Retired NFL players are wealthy…

By Jeff Nixon, Former NFL Player
Updated: July 27, 2011

BUFFALO, NY—This past weekend I took some time off work to attend the Upstate NY NFL Alumni Charity Golf Tournament in Albany, New York. The President of the Chapter, Tim Sherwin was our gracious host and did a wonderful job making everyone feel right at home. The event raised money for the local YMCA and continued the proud tradition of the NFL Alumni’s mission of “Caring for Kids”.

There has also been a lot of focus on the NFL Alumni’s newest mission of advocating for retired players, but while we are building that new foundation, we must never forget that the heart and soul of our organization is on full display when we help others less fortunate than ourselves.

On the train ride home, I had a chance to think about all the people I saw at this event. Men that gave of themselves. Former players like Earl Morrall, Ben Davidson, Robert Newhouse, Billy Ray Barnes, Emerson Boozer, Bruce Laird, Greg Lloyd, Bob and Karl Swanke, Joe Pagliei, Jim Rourke, and many more. I also met several volunteers that did so much to make the weekend an enjoyable experience.

Every once in a while we need a little R&R to reflect on what is most important in life: Our family, our friends, our health and our wealth.

That last one may cause a few retired players scratch their heads and ask the question “What is Jeff smoking? – some of us don’t even have a liveable pension!”

I assure you I’m not high on anything but life……..and living a full and meaningful one should not be measured by the amount of money you have in your bank account.

If we could have a perfect ending to our earthly lives, I would imagine that it might look something like this: We are laying in a soft comfortable bed in our own home with all our family and friends surrounding us – helping us make the transition to an everlasting life where all the pain and worries of the world will soon be gone.

But, in that hour just before our death, what will you be thinking about? The material wealth you accumulated? Of course not. You will be thinking about what you did in life to cause all these people to be at your side in your final hour of need. You will not be thinking about the things you “got” in life, you will be thinking about the things you “gave” in life.

It’s not just a meaningless saying. It really is “better to give…..then to receive”.

We all have a limited amount of time on this planet…..so while we are here, let’s do everything we can to share the spirit of giving that resides in each of us.

From time to time we also need to examine our motives in life.

The political games, the big egos, selfish pride, greed, envy and hatred all need to be washed away and continually replaced with the best qualities that our creator admires…..and rewards. We may not always see the rewards on this plane of existence, but they are waiting for those that have run the good race and have finally crossed the goal line.

Sometimes we get so caught up in our own little worlds that we neglect the people that are closest to us. When that happens, we often miss the chance to say something, or do something, or give something to the ones we love and cherish. Unfortunately, in some cases the opportunity to do so, may never present itself again.

The next time you see them, give your friends, your wives, your children, your parents, your brothers and sisters and your former teammates something that money can’t buy.

That will make you a wealthy man.

Wealth is the ability to fully experience life”Henry David Thoreau