Retired NFL players are wealthy………..for what we give!

This past weekend I took some time off work to attend the Upstate NY NFL Alumni Charity Golf Tournament in Albany, New York.  The President of the Chapter, Tim Sherwin was our gracious host and did a wonderful job making everyone feel right at home. The event raised money for the local YMCA and continued the proud tradition of the NFL Alumni’s mission of “Caring for Kids”. 

There has also been a lot of focus on the NFL Alumni’s newest mission of advocating for retired players, but while we are building that new foundation, we must never forget that the heart and soul of our organization is on full display when we help others less fortunate than ourselves.     

On the train ride home, I had a chance to think about all the people I saw at this event. Men that gave of themselves. Former players like Earl Morrall, Ben Davidson, Robert Newhouse, George Martin, Rodney Hampton, Bart Oates, Billy Ray Barnes, Emerson Boozer, Bruce Laird, Greg Lloyd, Bob and Karl Swanke, Charlie Ferguson, Joe Pagliei, Jim Rourke, Butch Byrd, Lou Piccone and many more.  I also met several volunteers that did so much to make the weekend an enjoyable experience.   

Every once in a while we need a little R&R to reflect on what is most important in life: Our family, our friends, our health and our wealth.  That last one may cause a few retired players scratch their heads and ask the question “What is Jeff smoking? – some of us don’t even have a liveable pension!”

I assure you I’m not high on anything but life……..and living a full and meaningful one should not be measured by the amount of money you have in your bank account.  

If we could have a perfect ending to our earthly lives, I would imagine that it might look something like this:  We are laying in a soft comfortable bed in our own home with all our family and friends surrounding us – helping us make the transition to an everlasting life where all the pain and worries of the world will soon be gone.  

But, in that hour just before our death, what will you be thinking about? The material wealth you accumulated? Of course not.  You will be thinking about what you did in life to cause all these people to be at your side in your final hour of need. You will not be thinking about the things you “got” in life, you will be thinking about the things you “gave” in life.   

It’s not just a meaningless saying. It really is “better to give…..then to receive”.

We all have a limited amount of time on this planet… while we are here, let’s do everything we can to share the spirit of giving that resides in each of us.

From time to time we also need to examine our motives in life.  

The political games, the big egos, selfish pride, greed, envy and hatred all need to be washed away and continually replaced with the best qualities that our creator admires…..and rewards.  We may not always see the rewards on this plane of existence, but they are waiting for those that have run the good race and have finally crossed the goal line.

Sometimes we get so caught up in our own little worlds that we neglect the people that are closest to us. When that happens, we often miss the chance to say something, or do something, or give something to the ones we love and cherish. Unfortunately, in some cases the opportunity to do so, may never present itself again.

The next time you see them, give your friends, your wives, your children, your parents, your brothers and sisters and your former teammates something that money can’t buy.

That will make you a wealthy man. 

Wealth is the ability to fully experience life”Henry David Thoreau


About Jeff Nixon

Jeff was a first team consensus All-American from the University of Richmond in 1978. He is 7th in NCAA history with 23 career interceptions. Played for the Buffalo Bills 1979-1984. Led the team with 6 interceptions in Rookie Year. Holds Bills record for 4 takeaways in a single game - 3 interceptions and a fumble recovery. Tied Bills record with four consecutive games with an interception. After 5 knee surgeries Jeff retired from pro football in 1985. He worked for 13 years (1988-2000) as the Youth Bureau Director for Buffalo and Erie County. He has worked for the past 11 years as the Youth Employment Director for Buffalo. Plays guitar and was voted best R&B guitar player by Buffalo Nightlife Magazine in 2006, 2007 and 2008.

Posted on July 27, 2011, in NFL Alumni News. Bookmark the permalink. 14 Comments.

  1. Jeff—your last 2 blog postings sure read as though you are looking to dampen our expectations.

  2. So very apropos in light of recent events. Thanks Jeff.



  4. thumbs up jeff

  5. This reminds me of the fatherly talks my Dad used to give me when I was hoping for or even expecting something – like a car when I was in college – you focus on your blessings – what you have – not what you don’t have. In other words, this is a gentle segue into the fact that former players won’t be getting anything like they were hoping for or expecting in the new CBA!

  6. Jeff,
    Thumbs up also Jeff. Think you nailed it! Look forward to growing the Chapter with you. This was our 17th tournament. I wish and hope that other players do not look into your comments as though your looking to soften the blow. I know you do not know how the monies will be allocated. We still need to keep pressure on. We have hit them from all sides. Look forward to release of increase in benefits so we can move on and continue to strengthen the advocacy initiative of our Chapters.

    Thanks again for all that you do and your post on the Upstate NY Chapter.

  7. You are right on Jeff. thanks for what you have done and what you are going to do.

  8. Obviously, this is an attempt to let us down easy as there is not going to be an equitable division of the wealth. What we don’t have is a pension that reflects the properous game we were all once a part of. What we have are guys who placed their hopes in others and are going to be let down. I am still young and can rebound from any financial mishaps but there are those that it is too late. Thinking about their blessings won’t pay the mortgage or their ever rising medical bills. There are some that will have to depend on charity instead of those that through our sacrifices (82,87 strikes) now receive the benefits of making huge salaries and lifetime security. A business that measures income in the billions and where some make more in a game than some of us for entire careers. Blessings would have been actually having a noticeable increase in pension payments, or an affordable health care plan that guys with pre-existing conditions could join. We will see who will actually benefit from the proposed “Legacy Fund” and if it is not equitable, there will be no blessings for those who let us down.

