By Alex Marvel
July 21, 2013
Troy Vincent, the NFL’s senior vice president of player engagement, told FOX Sports that the goal of the NFL Legends Program is to help alumni better reconnect with each other and their former teams while further emphasizing some of the league-sponsored resources available to them.
The effort will be assisted by 19 ex-players who are being brought to league headquarters in New York City on Monday and Tuesday for orientation sessions that include an address by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. That player group – which includes Pro Football Hall of Fame members Rod Woodson and John Randle as well as other big names like Chad Pennington, Warrick Dunn and Aeneas Williams – will serve as liaisons between the league and retirees from five regions across the country.
Vincent said the NFL Legends Program should ideally make former players “still feel appreciated for their contributions to the game.” The program will include bolstered outreach to NFL alumni for team and league initiatives like homecoming festivities, community events and the “Heads Up Football” initiative with USA Football that was created to teach proper tackling techniques to youth players.
The NFL Legends Program also is another avenue for the league to better assist ex-players who are experiencing difficulties adjusting to their post-football lives as the spotlight fades away.
The NFL and NFL Players Association already have taken steps as the physical, psychological and financial troubles of some retirees received greater media attention in recent years. The NFL and NFLPA approved a joint $620 million “legacy fund” for increased pension benefits as part of the 10-year Collective Bargaining Agreement adopted in 2011. There also are NFL- and NFLPA-sponsored programs whose scope far eclipses those offered to retired players from other professional sports leagues.
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