the league. This is difficult because most pro athletes best friends are other pro athletes. Communicating with current players is difficult because current players are always thinking about their game, and that is often subtly isolating for the retired player. For instance, current players might complain about a coach or a player’s recent behavior that the retired player is not privy to. There are players alumni associations for each league, but their work does not focus on how to help retired players specifically. They do more work with coordinating with the NFL to help current players via workshops on spending money or doing guest speaker spots. The loss of the primary social support group is devastating for many retired athletes because they are dealing with the loss of their identity and they have no one to talk with who truly understands what they are experiencing.

    3) Being a full time husband and father. Pro athletes are on the road roughly half of the year. Their relationships with their families have largely centered around phone calls/trips to see them play/ and the offseason when the player is home but still training. When the player retires, he must learn how to be with his wife on a daily basis. That means dishes, trash, dropping kids off, etc… All the small things that you don’t think about when you’re away for half of the year. And you have to learn how to be a full time father. It’s no coincidence that divorce rates among players sky rockets once players retire. It’s because both the husband and wife have spent so much time apart that they often grow into different people from who they were when they got married.

    4) Finances. Most pro athletes never learned to manage their money themselves and find that when they retire, they have significantly less money than they thought. In fact, according to a 2009 SI article, “by the time they have been retired for two years, 78% of former NFL players have gone bankrupt or are under financial stress because of joblessness or divorce. Within five years of retirement, an estimated 60% of former NBA players are broke.”

    I believe that many players try to cope with their change in identity and the resulting loss of control they experience, by trying to regain control with one of their biggest assets: their money. Many athletes make very large investments

    My dissertation was pointing towards the development of a transition program for retiring players. The programs aims are to help athletes with the transition to retirement, empathize with their struggles, help them learn how to best cope with them, and create a support network that they can turn to in times of struggle.

    Unfortunately, my contacts in the MLB players alumni association, NBA lawyers, various agents, etc… have all fallen through so I was unable to move past the literature review stage.

    God bless you if you’ve read this whole thing, though. I know it’s long, but I wanted to try and share insight into the plight of retired players.

  70. RE
    jonasgrumbyoftx says: May 5, 2012 5:54 PM

    bigjoe2269 says:
    May 5, 2012 5:15 PM
    NFL players should try being a regualar guy that pays 200 bucks to go see them play and never live the lives they live – then tell me about hard times. sorry I dont feel sorry for people that have the means to live a great life and throw it away – walk a mile in my shoes


    What a hypocrite. “Walk a mile in my shoes”. So it doesn’t apply to them because they had/have money???

    THIS is the indictment on our society that thinks their problems are so special, so unique, that they are elevated above others. It is a grand ignorance that is killing a Nation and a people.

    Compassion for ANYONE struggling is a strength, not a weakness.

    You are one self-centered fool.

    Im self centered? lol what a joke sorry its not in my rational thinking mind to feel sorry for people better off than me that dont give a damn what happens to me – they are better off than 90% of the people – they are the ones with the elitist attitude that want everything handed to them till the day they die – handle your business and deal with your own issues its not always someone elses problem – I work my ass off so someday I might be able to retire on my meager pension

  71. and to add I have had just as many injuries at work than most nfl players – torn tendon r ankle torn acl l knee torn miniscus both knees torn rotator cuff both shoulder and torn labrum in the r shoulder – oh lets not forget my herniated discs in c spine t spine and neck – so dont tell me I am self centered – please

  72. So tough on the football field but can’t handle real world stuff when they get out. Man up and pull the tampons out of your vag. Stop whining and crying because you can’t handle what millions of other americans and non americans do on a daily basis.

