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NFL scrambles to restart disability benefits after AP reporting

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Eddie Pells, Denver-based national sports writer, reported exclusively on three retired players who reached out to say that a fund jointly run by the NFL and the NFL Players Association had given out $127 million in health benefits to disabled retired players in 2019, but had gone completely dormant since March, approving no applications and not reimbursing any medical bills.

The source for the story, a former player, contacted AP because he was familiar with Pells’ previous reporting and wanted the story to have as wide an audience as possible. Within a day of getting questions from Pells, the NFL scrambled to send a letter to all applicants saying approvals would restart soon.

AP was alone with the story, which played on ESPN’s SportsCenter and was used on the crawls of all the major sports networks on a busy weekend.

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