RSS

Can the players survive without game checks?

Lockout will hit hard for players if it lasts into September. Matt Bowen

Print This May 13, 2011, 05:30 AM EST

You think the NFL players can survive a real lockout—one that lasts into the regular season? The talk says they can, but I'm not buying it. Because after playing in this league and seeing firsthand how ludicrous players can be with money, this could be a real problem.

Case in point: I played with a guy who would cash his game checks. That’s right, get the check on Tuesday, drive over to the bank and get thousands of dollars in straight cash.

De Smith ICONDe Smith better have a plan for September if game checks aren't going out to the players.

What did he do with it? Put in a briefcase—under his bed.

I’m serious.

Look, I had my own bank account in eighth grade after Confirmation. Money from aunts, uncles, etc. This guy I played with? No chance. He “didn’t trust banks” as  explained in the locker room one day.

Yes, there are players who are very, very smart with the money they make in the NFL. But I still saw too many others that made countless mistakes with those big checks.

Sweet rides, big houses (even in this real estate market) and some of the worst investment advice I have ever seen.

I was approached multiple times by teammates in the locker room looking for guys to invest in the next hot thing. Boats, banks, small time companies aiming to fleece out pro athletes with false promises of massive returns on their money.

You’ve read about it before, and guys in the NFL take it for granted. Drive a car that is worth close to $100k before you drive it off of the lot? So what if it costs more than most people earn in a year, put some cash down and drive that ride to the stadium on Sundays, because you can cover the payments with your next check.

Plus, veterans have pulled guys aside in the locker room looking for an advance, some cash to get through the lean months of the offseason.

And that’s the major issue at hand. Not everyone has Peyton Manning type money in this league. In fact, no one really does, besides Manning and a select few others. Some players actually do live check to check during the season and look to survive throughout the offseason—waiting for that first payment in mid-September.

Then the cycle starts all over again. That doesn’t happen if the lockout lasts into September. Games lost means money lost in the player's pockets.

The owners? They can survive it. And I can attest to that after attending Mr. Snyder’s holiday party out at his house in Maryland when I was playing for the Redskins. He is doing just fine. Sure, lost games would sting his bottom line, but it is not even close to burying him.

As I have said before here at the NFP, I want to see the players win. This league is too hard on you mentally and physically to give anything up to management before they kick you out the back door. Get as much as you can and don't back down. That’s my motto for the players.

But if the NFL lockout lasts into September, it is going to be hard to fight when the players get cut off from the payroll department.

Follow me on Twitter: MattBowen41

NFP's Introduction to Scouting Class is now registering for the summer session! Discounted pricing until April 14th! REGISTER NOW!

NFP Inside Content. All Season.