  9. Jeff,
    You’ve expressed a meaningful life philosophy. But don’t forget that a basic tenet of a balanced philosophy is the commitment to fighting the good fight to right wrongs and injustices. You have been on the front lines of this battle with the NFL and our own union the NFLPA for many years. I thank you and salute you for your effort. And remember there are thousands of us who, although we don’t participate at your level, enthusiastically back you 100%.
    Keep up the good work!

  10. Michael C McCoy

    It is to bad the last response had to use anonymous as his sign on. This means to me that he still has ties to the NFL and is unable to really speak his mind. I am the wife of Michael and received the last letter from the NFL talking about benefits. I called the the contact on the letter only to be told I will hear on the “News” about any updates and then receive a letter. Are you kidding me? The only good thing I was told was that the 88 plan will get an increase in monies both the in home needs and the out of home care that will at some point be necessary for many. If anyone else has heard anything it would be great to hear from you. Thanks

  11. @Anonymous is exactly right! “Faith without works is DEAD!” So this is what we must do – if you guys are up to the task. You must make a case to the media, while the issue is still hot; to gain leverage in a negotiating effort and get better benefits for players Pre-93 CBA! Today Show, Bloomberg, CNN, MSNBC, etc – use this momentum to form a LLC under the tent of the NFL Alumni and NFLPA.

    To raise tremendous revenue for the NFL and Active and Retired Players – there should be a joint venture between the NFL Alumni and NFLPA to incorporate and issue stock certificates or notes for in the names of Active and Retired or Deceased players. I imagine each NFL franchise is worth about 1 Billion plus – so the evaluation of the newly formed corporation would generate about 1 billion in new cash! This can be attained through paying a dividend equal or better than the stock market or about 11%. This stock dividend can be paid by a each of the 32 teams – Example – the new corporate IPO raises 1 Billion dollars based on comp franchises ( fresh , new money; revenue stream) – the venture provides for the investor security and stability, a constant return ( the interest rate can be lower), fan participation, networking with other countries, capital appreciation for the individual NFL player ( stock certificate with his name, action pictures and signature), etc. – for 1 billion in new cash, each of the 32 teams would pay about 3.4 million in dividend debt for access to 31 million in new money – THIS does not include the capital appreciation! Say if a team or individual goes to the playoffs or wins the Super Bowl or becomes the Super Bowl MVP – that person’s stock rises significantly on the open stock market!!!

    The extra money can fund the older, retired players – Pre – 93 CBA, health costs through a group insurance policy. Each active player should have a REQUIRED Health Savings Account and retired players – Health Reimbursement Arrangements. Nolan, I would glad to be a insurance representative for the NFLPA and write the master policies for the active and retired players.

    I know guys are worried about getting “blackballed” or “scapegoated” to show they are still incharge, but there should be provisions in place before a move is made.

    ALL NFL Retirees will benefit, with the help of the HOFs, to help push issues that coincide with the national issues of keeping and enhancing a single payer plan for healthcare. Here are the players who signed on to the Carl Eller lawsuite in their letter to NFL vets:

    July 21, 2011
    Dear Retired Players:
    We NFL Hall of Famers support the work being done by the Hausfeld LLP and Zelle
    Hofmann law firms on behalf of NFL retired players through the Carl Eller Class Action suit
    against the League and Players Association. Please review and sign the attached letter of
    support. We need to send the League and the Players Association a unified message! Please do
    your part to help secure needed increases to retiree rights and benefits.
    Hall of Famers who are in Support:
    1. Lem Barney
    2. Joe Delamalleure
    3. Larry Little
    4. Fred Dean
    5. Lenny Moore
    6. Roger Wehrli
    7. Kenny Houston
    8. Yale Larry
    9. Bob St. Clair
    10. Mel Renfroe
    11. Gino Marcetti
    12. Bobby Mitchell
    13. Rayfield Wright
    14. Floyd Little
    15. Charlie Taylor
    16. Sonny Jergenson
    17. Dave Wilcox
    18. Tommy McDonald
    19. Ted Hendricks
    20. Anthony Munoz
    21. Billy Shaw
    22. Chris Hanburger
    23. Mel Renfro
    24. Leroy Kelly
    25. Sam Huff
    26. Art Shell
    27. Bobby Bell
    28. Charlie Sanders
    29. Tom Mack
    30. Paul Krause
    31. Elvin Bethea
    32. Carl Eller
    33. Franco Harris
    34. Marcus Allen
    35. James Lofton
    36. Steve Largent
    37. Mike Haynes
    38. Pete Pihos
    39. John Riggins
    40. Roger Staubach
    41. Randall McDaniel
    42. Chuck Bednarik
    43. Jackie Smith
    44. Tom Mack
    45. Elvin Bethea
    46. Warren Moon
    47. Ron Mix
    48. Herb Adderley
    49. Ron Yary
    50. Jack Youngblood
    51. Jim Langer
    52. John Randle
    53. Eric Dickerson
    54. John Hannah
    55. Earl Campbell

  12. Cedric W. Brown

    I totally agree. It is always better to give than to receive. If u want more out of life, give more in your lifetime.

  13. Jeff,

    Great, great message, thanks man. I couldn’t agree more. GIVE BACK. Many blessings, God Bless and thanks for all your efforts.

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