In my first week working for the NFLPA Former Players Department, a retired player contacted the office seeking career advice. Our conversation revealed the fact that many players are unaware of the many personal and professional development programs sponsored by the NFL, NFLPA, and countless other professional football organizations and affiliates.
My mission became clear and I worked diligently to create an aggregate of the benefits and services available to active and former players.
Over the course of this blog, I will outline where to access NFL development programs and detail eligibility requirements. The information provided will assist players in setting goals for retirement and initial preparation for the 2021 NFL Lockout.
Eligibility status for NFL resources are as follows:
Resources are available for players to continue secondary and advanced scholastic pursuits based on his status as professional athletes.
If the player is unaware of what his career path after sports will be or is not satisfied with his new career, there are organizations who offer certificate programs and continuing education courses that active and retired players can access to further his education, especially during the offseason.
Players must inquire about and apply for reimbursement before enrolling in classes or programs, or risk the loss of reimbursement.
WANT TO KNOW THE TOP THREE EDUCATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS AND RESOURCES?
Benefits and resources tend to change when the CBA comes up for renegotiation. You may hear ’Pre-93’ when it comes to benefits and resources available, so make sure when the player begins to inquire about retirement benefits, he also familiarizes himself with the time and retirement status limits.
These benefits and resources become limited and restricted as time passes so it is best to prepare for retirement as an active player.
Certain injury grievances are also subject to time limits.
WANT TO KNOW THE TOP THREE RETIREMENT ORGANIZATIONS AND RESOURCES?
There are actually two ways to categorize playing time: credited seasons and accrued seasons. One active roster game can make the difference between complete health coverage in retirement and membership discounts for life.
Be sure to document and confirm each game a player is on active roster in case of any foul play or accounting errors.
The number of Credited Seasons [CS] determines the benefits and resources accessible.
WANT TO KNOW THE TOP THREE ACTIVE STATUS ORGANIZATIONS AND RESOURCES?
UNSURE OF HOW MANY CREDITED SEASONS YOUR PLAYER HAS?
Missed the first post in the series?
Click here to give it a look!
And don’t forget to leave some of the #LockoutLessons you learned in the comments or on social media!
ABOUT AMBER C. EDWARDS…
Amber is a native Texan and University of Oklahoma graduate. Her work experience comes from various positions with the NCAA, NBA, AHL, and NFLPA. She is also married to S. Johnathan Reese, a Columbia University Athletics Hall of Fame member and retired Running Back for the New York Jets (2002 - 2004), Denver Broncos (2004), and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2004). Amber lives in Antigua and Barbuda with her husband.
Her most recent experience at the NFLPA Former Players Department provided valuable insights into players' career evolution to better assist families in transition. Amber was also a panelist at the Inaugural WAGcademy Conference in July 2018.
FOLLOW @AMBERCEDWARDS ON INSTAGRAM