Archive for 'Player Benefits'

2012 NFL Rookie Symposium Kicks Off Sunday Stressing History, Experience, Expectations & Responsibility




The NFL kicks off its 15th Rookie Symposium on Sunday (June 24), emphasizing the sport’s legacy, tradition of character and leadership, as well as social and professional responsibility. The four-day orientation will be held at the Bertram Hotel in Aurora, Ohio and for the first time will feature speakers and a history session at the nearby Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton.

Led by NFL Vice President of Player Engagement TROY VINCENT, the symposium will also introduce a new format to facilitate more effective learning by separating the rookies into smaller groups divided by conference.

“We have reduced the number of draftees simultaneously attending the symposium to create the most favorable learning environment,” said Vincent, a five-time Pro Bowler and former NFL Players Association president. “Each rookie should leave the symposium with the knowledge and history of where our game began, where it is today, and challenged to make a positive personal impact on the future of our game. The NFL and its clubs are committed to providing players with the best resources to succeed both on and off the field.”

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Sixth annual “NFL Broadcast Boot Camp” kicks off June 18

Top NFL Producers & Talent to Instruct Players: CBS’ James Brown to Serve as Host Joined By Ron Jaworski, Curt Menefee, Kenny Albert & Dick Vermeil

First-Time “Advanced” Curriculum Offered to 3 Former Boot Campers

Players can earn guest hosting opportunity on SiriusXM NFL Radio & NFL TV and radio partners in U.K.

Twenty three current and former NFL players, including CHAD BROWN, TROY BROWN, NATE BURLESON, KRIS JENKINS and JARRETT PAYTON, will take part in the sixth annual NFL Broadcast Boot Camp at NFL Films in Mt. Laurel, New Jersey, it was announced today.

The program, which runs from June 18-21, is directed by the NFL Player Engagement and NFL Broadcasting departments and covers a wide range of topics with instructors from each of the NFL’s broadcast partners – CBS, ESPN, FOX, NBC, NFL Network, SiriusXM, Dial Global Radio, plus local radio and TV.  It will include hands-on work in areas such as tape study, editing, show preparation, radio production, control room operation, studio preparation, production meetings, field reporting and game preparation.  Each player will tape segments as a studio and game analyst and take part in a networking session with television executives.  Each player also will serve as a live guest host on SiriusXM NFL Radio alongside hosts Rich Gannon, Adam Schein, Tim Ryan, Pat Kirwan and Ross Tucker.

New this year, three veteran Broadcast Boot Campers – ADAM ARCHULETA (Class of 2010), JOHN FINA (2011) and MICHEAL YOUNG (2010) – will participate in “Boot Camp Advanced” featuring one-on-one training with faculty members offering extensive training in speech and vocal techniques, getting the most out of production meetings, and studio and play-by-play analysis.

Also for the first time, the NFL Broadcast Boot Camp Class of 2012 will have the opportunity to earn a guest hosting spot on SiriusXM NFL Radio and one of the league’s United Kingdom broadcasting partners during the 2012 season. Last season former NFL players ROCKY BOIMAN and NICK FERGUSON were selected to serve as studio analysts for an NFL regular-season Sunday on Sky Sports in the U.K. Later in the season, Boiman earned additional game assignments including the Playoffs and Super Bowl for Sky TV and BBC Radio.

Of the 105 players who took part in the Broadcast Boot Camp from 2007-2011, 44 have earned broadcasting jobs as a result of their participation in the program.

“We are excited to continue and expand the Broadcast Boot Camp which for many current and former players has been a springboard to successful careers off the field,” said TROY VINCENT, NFL Vice President of Player Engagement.

The NFL Broadcast Boot Camp is one of several NFL Player Engagement programs to assist players in reaching their highest potential on and off-the-field with guidance, support, and resources provided before, during, and after their NFL experiences. NFL Player Engagement works with three core audiences: Prep, Life, and Next.

Enrollment criteria for the Broadcast Boot Camp include NFL playing experience, essays, and demonstrated interest in media.

Click here for the full press release including the list of current and former NFL players enrolled in the NFL Broadcast Boot Camp and the faculty, which has more than 400 years of broadcasting experience.

NFL players to take part in first-ever “NFL Pro Hollywood Boot Camp” at Universal Studios

Program for current & former players runs April 2-5 in Los Angeles

John Singleton, Robert Townsend & Keenen Ivory Wayans among instructors

Twenty current and former NFL players will take part in the first-ever NFL Pro Hollywood Boot Camp at Universal Studios in Universal City, California, it was announced today.

