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NFL Retired Players United

NFL Player Jeff Nixon keeping former players and fans updated on the issues affecting retired AFL and NFL players.

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As a former NFL player, I look at the most recent and final offer the San Diego Chargers have given their first round pick, Joey Bosa and it makes me wonder what this guy is thinking.

The Chargers are offering him a $25 million contract and a $17 million signing bonus which is larger than any player has received in the last two drafts. He will get more money in this calendar year than every player in this year's draft except for QB Carson Wentz.

So what’s the sticking point in the negotiations? Is it money? Believe it or not, the answer is no. The Chargers want to hold off on paying a small portion of Bosa’s signing bonus until March 2017, but Bosa wants to be paid all the money by the end of the 2016 season. The Chargers initially offered to pay him 60% of the bonus money this year and the rest next year. The Chargers recently gave a final offer of 85% of the bonus this year and Joey Bosa, his agent and his mother said no. That’s right, his mother said “Wish we pulled an Eli Manning” 

So it all comes down to Joey Bosa wanting all of the money NOW.

That blows my mind. Is he really going to sit out an entire season and re-enter the 2017 draft over this issue?

Rookie holdouts used to be a way of life in the NFL, with some first-round draft picks waiting while players drafted right around them signed their contracts. This was done in order to see what the market was paying and was obviously very useful in negotiations. In 1982 we went on strike and one of the issues we won was the right to make contract information available to all players and their agents. Joey Bosa should thank us for that. During my era before contract information was available, teams could hide what other players were making, giving them the upper-hand in negotiations.

In 2010, when active players were negotiating the CBA, former players stepped into the fray and asked veteran players to set a rookie salary scale and stop the insanity of paying unproven players - like Joey Bosa - outrageous sums of money before they set one foot on an NFL field. The active players got smart and finally established a rookie pay scale and now each pick is slotted within a certain dollar range, eliminating a lot of the back and forth negotiations that used to happen between teams and agents.

With the savings generated by the new rookie salary scale, the owners were able to give pre-1993 players a boost in their pensions. It also established a system for paying additional money to veteran players that were underpaid, but were getting a lot of playing time. It also prevented some veteran players from having to re-negotiate their contracts due to the fact that teams had to make room under the Cap for some rookie.

Antonio Gates recently told Bosa to "Man-Up.”   Gates went through a similar situation in 2005, when he ended his holdout and signed a one-year contract for $380,000. "Eventually, I ended up saying, I need to get ready. To me, it meant a lot for me to go out and perform."

I’m sure it meant a lot to his teammates too. Just two days after he ended his holdout the Chargers rewarded him with a six-year, $22.5 million deal.

If Joey Bosa sticks to his guns and sits out an entire year, he’s making a big mistake. A lot can happen in a year. You can get rusty, you can get hurt and like a lot of players with time on their hands you can do something stupid like get in a fight, or get a DWI, or beat up your girlfriend because she says you have no money, etc. etc. etc.

If he re-enters the 2017 draft, he will have much less negotiating power because the team that selects him knows that he has to play and cannot even entertain the idea of sitting out a second year.

There is one other detail in the negotiations that needs to be ironed out. Bosa and his agent (and his mommy) want what is known as “offset language” taken out of his deal. Basically, this means that the team does not have to pay Bosa if he is released during the term of his contract and he signs with another team. Lots of teams take out this language, but right now the Chargers are really upset with Mr. Bosa and they are going all Super Nova on him by vowing to reduce their current offer.

Don’t get me wrong, the Chargers are being cheap and manipulative and according to Mike Freeman at the Bleacher Report, even a few of the NFL General Managers are laughing at the Chargers.  Since the new CBA has been ratified, there has not been a No. 3 overall pick whose contract included both offset language and a split signing bonus.

Even though the Chargers are being stingy, it’s hard for a lot of older former players, like myself, to wrap our concussed brains around the fact that Joey Bosa is actually considering the possibility of not become a multi-millionaire with the stroke of a pen. 

in 1979, I was so happy when I got my $20,000 signing bonus from the Buffalo Bills that I went out and bought my first car - a silver colored Monte Carlo. I called it the Silver Bullet and just a few months later I shot it up to my first training camp in Niagara Falls. When I finally had a chance to meet the Bill's owner Ralph Wilson, I went up to him said thank you for helping me buy my first car.

Boy, things have changed a lot since I played in the NFL.        

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Requiem for a Running Back

"Everybody in America needs to see this film” - Mike Ditka, President, Gridiron Greats

Pro Football Hall of Famer, Harry Carson asked me to get the word out to former players - especially the guys living in the Atlanta area - regarding the premier screening of 'Requiem For A Running Back.'  

