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With Playoff Expansion Looming, Ryan Clark Is Concerned About Player Benefits


Former Pittsburgh Steelers safety Ryan Clark may have changed uniforms during the offseason, but his outspokenness when it comes to the league and NFLPA matters hasn’t changed at all.

The NFL owners meetings are currently underway in Atlanta, GA and one of the main topics of discussion on the agenda this week is playoff expansion, as several of the owners are reportedly pushing for two additional teams to be added as early as this season.

Clark, who was elected to the NFLPA’s Executive Committee back in March, took to Twitter on Monday to voice his opinion on the topic.

One NFL owner recently told Kimberly Jones of the NFL Network, that he believes it’s a matter of not if, but when, the playoffs are expanded from 12 to 14 teams. Jones goes on to add that while a scheduled vote is not on the current agenda, that owners can decide to take a vote, however, while their in the room. If a vote was to occur and pass, Jones says it still will need the approval of the player’s union.

You can bet that Clark, who signed with the Washington Redskins this offseason, will continue to be vocal when it comes to playoff expansion and player’s benefits, and that he’ll be watching what transpires this week in Atlanta very closely.

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About Dave Bryan

I am, I'm me. 40 something, retired and a life long Steelers fan.
  • srdan

    I fully agree with Clark. The league is trying to have its cake and eat it at the same time. You can’t go around trying to reduce head injuries, and then add games. On top of that there is no reason that they should be trying to reduce benefits during and after their careers. The NFL has enough money that it won’t hurt any owner to prolong benefits.

    Clarks methods can be questioned, but the message shouldn’t be.

  • Wing t

    I am glad he no longer plays for pittsburgh. He should become an espn analyst or a player rep.

  • Jacque Strappe

    Same.

  • Ben Anderson

    While I do believe that the players should get the same percentage of the bigger pie that results from expanded playoffs, I think there is a misconception that results from the Saints backed workers comp bill that, while it does reach too far, does nothing to change a player’s ability to receive his full annual compensation should he be injured.
    As of now, an injured player can receive their contract compensation and also request workers comp benefits for a large portion of that same compensation that they otherwise would not be able to receive because they are unable to work. In other words, the players can receive extra money when inured because the loophole in the system allows the players to double dip.
    The Saints are trying to reduce the workers comp insurance premiums. Here’s the rub though. Most player contracts now have offset language that allows for some players to receive less than their fully scheduled compensation in the event that they are injured early in the year and depending on the number of years they have as vested veterans.
    At the end of the day, the system is convoluted and should be simplified by not allowing players to file for workers comp for a one year term after being injured but also making the team responsible for paying the FULL salary of the player’s contract for that period that the player cannot file that claim.
    The Saints are trying to have it both ways, and that is what the NFLPA is griping about.

  • srdan

    I don’t disagree iwth you, but I feel this way because of his onfield production. The antics don’t bother me.

    He already is both.

  • srdan

    You know a lot more about this than I do. Where do you pick up this info?

    Am I correct in assuming that at one point the league offered life long insurance benefits if you fulfill some tenure? But they are receding that offer to incoming rookies?

  • HiVul

    I don’t understand this perception at all, how were Clarks comments inappropriate or hurtful towards his team? If your bosses were discussing your benefits you would take no interest in that?

  • Ben Anderson

    I just read a lot. I’m no different than any other fan in terms of smarts.
    My understanding is that anyone can “buy” the insurance once they have played. But that players don’t really qualify for everything the benefits program provides (including a substantial pension) until they’ve been in for 3 years and that at 5 years, they basically have at least a pretty good quality of life to look forward to for the rest of their lives ($75k+ per year pension, health, dental, life ins, long term care, etc, for life). And no one can hold the NFL alone responsible for that. The players union negotiated that deal and it’s always included only “fully vested” veterans. I will give them this, they keep reducing the number of years necessary to qualify.
    As to where I pick it up; here and there. Mike Florio is annoying sometimes but, as a former labor attorney, he explains these things very well.

