The Critical 'I'

Read. React. Repeat.

Monday, January 12, 2004

not for long
Everybody knows that professional athletes have it made. We all read about the multi-million dollar contracts they get for playing a kid's game. With money like that, they're set for life.

Or not. When the average NFL career lasts only three-and-a-half years, the majority of players have to start over in the workforce in their mid-20s or later.

Yeah yeah, I realize it's hard to feel sorry for some lunkhead who was making a 6- or 7-digit salary right out of college and couldn't manage to save any of it. Not to mention the free ride to college and at least the opportunity for a degree. But when you're set on a career path at a very early age, usually before your teens, and find it over before it's really started, it's jarring for anyone.

"Careers are what doctors have, what lawyers have," [former Buccaneers offensive lineman Jorge] Diaz said. "The NFL is just an opportunity to make a lot of money in a short period of time. Then what? You're left to figure it out on your own."