The program, which runs from April 2-5, 2012, is being directed by NFL Player Engagement and Film Life Inc., the New York-based film production company, and will cover a wide range of topics in the movie industry.

The four-day boot camp will offer a comprehensive overview of creative disciplines in the film industry including screen writing, directing, producing and film financing. Session leaders will be selected from among top industry executives and filmmakers and include multiple Academy Award-nominated director/producer/ screenwriter JOHN SINGLETON and writer/actor/directors ROBERT TOWNSEND and KEENEN IVORY WAYANS. Participants will have the opportunity to shoot and edit a short film at Universal Studios, the largest working motion picture studio in the world which offers 30 sound stages and 30 backlot movie sets where many legendary films have been shot.

“The NFL Pro Hollywood Boot Camp builds upon the successes of our prior programs in educating and providing hands-on experience to players in a wide variety of disciplines,” said NFL Vice President of Player Engagement TROY VINCENT.  Vincent leads the NFL’s initiative to develop and provide players with important learning tools and educational experiences that allow them to explore opportunities beyond the football field.
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NFL players to take part in first-ever “Business of Music Boot Camp” at NYU’s Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music

Program for current & former players runs Feb 27-March 1 in New York

Music legend Clive Davis among instructors

Twenty current and former NFL players will take part in the first-ever Business of Music Boot Camp at New York University’s Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music in New York, it was announced today.

The program, which runs from February 27-March 1, 2012, is being directed by NFL Player Engagement and the Clive Davis Institute in NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and offers professional training for creative entrepreneurs in the music industry.

The four-day boot camp will feature interactive workshops focusing on all aspects of the music industry including production, artist development and management, digital music, publishing, marketing and touring. Participants will gain a better understanding of establishing a career in the music industry and how to develop business plans from their creative ideas.

“We continue to look for ways to help educate players and develop their skills for post-NFL careers,” said NFL Vice President of Player Engagement TROY VINCENT.  “This program builds upon the successes of our Business Management & Entrepreneurial program and Broadcast Boot Camp in catering to players’ interests in new disciplines.”

“NFL players know all about competition which will serve them well as they look into potential careers in the fast-paced music industry,” said CLIVE DAVIS, chief creative officer of Sony BMG. The Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music at NYU is the first of its kind to provide professional business and artistic training toward a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree for aspiring creative entrepreneurs in the music industry.

Faculty members at the Business of Music Boot Camp will include:
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CBS: Commissioner Convenes “Historic Meeting” with Retired Players

The NFL Today’s Charley Casserly reported today on the CBS pre-game show that Commissioner Roger Goodell held a “historic meeting” this past week with retired players to discuss the distribution of the $620 million Legacy Fund created by the league’s new collective bargaining agreement.

Casserly reported that Pro Football Hall of Famers Carl Eller (Retired Players Association), Willie Lanier (Hall of Fame Foundation) and Ron Mix (Hall of Fame Foundation) attended the meeting Thursday  with Bruce Laird (Fourth and Goal) and George Martin (NFL Alumni Association). The views of Mike Ditka (Gridiron Greats) were expressed by the commissioner who had met with Ditka one-on-one  earlier in the month on the same issue.

Commissioner Goodell and Jeff Pash, the NFL’s general counsel, will meet next with NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith and the union to work toward a final agreement on how to distribute the fund.

The additional dispersal of money to approximately 2,500 players who played in the league before 1993 and who already receive an NFL pension will begin shortly after that agreement is reached.

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Jeff Pash on negotiations: “We have continuously moved toward their position in an effort to reach an agreement”

NFL executive vice president Jeff Pash said in an op-ed piece in today’s Chicago Tribune that the NFL continuously moved toward the players’ union’s position and made a proposal last month that could have been the foundation for a future of prosperity for both players and teams.

“When the NFL Players Association walked away from the bargaining table and abandoned an open and transparent negotiation process, it launched the game into a risky and uncertain legal morass,” Pash wrote.

“Collective bargaining is about give and take,” he continued. “Candidly, there can be heated discussions and maddening fits and starts, and it takes a lot of time and hard work. There is nothing glamorous about it.”

“[The March 11] proposal could be the groundwork for a future of prosperity for the teams and players alike, for improvements in the game and for great competitive play for our fans,” Pash added. “We have been negotiating with the union for nearly two years. Over that period of time, we have continuously moved toward their position in an effort to reach an agreement. Our differences must ultimately be settled by both sides. All a court case can do is delay and confuse the process. This should be settled in the bargaining room, not the courtroom.”

