NFL Hall of Famer: We're fighting for health benefits, pay for all ex-players

  • Eric Dickerson is threatening a boycott of the NFL Hall of Fame induction ceremonies unless Hall of Fame members get health insurance and an annual salary.
  • He tells CNBC the initial request is for Hall of Famers because of their name recognition.
  • However, he said he is fighting for all players.

Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson is making waves with his latest play: threatening a boycott of the Hall of Fame induction ceremonies unless Hall of Fame members get health insurance and an annual salary.

Dickerson recently sent a letter to that effect to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, the NFL Players League executive director and the Pro Football Hall of Fame president.

On Thursday, the former Los Angeles Rams and Indianapolis Colts running back told CNBC the initial request is for Hall of Famers because of their name recognition. However, he said, he is fighting for all players.

"We're not trying to leave any of our brothers behind," Dickerson said on "Power Lunch." "I want health benefits for every player that ever played in the National Football League."

The letter, obtained by ESPN earlier this week, has generated some controversy.

It was signed by Dickerson on behalf of the Hall of Fame Board and listed 21 members, including Lawrence Taylor and Marcus Allen. However, it also included John Randle, Jerry Rice and Kurt Warner – who have all distanced themselves from the letter.

Dickerson admitted his mistake in including Rice and Warner, who he said supported the cause but are not board members.

In the letter and in an interview with CNBC, Dickerson targeted Goodell's estimated $40 million annual salary.

"Meanwhile, many of us Hall of Fame players can't walk and many can't sleep at night. More than a few of us don't even know who or where we are. Our long careers left us especially vulnerable to the dangers of this violent sport, especially those intentionally hidden from us," he wrote.

While Dickerson did not state a specific salary request in the letter, he recently told TMZ he thinks they should get about $300,000 a year.

He argues the health benefits and pay are a drop in the bucket for the NFL, which he said in 2017 generated $14 billion in revenue.

He also compared the NFL with Major League Baseball, which gives its players health insurance for the rest of their lives.

The NFL did not immediately return a request for comment.

The league does offer some players five years of medical, dental and prescription drug coverage, up to $5,250 in reimbursement for some joint replacement surgery, two free visits with a psychiatrist and preferred access to top-tier neurological treatment providers. Players also have a pension.

Dickerson said that's not enough.

"Take care of the guys that have made the game as great as it is," he said.