Best of AP — Honorable Mention


NFL disability program leaves retired Saints tight end hurting and angry


Denver-based national sportswriter Eddie Pells was tipped by a source to the names of a handful of former NFL players struggling to get treatment for injuries sustained while playing. One was former Saints tight end Boo Williams. When Pells contacted Williams, it led to a wide-ranging discussion of his chronic pain and frustration in dealing with the league’s disability program for retirees. Williams shared medical reports, brain scans, neurological exams and rejection letters from his applications for benefits. After several weeks of going back and forth, Pells was able to determine that Williams had finally been approved for benefits earlier this year, but the $5,000 a month he was receiving was potentially less than half of what he should be receiving. And there was a compelling case that he really should have been receiving benefits dating to 2009. The story, accompanied by video by New Orleans-based video journalist Stephen Smith and photos by freelancer Christiana Botic and presentation on Kii Sato, scored well with customers, with 39,000 views of APNews, among the highest-ranked NFL stories of the week.

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