Following is the complete op-ed in today’s Chicago Tribune.
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FACT CHECK: DeMaurice Smith at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business

NFL Players Association Executive Director DeMaurice Smith recently spoke with MBA students at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business.  Smith discussed a wide range of issues on the NFL’s labor negotiations.

Following is a FACT CHECK on a selection of Smith’s answers:

Smith: “You never stop being a trial lawyer. So, really that is the posture of the case. The league is opposing the injunction. If they win, the lockout continues. 1,900 players and their families will be out of work. Their health insurance has been cancelled.”

FACT: All NFL players are eligible to continue their current NFL health insurance under the federal law known as COBRA, under which affected employees are entitled to continue their employer-provided health insurance coverage at their own or their union’s expense. To date, 1,192 players have signed up for COBRA and they have until May 10 to do so.

Smith: “Not even possibly” – answer to question: “At the end of that two-year negotiation period before the lockout, you called the NFL’s final offer possibly the worst deal in sports history?”

FACT: The proposal owners made to the players on March 11 would have paid players $19-20 billion in cash and benefits over the next four years (2011-2014) – a 14 percent increase representing an additional $2 billion compared to the past four years. In addition, the proposal would have:

  • Reduced the offseason program by eliminating five weeks and cutting OTAs from 14 to 10 days.
  • Put limits on full-padded practices in the regular season. 
  • Increased days off. 
  • Increased retirement benefits so that more than 2,000 retired players would have received almost a 60% increase in their pension benefit. 
  • Offered players the opportunity to have lifetime coverage in NFL medical plan. 
  • Offered for the first time to revise disciplinary system so that a third-party neutral arbitrator resolves all drug and steroids cases. 
  • Offered improvements in the disability plan, the 88 Plan, and post-career benefits, including education and career transition programs.

Smith: On how much the March 11 NFL proposal would reduce the players’ share of revenue:  “The day that you sign that deal, the 50 percent number that we had since 1987 goes automatically before the ink is dry on the deal to 45 percent. In Year 1. The deal that we would have signed with the owners would have probably been about a 10-year deal. The ultimate result of us signing this deal would be that within 10 years that 50 percent would be down to 40 percent of all revenue.  As you march forward from that point, by the time we got to the 15th year of a deal, you could see players getting shares of revenues that were in the 30 percent range.”

FACT: Smith’s statement is based on the flawed assumption that the current deal — which everyone agrees was one-sided for the players — would have stayed in place and just marched ever onward with no re-balancing. It assumes revenue growth that may or may not materialize. No one knows how many, if any, new stadiums will be built, as one example. There are none currently in the pipeline. The statement ignores the explicit commitment in the NFL’s March 11 proposal to a “true up/reset” in 2015, the same year the union wanted to reset the share coming off a player cost of $161 million per club in 2014, which was the union’s requested number for that year. The March 11 proposal had the 2011 cap at $141 million (union was at $151 million;  NFL at $131 million; NFL clubs said “we’ll split the difference”), rising to $161 million in 2014 (meeting the union’s demand for 2014). That’s a 14 percent increase in three years ($20 million per club) and $2 billion more in player costs than was spent in the previous four years. Then the cap would be mutually re-set in 2015. The clubs would guarantee those 2011-2014 numbers even if revenue did not meet projections. Clubs actually spent $140.6 million in 2009 and $138.4 million in 2010 on salary and benefits. So the $141 million proposed cap for 2011 was higher than the actual cash spending of 2009 and 2010.

Smith: “This lockout will cost every team’s city $160 million in lost revenue for a year. $160 million.”

FACT: Those numbers were conclusively refuted by independent economists in a story by Eric Stirgus of the Pulitzer Prize-winning and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Stirgus consulted a number of experts and posted links to four of the economic impact studies he reviewed. He concluded: “Each independent expert we talked to believed there will be little economic impact if there is no NFL action next season, since they believe people will find other ways to spend their money. We rate the NFL Players Association’s claim as False.”

Smith: “The fundamental principle of our business model necessarily includes that every player only plays for an average of 3.2 years.”

FACT: The average career length for a player who spends at least three games in one season on the active and/or inactive rosters and/or injured reserve is 5.3 years. In addition, the average career length for a first-round draft pick is 9.3 years.

Smith: “You have a group of owners who don’t want financial transparency, who don’t want us to understand the true financial picture of football.”

