The NFL Is Failing Its Athletes | Derrick Ward Is A Cautionary Tale

Disclaimer: a professional sports career does not mean financial security.

Although that is the ultimate goal when given the privilege to play sports on the highest levels, there is a difference between making and investing a lot of money. The prior might have assisted former NFL running back and Super Bowl champion Derrick Ward, who recently was arrested in connection with robberies at businesses in the Los Angeles area, per reports.

According to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, Derrick Ward was arrested Monday night. He was being held on $250,000 bond and accused of being involved in multiple robberies of several businesses, including gas stations across the city, and using force to get the money.

From NFL To Robbery

To be clear: the NFL has programs for athletes that are in need. The NFL Player Care Foundation (PCF) is an independent organization dedicated to helping retired players improve their quality of life. PCF addresses all aspects of life by providing programs and assistance with medical, emotional, financial, social, and community issues.

In 2015, Sports Illustrated estimated that 80 percent of retired NFL players go broke in their first three years out of the League.

There is no reason to believe that the PCF is a band-aid that fits all post-NFL problems. However, with the profile and reported incomes associated with playing professional football, what would make an ex-NFL player rob establishments is an enigma.

Ward, a native Los Angeleno, attended high school in the Inland Empire of Southern California Valley View High School in Moreno Valley. Now a 43-year-old, he started his pro career as a seventh-round pick of the New York Jets in the 2004 draft out of Fresno State and later Ottawa University in Kansas. He was cut by the Jets before he played a game. He played for the Giants, where he won a Super Bowl, breaking Tom Brady and the Patriots undefeated 2007 season.

During his eight NFL seasons, Ward also played for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Houston Texans, playing in 93 NFL games, rushing for 2,628 yards, and scoring 12 touchdowns.

The details of why Derrick Ward did whatever he is being accused of by the Los Angeles Police Department are unclear. However, because NFL players have a high risk of a challenging transition outside of football, Ward is the new cautionary tale.

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