  • HiVul

    The impression that I get from this is that Clark and other players just want to use the playoff expansion (and the fact that the league knows the players have to approve it) as leverage to get this health insurance stuff sorted out, which totally makes sense to me. Anyone know if that’s the case or if its at all realistic that the players could try to jam up the playoff expansion long term?

  • Steve

    If players get 75k+ per year, how is it that people like Mike Webster are homeless. Know his brain was mush due to repeated concussions, but still homeless with a yearly pension?

  • Steve

    Clark is still a player Rep.

  • Steve

    Don’t think Clark’s comments were inappropriate, just rubbing people the wrong way. This could be reason for the Skins to give Clark a quick exit, especially with his just being signed and not starting.

  • bonairsfavoriteson

    Clark is full of it on the workers comp issue, that is not a negotiated deal, it is a state program, at the mercy of each states political senate and house, any one that is injured on the job can file for workers comp in the state where they live and work. And the benefits are not the same in each state. some states make modifications of their comp laws from time to time based on a lot of things.

  • shawn

    They do not get 75k a year pension … where did u get that crazy info ??

  • shawn

    because they dont … thats nonsense !

  • HiVul

    Rubbing people the wrong way how? That’s what I don’t get. You’d really have to say something offensive to get cut over a tweet. I just don’t see it

  • Steve

    Put yourself in his place. If you got a new job with a new employer and started saying bad things about the company you worked for, how long would you last?

  • Ben Anderson

    Players that played before the current pension system was in place are basically screwed. And I got that “crazy info” from a guy who played center for 10 years for the Lions and Seahawks.

  • Ben Anderson

    I love the know-it-all guys who get even smarter once they get behind a keyboard. Try quoting and sourcing actual facts instead of “from what you understand.” Do your homework. Idiot.

  • Steve

    No wonder why the NFL is a Non Profit organization.

  • Ben Anderson

    The office is an NPO, but only because they pay out any remaining proceeds back to the teams after they are finished writing ridiculously large bonus checks to the commissioner.
    I wrote my friend an email to ask for particulars. The figures I quoted are correct, however, someone mentioned the payout beginning at 55, which is correct. Jeff plans on waiting as long as possible to begin collecting. He doesn’t need the money anyway. The longer you played the higher the starting rate and the longer you let the money sit in the fund before collecting, the more you get per month. Insurance benefits are paid completely by the league and you receive them from the end of your 5th year until death, as does your spouse.
    He added that everyone who entered the league before 1991 is still pretty much screwed.

  • shawn

    you’re a numbskull …. u have no idea what u are talking about … i was quoting Facts … you are the one that is talking out of your bum !

  • shawn

    another erroneous comment … you have ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA what you are talking about !!!!

    The New “Legacy fund” from a few years ago (collective bargaining agreement ) ups the retirement for players that were vested prior to 1993 … with the most increases to players before 1975 ( example $200 – $1800/mo for a 10 yr vet from the 60′s)

    There have been a lot of changes recently and there is a myriad of options for players in addition to the basic retirement which to abbreviate is roughly $400+ credit per year times the number of years they play which roughly equals their monthly retirement they are eligible to receive at age 55 …

    You really shouldn’t be calling people “idiots” without at least doing a little research on your own and simply regurgitating second hand info from a player no less !

  • Ben Anderson

    Look Shawn, I should not have resorted to name calling. The conversation devolving into this is on me and I apologize for my part in it taking that direction. But, now we’re talking about two different things.
    The Legacy Fund, as it’s name implies, was created for players like Mike Webster who did not qualify for salary cap era pensions. It has nothing at all to do with current era players, the pension fund administered currently by the NFLPA and funded by NFL contributions.

  • shawn

    No worries … but yes i understand they are different, that is why i stated the “credit based” pension fund that is for current players at the bottom of my reply.

    For example, if a player plays 6 years and retires he would be eligible for (roughly) 6 x $425 per year played … about $2500/mo. once he hits age 55 ….

    this is (short version) of what i have understood as the current system … if this is not correct or you would like to add something please feel free to reply and add to it !

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