FACT: The NFL publicly released its proposal to the players on March 11. We offered to show the union five years (2005-2009) of year-by-year league-wide operating profits based on audited club reports reviewed and confirmed by Deloitte & Touche. We offered to show the union the number of clubs that had declines in operating profits from 2005-2009, and by how much on a cumulative basis, again based on audited financial statements. We offered the NFLPA the ability to review Deloitte’s work. We also offered to give five years (2005-2009) of audited individual club financial statements to a third-party accounting firm to verify for the union the profitability data provided to the union. And there were no conditions put on the information offered, meaning that they could have asked for more.  But the union’s concern was giving up its public relations position. As linebacker Hunter Hillenmeyer wrote in an NBC Chicago blog post on April 1, “It’s true, the NFL did offer some financial info towards the end of mediation. We rejected it, not because nothing is better than something, which it is not, but because the perception would then be that we got what we needed.”

NFL owners pay $245 million into player benefits

The NFL clubs will complete their contributions toward 2010 NFL player benefits on Thursday, bringing the total amount funded by owners for the 2010 season to $245 million.

NFL owners will deposit $177 million on Thursday with BNY Mellon to complete the funding for the 2010 season. Ownership contributions fund player benefits that include the pension plan, group medical insurance, the disability plan, and the ”88” program for retired players with dementia or related conditions.

“NFL ownership is proud of the outstanding benefits that NFL players have enjoyed in recent years and the improvements that have been made for retired players,” said Carolina Panthers founder and owner Jerry Richardson, a former NFL player who co-chairs the NFL Management Council Executive Committee. “We have more work to do, especially for the retired players, and look forward to further improvements being part of the new NFL Collective Bargaining Agreement.”

In the past 10 years alone, NFL owners have contributed more than $2.7 billion for the funding of the various NFL benefit plans for current and retired players.

BNY Mellon is a leading investment management and investment services company based in New York City. It was established in 2007 from the merger of Mellon Financial Corporation and The Bank of New York Company.

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NFL owners’ support of players is wide ranging

Aside from the nearly $2 million average salary of NFL players, the NFL clubs also fund a wide range of benefits and programs to support players and help them not only during their NFL careers but in making the transition to their post-NFL lives.

NFL Player Engagement offers programs to support players in five areas: Career Development, Career Transition, Continuing Education, Financial Education and Player Assistance Services.

Below are the player benefits under the expired Collective Bargaining Agreement (all of these benefits were in place and funded in the 2006-09 seasons when a salary cap was in place).

In recent years, annual benefit payments to current and retired players have been approximately $200 million. That amount would increase under proposals made by NFL owners in the current round of collective bargaining.

Player benefits

» Bert Bell/Pete Rozelle Retirement Plan

» Second Career Plan

» Supplemental Disability

» Player Annuity Program

» Group Insurance

» Health Reimbursement Account

» 88 Plan (Dementia)

» Joint Replacement Plan

» Drug Prescription Discount Card Program

» Medicare Supplement Program

» Vested Inactive Life Insurance

» Severance Pay

» Post Season Pay

» Performance Based Pay

» Injury Protection

» Workers Comp

» Pre-season Per Diems

» Meal Allowances

» Practice Squad Post-season Pay

» Moving and Travel

» Off-season & Rookie Orientation

» Tuition Assistance Plan

Jeff Pash agrees with Mike Vrabel: “Let’s have decision makers at the table together. We could be back negotiating Wednesday”

NFL Executive Vice President Jeff Pash spoke with media today at the NFL Annual Meeting in New Orleans and adressed Kansas City Chiefs linebacker and NFLPA Executive Committee member Mike Vrabel’s call to meet with “people that are willing and can agree to a deal.”

“The point that Mike Vrabel made, even though it was not too flattering towards me — was a fair one, that the people who are writing the checks and the people who are cashing the checks should be at the table together,” Pash said. “And let’s have decision makers at the table together.  So when he said that their executive committee should be meeting with the CEC, I understand that point of view.  That is why we were quick to say that our team, including owners and including the owners that they asked for, would be prepared to meet with the Union’s Executive Committee — Mike Vrabel, Drew Brees, Kevin Mawae, Tony Richardson, and whatever other members of the Executive Committee they want to have there — and we can do that any time.”

“We could be back negotiating with them tomorrow or Wednesday if they wanted to after this meeting concludes,” Pash added. “The fact that there are proceedings at the Labor Board would not, in my judgment, hold up a negotiation or hold up trying to reach a collective bargaining agreement with the Players Association.”

Following is a transcript of Pash’s press conference:
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