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Volume 20 No. 42
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Dave Pear, author and former NFL player

Dave Pear, 60, picks up the phone, and when asked how he is doing, he replies, “Not so good.” Pear is the author of, the popular blog among NFL retirees that largely takes the league office to task on matters of former players. Pear has had 15 surgeries since he retired more than 30 years ago. While he has both a Super Bowl ring and a Pro Bowl to his name, his efforts now focus on the blog, through which he’s documented his own attempts to get disability support from the NFL despite what he says is $600,000 he has spent on medical bills.

The problem is you can’t make the game safer; it is a dangerous business. At some time, the NFL is going to have to be honest with parents that getting hit in the head causes brain damage.

Dave Pear in 2008 at the Gridiron Greats news conference and in 1979 with the Oakland Raiders.
Do you watch the NFL?: Not really. I guess the thrill is gone. And I watch it just enough so I can speak about it as far as what is going on. … We were taught to hit with our heads, and if you didn’t hit with your head you weren’t going to play in the NFL.
Do you plan to watch the Super Bowl?: Just a little.

Any communications with the league?: [Commissioner] Roger Goodell called me a few years ago. … I made him listen to my grievances. I took 28 minutes to explain why I was doing what I was doing. After 28 minutes, he said, ‘Who do you think I am? God?’ I said,

‘No, Roger. You have the power to fix this mess.’”
When was that call?: 2008.
(Pear said he has not communicated directly with the league since then. The league declined to comment on Pear’s statements.)

Thoughts on the proposed concussion settlement?: It came at the start of the season so people could say it was all taken care of.
Will you opt out if it gets preliminarily approved?: How can you begin to make a decision if you don’t know the details? I rely on my lawyer, Jason Luckasevic, to help guide me through this, and he thinks it stinks. And it does.

— Daniel Kaplan