  73. Junior Seau just shot himself in the chest and everyone on here talking about money and players being babies. I know I’m gonna get negative reviews on this but not one person on this post can do what they do. Not one of you people have been in their shoes. Former NFL players are killing themselves and people on here are saying grow up, cradle to grave crap, tough cookies. Yeah well what happens when one of your family members suffers a brain injury due to their job choice, shoots themselves and that employer just sticks their head in the sand. Goff isn’t asking for more money he asking for more due diligence on the side of the NFL cus friends of his are killing themselves. I bet if you grew up in San Diego you would have a completely different opinion, but you don’t. Besides their not asking the fans for anything, not even your simpathy cus clearly no one will give it. Theyre grown men and they don’t need your approval to speak freely about their situation. THis country is really having a hard time grasping the art of “what if you were in their shoes”. Money isn’t a issue here, the NFL has loads of it, this help can be done for the players and should. Have a little compassion instead of envy, jealously and resentment because you could never do what they do.

  74. Honestly i can’t believe these guys. People retire all the time and guess what? You were paid a fair wage for the job. You did it freely, nobody held a gun to your head. I see jealosy from former players because the money now has become stupid due to the information age. Feel blessed for the opportunities you had and i hope you used your money wisely. The nfl does not owe you for not working.

  75. It is a known fact that more planning goes into a 2 week vacation than goes into retirement. These athletes need to prepare ofr retirement like to rest of the population. My heart goes out to those suffering from depression and their families. But I don’t think they can hold their employers responsible.

  76. i recall mike goff as a veteran offensive lineman…and a good one. i would encourage him or any recently retired player to contact me at joe.browne@nfl.com to learn about our Career Transition Program which is run by retired NFL playerand now NFL VP Troy Vincent. We just had a three-day session in Atlanta with Kris Jenkins, Alge Crumpler and 35 other retirees. Mike would be invited to next one where he can learn the programs that the League offers retired players such as he. He also can go on to MyGoalLine.com and NFLPlayercare.com to learn about programs offered free to retirees by the League.

  77. How about stay in school, complete your education and get your degree before making the jump to the NFL? My God, they pay you more money in one season than most people will make in their lifetime, yet you STILL need to be coddled even in retirement?? Seriously, this is pathetic. The entitlement mentality of some of these players is baffling. No disrespect to the deceased, but many people have personal and psychological issues we aren’t privy to, and not all who suffer seek voluntary treatment. Stop acting like the league needs to be their personal caretaker. It’s not on them.

  78. I think that just as you have to have all of these physicals to get into the league, when players retire they should go threw a thorough physical and mental evaluation when they retire not just turn in paper work.

  79. For those interested to learn more about the money situation and retirees in sports, here is the link.
    I do know that in New England, Kraft does help out players with long term financial goals. I am not sure what other teams do, but shouldn’t this be more something that the NFL/NFLPA could do?
    The NFLPA should be doing more and of course players should get an education as well so that after they retire, they can pursue a career…. But how many DO get a degree?? What are the rates? Has it improved over the years?
    Comparing employment in the NFL and retirement from it is NOT at all like other professions. Those that do have a basic non understanding of what this is all about.
    Unfortunately, most posts I have read are closer to juvenile and basically are reinforcing the same attitude Goff is complaining about. (I just care about the game, entertain me, don’t bother me, you can’t play anymore? you got your money get lost, I do not care, Shut up and go away)
    The health issues that ex-players have need to be dealt with on many levels. but this to me is just common sense.

  80. The thing about Junior though is that by all accounts of even friends and family that I’ve read…they were baffled by his suicide. He had a successful restaurant and seldom if ever expressed any signs of depression. He seemed to be enjoying his post retirement life. Marcellus Wiley told a story of how when he and Seau were teammates Seau would go to his own room to get treatment for his ailments because he didn’t want his teammates to see him hurt.

    I doubt any program would have even helped him because he seemed to have an “I’m indestructible/always strong/it will never happen to me” attitude, as do a lot of athletes. It’s a mentality that they MUST have to do what they do…but it’s not one that always serves them well when they leave the game.

    They do (or did before this last CBA, would guess they weren’t eliminated though)have a lot of resources provided by the NFL like programs at prestigious business schools, tuition reimbursement, etc. But then, they also have (or had) a program that provided to them free of charge rides home so they don’t drive drunk…and do they take advantage of those? Nope, not “macho”. They’d rather either ignore the long term and short term tragic potential consequences of driving drunk or they just don’t care (“it won’t happen to me” again). Heck they all know about the dangers of concussions and some of them STILL lie so they can stay in games.

