The Price Of Playing In The NFL

November 19th, 2009

Former Bucs defensive lineman Dave Pear is among a growing list of ex-NFL players who physically suffer from the beatings they took as players.

Not a whole lot of Bucs fans — except the diehards — will know who Dave Pear is.

Pear, a defensive lineman, was the Bucs first Pro Bowl player. He was one of the original Bucs.

Today, Pear is a shell of himself, a physical wreck wracked with chronic pain from the beating and abuse he took as an NFL lineman.

As documented by Doug Fernandes of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Pear is a walking example of how the NFL, filthy rich beyond any average person’s imagination, turns its backs on ex-players, as if they are human chattel. The same players who enabled NFL owners to become the billionaires they are today.

Pear said he’s spent more than $500,000 of his own money — more than he made during his career — on medical bills and prescription drugs.

The NFL, he said, ignores its own by failing to pay ex-players the disability payments they so desperately need, deserve and are owed.

“The NFL is delay, deny and hope we die,” Pear said. “We don’t want them to give us anything other than what they owe us.”

In Pear’s case, he wants the 25 years of benefits, plus penalty and interest, he believes were illegally withheld.

Joe cannot believe the NFL and the NFLPA cannot set aside, say, one percent of players’ gross salaries, matched by NFL owners, to be set aside to assist ex-players who are suffering from the physical beatings they took in their playing days.

Joe does know that if the NFL doesn’t start doing something, the feds will get involved.

Bucs fans who would like to connect with Pear can do so via his blog at

4 Responses to “The Price Of Playing In The NFL”

  1. RobertinSeattle Says:

    Sadly, Joe, there was money set aside in a pension and disability fund named for Bert Bell and Pete Rozelle. But unfortunately, the fund is grossly mismanaged as a result of the departed Gene Upshaw’s crew over the years and is probably in need of a major overhaul and accountability. At point when the majority of players applying for their earned disability benefits get turned down for the most ridiculous of excuses even as the people who run the fund walk away with 6-figure salaries, you gotta wonder how much longer that can last before the retired players finally build up enough momentum to revolt and take it back for themselves.

    It’s posts like yours that go a long way to educate a long-misinformed fan base about the real truth behind retirement for football players. Until the Internet came along, too many people were under the impression that all retired football players were rich and well taken care of by their Union, the NFLPA, and the League. Keep in mind that as all the TV networks grew, the NFL signed up most of them for broadcast deals, so naturally they have a fair amount of control in what messages get out to the fans. But the Internet and blogs have helped to level the playing field and it’s something they can’t control.

    The worst part of this? Dave – and most other players like him – are forced to fall back on Social Security Disability and Medicare benefits at the expense of the government (in other words, our public pocketbook) to pay for all their surgery and medical care when the League and their Union continues to deny them their earned benefits. No other Union in America is so blatant in its greed.

    Keep up the good work, Joe!

  2. Joe Says:


    Thank you so much for the very kind words. Much appreciated.

    Please check your g-mail in-box as I just sent you an e-mail.

    Thanks again.

  3. Eric S Says:

    He was a great player. Still have his autograph from the Quarterback Club back in the day. That was a while ago.

  4. RastaMon Says:

    Dave Pear was the first Buc on billboards in Tampa
    his upraised arms
    and grinning mouth guard !