Blog Entry

Dan Pastorini feels let down by NFL, NFLPA

Posted on: August 31, 2011 8:26 am
Dan Pastorini is upset with the way he feels been treated by the NFL and the NFLPA (US Presswire).Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Dan Pastorini is mad. He’s mad at the NFL owners. He’s mad at the NFL Players Association. And he’s mad at Drew Brees.

“F--- Drew Brees,” Pastorini said.

Pastorini is mad at the way he feels he and his former NFL compatriots have been treated, and though Brees isn’t the true villain in this movie, he’s also an easy target for something he said two years ago.

Pastorini looks at the new CBA deal and figures out how much more money he’ll receive as a player who retired before 1993. He remembers how much he made when he was playing quarterback for the Oilers, Rams, Raiders and Eagles from 1971-82. Then, he thinks about the NFL Players Association and the NFL owners -- and the labor fight for which he couldn’t participate -- and his blood boils.

He gets mad, really mad, and he lets loose on a rant in which he places blame on both sides who he believes simply doesn’t care about the men who helped build the NFL into what it is today.

The $620 million “Legacy Fund” added to the new CBA for the players who retired before 1993 that will be used to increase pensions? And the $300 million in other benefits, including those for health? It’s simply not good enough for Pastorini. Not good enough for how much he says he sacrificed.

“I’m going to get an extra $1,000 a month. Big f------ deal,” the 62-year-old Pastorini told recently. “I think it’s a travesty the way they treat the older players. I’m part of that group. They’re throwing us a bone with the $620 million. By the time they get to a new CBA after 10 years, they won’t have to worry about us pre-93er’s. It’s sad, but it’s their M.O. They want to wait for us to die.

“What they’re talking about now is to give us a bone and to shut us up. It’s just wrong. It’s damn wrong. And the players association is just as greedy as the owners are, if not more so. The players don’t go to bat for us, which makes us ashamed.”

And what Brees said in 2009 when discussing retired players who complained about their benefits -- as recounted here by’s Mike Freeman -- really upsets Pastorini.

“There's some guys out there that have made bad business decisions,” Brees said then. “They took their pensions early because they never went out and got a job. They've had a couple divorces and they're making payments to this place and that place. And that's why they don't have money. And they're coming to us to basically say, 'Please make up for my bad judgment.' In that case, that's not our fault as players."

It might have seemed Brees was talking directly to Pastorini, who’s had to declare bankruptcy twice and has been divorced after ending his one-time Pro Bowl career. Clearly, Pastorini feels that Brees -- who is making $7.4 million this year and could be the next quarterback to win a $90 million contract -- made it personal.

“My first year’s salary was $25,000, then $30,000, then $35,000,” Pastorini said. “These guys make my first contract in a game. Look at (former NFLPA executive director) Gene Upshaw and what he left his wife when he died? How did he leave her $15 million? They’ve been screwing us from day one. My pension was $1,100 a month, then $1,200, then $1,400, and now it’ll be $1,750. No medical, no disability -- $1700 doesn’t even pay for my rent.”

Not surprisingly, the NFL has a slightly different opinion.

Said NFL spokesman Greg Aiello in a statement to “We respectfully disagree with Dan.” The NFLPA declined comment on the issue.

But let’s look at the other side of the story. Before the newest CBA, the Legacy Fund didn’t exist. The NFL and the NFLPA are both contributing at least $300 million over the next 10 years to add more money for former players. If it’s $1,000 more a month for a retiree, that’s $1,000 more than that former player had before.

And though Brees’ statement continues to backfire on him and the union, those close to Brees says he was one of the retired players’ biggest advocates in trying to give back to the players who came before him -- and to get everybody to understand the importance of doing so. Witness a radio interview he gave last April to XX 1090 in San Diego.

“I know that I’m fighting for so many people here, for former players in the form of improving their pensions and disability benefits to take care of those guys that built this game for us and future players too,” he said. “To be honest with you, this is one of those things that when a settlement is reached, that settlement is something that I’m probably never going to benefit from. It’s guys before me, it’s guys that are going to come after me. So for me, there’s so many guys that made sacrifices before us to make this game better.”

Dan Pastorini with Bum Phillips, Wade Phillips and Bob McNair (Getty). Pastorini (second from the left in the photo to the left) has good reason to want better medical benefits as well. With so much newly emerging information about chronic traumatic encephalopathy, Pastorini is worried that he’s going to be suffering from the dementia-like condition if he lives long enough.

“I’ve been to clinics. I’ve been put on vitamin regimens. I find myself not remembering people’s names,” said Pastorini, who said he sustained at least a dozen concussions when he played. “I’ll go to the kitchen for a cup of coffee, and I can’t remember why I went in there. It’s possible I have that. I won’t know until they cut my brain open.”

Pastorini isn’t alone in his thoughts. During Super Bowl week in Dallas, the NFL Alumni held a press conference that featured former players who were fighting -- and outspoken in their demand -- for better pension benefits and long-term health care.

But in reality, what can the NFL and the NFLPA say to fully satisfy the league’s alumni? Probably nothing, and to their credit, both sides feel like they’ve tried to improve the conditions for the retirees. But to Pastorini, it’s just not good enough.

“There’s a lot of greed in this business,” Pastorini said. “We’re the guys on the outside looking in, and we’re never going to be compensated for what we do. We built the game, and these guys should be kissing our ass now. But they’re not.”

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.

