Ed O’Neil left the N.F.L. four decades ago, and over the years he has spent less and less time following professional football. He joined the league in 1974 as a first-round draft pick of the Detroit Lions, and he learned last week that as part of the new, 10-year collective bargaining agreement, he and thousands of other former players will get bumps in their pensions. For O’Neil, who is 67 and began drawing on his pension three years ago, that could mean about $1,400 more per month.
But O’Neil, a retired football coach, is not celebrating. His son, Keith, a former linebacker who played four years with the Dallas Cowboys and the Indianapolis Colts, will see his N.F.L. disability payments decline, another provision of the new labor deal that stipulates that next year about 400 former players on total and permanent disability will see the amount they receive decline by the value of their Social Security disability benefits. Keith O’Neil, who received a diagnosis of bipolar disorder with psychotic episodes in 2010, will get $2,339 less per month.