Herb Adderley makes his way out of the tunnel at Lambeau Field this past December. Raymond T. Rivard photograph

Former Green Bay Packer Herb Adderley goes off on Drew Brees

Herb Adderley is helped out of a wheelchair before walking onto Lambeau Field this past December.
Raymond T. Rivard photograph

Not sure if you had a chance to see this, but former Green Bay Packers cornerback Herb Adderley’s comments surely illustrates why there is a major disconnect between NFL alumni players and those part of the game today.

Adderley was a guest on SiriusXM’s Mad Dog Radio channel with host Chris Russo Monday and was asked about Drew Brees’s comments made about the financial situations of former players.

Russo read this quote from Brees: “There’s some guys out there that have made bad business decisions. They took their pensions early because they never went out and got a job. They’ve had a couple divorces and they’re making payments to this place and that place and that’s why they don’t have money. And they’re coming to us to basically say, ‘Please make up for my bad judgment.’ ”

Adderley, a Hall of Fame cornerback who earned a handful of Super Bowl Championship rings during his time as a players, had this response: “Drew Brees is misinformed and he had no idea what was going on as far as why,” Adderley said. “He never came to any of the guys and said, ‘Well, why did you have to take early pension?’ He just made up his own mind about why some guys were in bad shape financially. And he just came out and made statements like that. And in my mind, Drew Brees is one of the greediest guys, and misinformed guys, in the NFL today. Last year he held out because he wanted more money. The guy’s already made millions and millions and millions of dollars, but he’s going to hold out for more money. And then he comes down on the retired guys for just wanting a few more dollars for the time, the cornerstones, what we put in the league . . . .  And none of us retired guys are fans of Brees because of him being misinformed. I needed the money. I needed to put my daughter through school and she ended up being a very successful dentist at the particular time in Washington, D.C.  If I don’t do that, she don’t end up going to college.”

Clearly, Brees was pigeon-holing players of the past and doesn’t have a clear picture of what these former stars – the players who built the league into the multi-billion-dollar empire that it is today – have gone through. Though the players of the 1950s and 60s who are still alive today made good dollars in their day, it is nothing compared to what the players of today make.

In addition, those former players are now living with the maladies of not only growing older, but injuries suffered during the days when concussions were considered nothing more than “getting your bell rung.”

I recently had the opportunity to be on the sidelines as a photographer at the Packers vs. Vikings game at Lambeau field this past December. Adderley was one of the alumni honored by the Packers that day. When I saw Adderley being pushed up the tunnel in a wheelchair, I was saddened. Before he got to the end of the tunnel, Adderley was helped out of the chair so he could shuffle onto to Lambeau Field on his own power. You could see the immense pride of the man as he emerged from the tunnel and showered with cheers once more.

In my humble opinion, the current players association has been woefully insensitive to the needs of all these former players. Adderley is right. Greed has played a huge role in the plight of these former players and the league as well as the players association should be ashamed of their lack of support.

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Tags: Drew Brees Herb Adderley National Football League

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