It will be shown at the Carter Center in Atlanta, Georgia on Thursday, August 18th. There will be a panel discussion held immediately following the screening and they are hoping that a large contingent of former players will be there to watch the film and join the discussion.

Here is what the film is about:

After learning that her father suffered from Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), filmmaker Rebecca Carpenter goes on a journey of interviews and investigation to try and understand the impact of the disease on football players and their families.

Here is a link to the website regarding the documentary: Requiem For A Running Back

The website describes the documentary saying “Director Rebecca Carpenter’s father, Lewis Carpenter, was a world championship running back for Vince Lombardi’s Green Bay Packers. When he dies, her family receives a surprise call from Boston University’s brain bank requesting his brain – with shocking results. Lew becomes the 18th NFL player diagnosed postmortem with Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative neurocognitive disorder that can cause episodes of rage, social withdrawal, and other unusual behaviors. Carpenter finds herself at ground zero of an unfolding public health controversy and embarks on a three-year odyssey across America to explore the far-reaching implications of this “new” disease in football players.”

The event is free and open to the public. Please RSVP by August 15th here, or email Berkeley Arakawa at if you have any questions. The event will take place from 7:00 to 9:00 in the Chapel of the Ivan Allen Pavilion at The Carter Center located at 453 Freedom Parkway NE, Atlanta, GA, 30307. Free parking is available in The Carter Center parking lot.

Please feel free to download the flyer regarding the event here  and post it, or email it out to other former players that you know.

Here is a short preview of the film......

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I want to alert former NFL players to a new study designed to develop and refine methods of diagnosing Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) during life and to examine risk factors for CTE. The DIAGNOSE CTE Research Project is a multi-center, multi-disciplinary, 7-year study. If you would like to be a part of this study, please note that all travel expenses are covered. In addition, participants may receive up to $500 compensation. 

The study is currently enrolling men ages 45-74 who are:

1. Former NFL players who played three or more seasons in the NFL

2. Former varsity college football players

3. Men who have never participated in contact sports or have had any brain injury

For more information or to find out if you are eligible for the research project, contact: Taylor Platt, Recruitment Coordinator at (617) 414-1193 or email her at:  You can also download and distribute the flyer with details about the study to other former players at this link: Diagnose CTE Research Project Flyer

At this time, CTE can only be diagnosed after death through neuropathological examination of brain tissue. Dr. Ann McKee and colleagues, with funding from the National Institutes of Health for the “Understanding Neurologic Injury in Traumatic Encephalopathy” (UNITE) Project, have made significant gains in the understanding and description of the neuropathological changes of CTE.

Although there has been a great deal of media attention to CTE, the scientific study of this disease is still in its early stages. Critical questions remain, such as: How common is CTE? Why do some people get it and others do not? What is the mechanism leading from repetitive head impacts to the brain disease and later life symptoms? What are the risk factors for CTE? Can CTE be treated or even prevented?

To answer these questions, one of the critical next steps is to develop methods of detecting and diagnosing CTE during life. This will be a 7-Year multi-site research project that will try to develop methods of diagnosing Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy during life and examine potential risk factors for this degenerative brain disease. This study is not designed to provide a diagnosis or treatment to participants.

Goals of the DIAGNOSE CTE Research Project:

• To collect and analyze neuroimaging and fluid biomarkers for the detection of CTE during life.

• To characterize the clinical presentation of CTE.

• To examine the progression of CTE over a three year period.

• To refine and validate diagnostic criteria for the clinical diagnosis of CTE.

• To investigate genetic and head impact exposure risk factors for CTE.

• To share project data with researchers across the country and abroad in order to expedite growth in our understanding and treatment of this disease.

The ultimate goal is to be able to prevent and treat CTE and other long term consequences of repetitive head impacts in athletes, military personnel, and others.

Participation in the study will include:

A three day visit at one of the four study sites for:

• A thorough medical history and neurological exam

• A Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scan of your brain

• Collection of blood and saliva samples

• A spinal tap (also called a lumbar puncture) so we can collect fluid from your spinal column

• Two Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scans to detect if there are elevations of specific proteins in your brain.

• Completion of questionnaires on your mood and behavior

• A set of standardized tests of your memory and other cognitive skills  

The Study sites include the  Arizona Mayo Clinic-Scottsdale - with PET scans at Banner Alzheimer’s Institute; Boston University School of Medicine - with MRI’s at Brigham and Women’s Hospital; Las Vegas Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health and the New York University Langone Medical Center.

If you decide to participate, you could be helping the general population and future generations of NFL players. I hope the active players and NFL owners remember this when the next CBA is negotiated in 2020 and they want to know why we are asking for modest increases in our Pension.

We want to save the game and protect players that we will someday call our alumni brothers.  

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