NFL players become eligible for pensions after playing three seasons and health insurance after retirement if they play for five years.
But many NFL players don’t make it to that point. For example, Bills safety Damar Hamlin, who was resuscitated during a game following cardiac arrest, was in just his second year in the league and wouldn’t meet those qualifications if his career is over.
His contract also has language that cuts his salary if he were put on injured reserve, which is common. On his four-year, $3.6 million deal he signed after being drafted in the sixth round in 2021, his base salary in 2022 was to be $825,000. If he had spent the whole season on injured reserve, it would be $455,000.
The NFL and NFL Players Association arranged an agreement for Hamlin to receive his full pay. But long-term insurances for all players has been a point of debate and likely will continue to be in upcoming years.
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