Since: Sep 2, 2011
Posted on: September 2, 2011 9:57 pm

Dan Pastorini feels let down by NFL, NFLPA

I feel sorry for the guy. They should at least provide health insurance for these guys until they are 65. Football caused a lot of their long term health problems.

Since: Sep 2, 2011
Posted on: September 2, 2011 9:09 pm

Dan Pastorini feels let down by NFL, NFLPA

I wish that Dan Pastorini would have thought about all of this when he was living the "High Life" in the NFL. Didn't complain about it then. My father passed away because he inhaled to much asbestos from working in a shipyard. He didn't complain and whine about it. No settlement for him.Now the stuff is outlawed. He never bitched and moaned like Dan. Buy a dress and a pacifier Pastorini! He can shut his big fat mouth and go away! OR he can go to West Viriginia and see how much sympathy he gets from the hard working Coal Miners. How about ride on a FIRETRUCK anf run into a  burning building with an under-paid Firefighter DAN!

Since: Dec 1, 2007
Posted on: September 2, 2011 8:57 pm

Dan Pastorini feels let down by NFL, NFLPA

My dad is retired from Delta Airlines and makes way more per month than a retired pre-93 NFL player.  My mother is retired from the State of Georgia and makes way more per month than those guys.  That just seems very odd given the fact that we have gotten so used to guys making a killing playing a game.  

Since: Apr 28, 2008
Posted on: September 2, 2011 8:41 pm

Dan Pastorini feels let down by NFL, NFLPA

@avengersgirl: after all the somewhat appropriate venom directed at Pastorini, you have also touched on the more important aspect; its really the health care. I don't know if they owe the older players money, but negotiating for the health care is appropriate. All the other fools are ignoring the astronomical increases in health care costs since the pre-93ers retired. Even if people are accurate in saying he needed to manage his business finances better, the average NFL player doesn't really get a choice on managing their post-playing health care. And those costs are significantly higher than other people's health care. And the increases we've experienced as a nation since '93 are unprecedented. Astronomical. Even a reasonably successful, reasonably wealthy former player would go absolutely broke if they have to pay for medical concerns regarding head injuries. Plus, even reasonably successful business decisions don't necessarily carry on forever. A player turns 75 and finally his new business or work is over. And he lives to 85 - that's ten years of brutal costs, most of which are multiplied by having played football. And don't argue that some guy playing in the 60's should have been negotiating the CBA for concussion insurance in 2012. In short, I agree with the majority about how they don't neeeeeeed to pay the old players money, but I feel very strongly that it was perfectly fair and right for the old players to get a major update and boost in health insurance (and I don't even know if that happened. Did it?)

Since: Apr 4, 2007
Posted on: September 2, 2011 7:56 pm

Dan Pastorini feels let down by NFL, NFLPA

I hope he can start remembering peoples names and forgetting the f word.

Since: Sep 13, 2006
Posted on: September 2, 2011 7:17 pm

Dan Pastorini feels let down by NFL, NFLPA

There will always be people like Pastorini that want things handed to them on a silver platter. Especially money, healthcare, etc. Poor Dan acts like he built the NFL himself when he was just an average QB. I can see why he'd be mad at Brees. Because the truth hurts? He played in the NFL for 10 years and their supposed to baby him for the rest of his life? It's time to grow up and be a man, Dan!

How can you compare the money people made 30 years ago, too the money people make today? I think he did get hit in the head too many times! The guy played football because he was too stupid to get a decent job....And I didn't know somone put a gun to his head and said, "Play football"! It's a good thing he's not working at McD's, because with all of those concussions, he'd probably forget to put the lettuce on a Big Mac and get fired anyways. It's a tough life, eh Dan?.........CUP4PENS :)

Since: Nov 28, 2006
Posted on: September 2, 2011 5:50 pm

Dan Pastorini feels let down by NFL, NFLPA

I am sorry Dan feels that way.  I also see certain things were left out.  He mentions his contract salary for the first three years.  What happened to the other 9 or 10 that he played.  I just looked up an article from 84 that said he won a lawsuit from the Raider for 450K, which was owed to him from one year of his contract with Houston.  That doesn't sound like 35K to me.  The other thing we have to realize is that TV contracts weren't what they are now.  There was no ESPN or Fox for most of Pastorini's career.  The market was smaller and the pay was relative to the market. 

Since: Dec 17, 2008
Posted on: September 2, 2011 4:10 pm

Dan Pastorini feels let down by NFL, NFLPA

@, I'm sure that's exactly why your an ex-reporter!

Since: Aug 18, 2011
Posted on: September 2, 2011 3:53 pm

Dan Pastorini feels let down by NFL, NFLPA

Maybe these guys should do a little better on money management.  Just because you're in the NFL for a decade doesn't mean you're financially secure if you don't know how to handle your wealth. 

Then again, players weren't paid NEAR the same amount 40yrs ago as they are now.  Inflation included.

Since: Mar 15, 2008
Posted on: September 2, 2011 2:59 pm

Dan Pastorini feels let down by NFL, NFLPA

 heard today from Dan Pastorini that the comments he made on this issue were OFF THE RECORD.

In fact, he said Mr. Katzowitz arranged to meet him to discuss an entirely different subject for a book Mr. Katzowitz was writing.

  off the record? what the hell does that mean?  It you want something 'off the record' dont say it. 

PrinceKropotkin're obviously a naive, fanboy, simpleton 

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or