    NOTHING..not any program…will accomplish anything until they change their mentality. Some cliche about leading horses to water but not being able to make them drink comes to mind.

  81. The NFL should only look after their former players when it comes to anything medical… no matter what, that’s my stance.

    I am for the blue collar guys (YES, that includes athletes)- 110%. I agree with Goff to an extent, but the NFL shouldn’t keep check on you after you retire. If something is wrong, you should get it checked out and THAT should be on the nfl… financially.

    It pains me when I see people call these guys greedy and big babies when you hear them speak out. There is a lot of misconceptions.

    1. These big contracts… they’ve only been around for the last 10 years or so. These big contracts only go to the top 10% of the players BTW.

    2. The average NFL career is only 3 years and the average salary is only 1.2 mill. That’s today. 20+ years ago, when most retired players pay for their own medical after the NFL, they are left with nothing with their $300,000 a year average salary.

    3. “I’d play for X amount a year!” You hear the casual armchair fan say… But the question is… Would anyone want to pay to see you… No. These are elite talent, they deserve everything they get, plus more.

  82. So let me get this right…..

    Drew Brees is currently holding out from signing a lucrative contract that will provide generational wealth beyond the measure of 90% of most Americans because “it’s a business”.

    And when he retires, the business that he is holding out from is supposed to take care of him too?

    Kiss my GRITS!

  83. Why isn’t there the same compassion out there for Seau or any of the 1500 players that are suing the NFL as there are for Linsday Lohan or Heath Ledger? All these Hollywood stars are caught doing meth and everyone is wishing them well when a man like Junior Seau commits suicide and teammates speak up and they’re selfish or whinny or greedy. Drug addicts of Hollywood get more compassion than our childhood heros that are model citizens if not leaders in their community, what a dark day in America. It’s sad. Professional athletes are in the community a million times more than any Hollywood crack heads will ever be.

  84. I worked like a dog for 37 years and most days were 12-16 hourplus days six and seven days. Hard, laborious, dangers outdoor heavy commercial construction. I got a handshake and disability. In my life I didn’t make what most of these NFL players make in a year. I have a hard time feeling sorry for them. 12 to 20 million a year? I’d have been a very wealthy man had I made THAT in 37 years! Drop down Dawg, get a taste of humble pie like the majority of Americans struggling to pay mortgages or support kids. Or even pay for a tank of gas. Cry me a River. Boo frikking hoo. Think I’ll cry now.

  85. The NFL don’t care about retired football players only the money a lot of players knows what the NFL football players knows what this game is all about. They knows that the NFL pays them for hard hitting giving the fans what they are paying for a lot of these guys know what the out come is in NFL football. But when you take all the hits and beatings and you in up with a serious concussion and you can’t play anymore. They thank the NFL going to have they backs but come to find out you on your own NFL just threw them away now coming up in today’s game. Now the NFL trying to take out hard hit and bounty program today we call it pay to hurt back in the days it was rewards to players. So now the NFL has so many lawsuits they trying to throw it on any team that get caught you will be in the same boat as the Saints. Roger Goodell are waiting for the next team you will be charged for someone’s concussion so the NFL will out so many of those concussion of players on your team. See that 500,000 fine on the Saints will help the NFL pay someone lawsuit this amount will cover about 2 person.

  86. To the retired NFL players….quit your b!tching and get a real job. Especially those who got degrees from college before entering the NFL.

  87. I tell you what…some people commenting on here have no sense of humanity..they just want to criticize anything said about this issue. All on the basis that these athletes are rich and are perceived to have an easy life. Anyway good coaches make sure to emphasis having a plan for after football to players. THe great Paul Brown, even when he was an owner, encouraged players to finish school if they hadn’t. ANd to figure out what they wanted to do with their lives. He considered being a football player not a career but just something you did for fun while you were still a kid. A way to have fun and keep growing as an individual. A way to make some money and connections, and open opportunities. But he didn’t consider it to be the end aim of someone’s life. THat said if Goodell wants people to stop criticizing his level of power he needs to step up and use it for something besides player discipline. They make these rookies go through their orientation liek Goff said. The point is to tell them to stay out of trouble and don’t make the NFL look bad. First they need to improve that process to include educating players about the dangers of the NFL beyond trouble with law or hanging with the wrong crowd. They need to touch on finances, concussions, life after football, etc. And I think it’s something players should continue to go through each year they are in the league. But one could make an argument that’s it;s not the leagues responsibility when the NFLPA has never even requested such services or spoken about the importance of such issues. Both sides are preoccupied with money to a point that they aren’t making decisions good for the long term health of the game or players.

