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Posted at 05:17 PM ET, 04/05/2011

Huff-ing at Brees

A veteran Hall of Fame linebacker is challenging a Super Bowl MVP, adding yet another dimension to off-season entertainment, inevitably drawing the NFL closer and closer to becoming more reminiscent of the WWE than a credible professional sports league.

Drew Brees’ comments in 2009 have been enough to keep Sam Huff fuming for two years. As a veteran, Huff didn’t appreciate Brees’ sentiment that current NFL players should not be held responsible for financial mishandlings of former players. Huff believes that Brees’ livelihood is the result of those veterans making the game great, whom deserve to be taken care of and not neglected. Who’s right?

I’m honestly more inclined to side with Brees on this one and I’ll use Dez Bryant as partial rationale. Dez is a current player entering his second season with the Cowboys who is already being sued for owing over $860,000.00 in legal fees and unpaid jewelry. There is no doubt in my mind that Bryant will be one of the many future bankrupt NFL veterans. Would Sam Huff honestly think the NFL is even partially financially responsible for Mr. Bryant’s expensive taste in jewelry?  

Mr. Bryant isn’t a veteran yet so maybe Mr. Huff is talking more about those veterans who made the game great. Veterans like O.J. Simpson. Would Sam Huff want the NFL to be partially responsible for the Juice’s legal fees? I wouldn’t wish that upon anyone. Speaking of veteran running backs, what about paying for Travis Henry’s child support? Eleven different children from ten different mothers.

Don’t get me wrong, I agree with Sam Huff to an extent. Past players, even in the 1980’s, didn’t make the money players today are raking in. You should never forget your elders because one day you’ll be one and chances are they know quite a bit more than you do.

I couldn’t tell you how the NFL retirement is set up, owners wouldn’t open their books up for me, but I would hazard a guess and say that it’s probably “better” than one might think. I would guess that a Redskin vet and a Jags vet who had similar careers would be entitled to similar benefits. Is this fair to Redskins vets considering the Redskins are a much more profitable franchise than the Jags? Wouldn’t more free agents want to sign with the Redskins if they thought their retirement would be substantially higher? But this wouldn’t be “fair” to those players who get drafted by the Jags and have no control over where they land.

I agree with Drew Brees as long as he’s not suggesting that all veteran benefits and retirement should be eliminated and their NFL salaries should be enough to last them for the rest of their lives, but I don’t think he’s gone that far, although Mr. Huff might. If NFL players are willing to work so hard for their dreams, they should want to work equally hard to protect them. 

This topic is a massive undertaking and I’ve barely been able to scratch the surface. It’s a crying shame that so many players end up broke after their brief careers are over and I genuinely do feel bad for them when this happens, but that doesn’t mean it’s not their fault. Aside from medical care and a performance and tenure-based pension plans how much is enough? The higher the safety net the less afraid people are of falling.

By Evan Bliss  |  05:17 PM ET, 04/05/2011

Tags:  Redskins, Evan Bliss

 
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