NFLPA lockout fund payments will begin April 15

On the day many Americans cringe going to the mailbox to fire off their income tax returns if they owe their Uncle Sam some money, NFL players can begin going to mailbox to look for some help.

Payments to players in need from a lockout fund will begin from the NFLPA on April 15, according to Jason La Canfora of NFL.com. The maximum any player can receive is $60,000, and that is for players who were on a 53-man roster for the entirety of the last two seasons. Payments would come in six increments.

Per La Canfora the e-mail sent to players is as follows:

“We are e-mailing you to inform you that the NFLPA Board of Player Directors approved the payout from the Lockout Fund to begin on April 15, in six installments or until the lockout ends. In order to start receiving your payments, please fill out the attached direct deposit enrollment form and return it to us with a voided check from your checking account or bank letter verifying the account information. We will e-mail you at the address that you provide on the form when payments are sent to your bank account.

"Please note that any other future payments that you may receive from the NFLPA or NFL PLAYERS Inc (for example player marketing deals or royalty payments) will be deposited into this account and you will be notified via email of the deposit."

What’s not clear is exactly what criteria the NFLPA will use in determining who receives money and how much. Typically, players are not being paid this time of year with the exception of very small stipends they receive for participating in offseason workout programs. I’ve seen players literally throw those checks in the back of their lockers. They don’t trash them, but there’s no urgency to stash them in the bank either.

Of course, the players hoping to cash in as free agents earlier this month might have been counting on signing bonuses. But the NFLPA was diligent in warning players this was coming. No one can be surprised as players typically receive 17 checks in season -- one for each game week and the bye.

Follow me on Twitter: @BradBiggs

Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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