  88. When I retire nobody will care either. It’s called the real world. Shut up!

  89. Brings to mind John Lennon, “I’m just sitting here watching the wheels go round and round, I really love to watch them roll. I’m just sitting here on the merry-go-round, I just had to let it go…” Junior couldn’t let it go.R.I.P.

  90. These guys make millions, blow their millions on material acquisitions instead of putting it into retirement savings and it’s the NFL’s fault? Not informing them of the physical repercussions of playing football is one thing. Not covering their nut when they blow it by being irresponsible is something different. These players wanting to play victim is ridiculous. If they want a job that doesn’t involve physical harm or half a brain then be a greeter at Walmart. Then try an afford all of the luxuries of a pro-football player.

  91. Players who whine and cry like this are pathetic. No one else job in life gives them a “plan” for after their job. Grow up and take responsibility for your own life.

  92. Yes the NFL should have had some kind of retirement plan and programs for these guys years ago. The retired football veteran has made a way for the teams of today people’s it not about the millions of dollars it about the after affect of the players. Read Peyton Manning contract with Denver if he get hurt before and after he get paid regardless of what so if you don’t keep up with the latest benefit and your agent don’t help you look out for yourself then you need to fire him. Drew Brees is smart he wants a long term contract because he knows about the NFL until they meet his demands he will set it out and will not sign a 1 year. Only the players of all 32 teams can make a change in the NFL people’s saying Drew Brees are greedy no that’s not true just looking out for himself. The NFL wants players to focus on the millions but not your health the NFL just started talking about players safety. Back in the older days players loved the sport it wasn’t about money, fines, suspension it was about the hard hitting. If you have a concussion those millions want last this is why all players need long term contracts

  93. Though some people here have alluded to it, I think the majority of you are missing the point of what exactly makes retired athletes unhappy. Many of you seem to think “Oh you have money, what are you crying about?” You’re projecting your own unhappiness in this situation…

    The issue comes more from not knowing what to do with yourself. Leaving a job, moving to a new place, someone in your family dying; there are lots of things we all experience that change our normal routines and can throw us into a funk. Anybody who has gone through any life change can relate to that, yet you probably haven’t that level of normalcy for such an extended period of time. Most of the players who end up in the NFL for life have had roughly the same routine since high school, putting football as their main priority, the one thing they work at everyday. When that’s gone, no amount of money can replace it. And while it’s super easy to sit there and sarcastically say “Oh, poor you, nobody is cheering for you anymore, how sad!” you don’t know what that feels like. As an NFL player, you are practically worshipped by everyone and that’s where you find validation. I highly doubt that former players go through retirement thinking “I’m so awesome, why isn’t anybody cheering for me? I’m so special!” Fans and adoration is the cornerstone of how they rate their success, and when that’s absent, they feel like they’re not being successful. Again, I think most of you are projecting your own unhappiness…

    What’s incredibly sad is that Junior Seau had an awesome restaraunt, was involved in lots of other projects and endeavors, and still felt unhappy. By all accounts, he was a very productive guy after football, and he still couldn’t find anything that replicated the feeling of validation that he got from football. It’s not that he wanted people to shower him with praise and admiration, but for 20+ years, that praise was what validated him and made him feel successful. And no matter what you do in life, no amount of praise can match up to 40,000 fans cheering you on.

    To sit there and discount the actual problems that retired players deal with by saying “You have tons of money, you should be happy” is incredibly close-minded and gross.

  94. Just shows how Incredibly out of touch these people are to the reality faced by 99.99% of americans not to mention the world

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