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Larry Kennan Speaks About Pension Retirement

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Larry Kennan Speaks About NFL Coaches’ Pension, Retirement

Larry Kennan’s dealing with a bit of a flame war right now; that’s natural considering that when you make relatively unannounced changes to a particular group of folks’ pension plan, well, they’re going to tend to get upset. Or retire, in the case of Colts’ offensive coordinator Tom Moore and Howard Mudd. So the Executive Director of the NFL Coaches Association got on the horn recently to talk about what sort of plan will be in place to prevent coaches from getting blindsided in the future about the changes in the pension plan, what Moore, Mudd, etc., know about the future of the plan and whether this is a direct attack on the Colts or not.

On preventing anything like this from ever happening again and how the coaches found out about the pension changes:

“Number one, if everybody has there pension funded then people can get their lump sums and it becomes a non-issue.   The pension’s been a really wonderful pension, we totally have appreciated it and the issue in the beginning was, all of the sudden, they decided that teams could opt out and it created a big stir because there was a lot of misinformation and, as you might expect, the coaches felt completely disrespected because all of the sudden we’re supposed to be managers and supervisors and a valuable part of the game, but nobody even mentioned to us, “Oh by the way, we’re gonna change your pensions as you know it over the next two or three years.”  It obviously didn’t sit well with us because at least you can lie to us.  Four or five months ago they could’ve said, “Look, we’re looking into making these changes because of the economy and here’s what we’re thinking about doing.  We just want to keep you in the loop.”  Now, we wouldn’t have liked it any better, but at least we would’ve felt ok, at least they asked us about it.  But in this case they just did it and then didn’t even tell us they’d done it, we just happened to find out.”

On how Mudd and Moore are feeling and what they’re thinking since all this has happened:

“They’re a little nervous about talking about it because they don’t know what’s going on any more than you or I do.  They probably know a little bit more, but they’re in an awkward position because they’ve taken a stand because of some principles, and if you know those guys you know they’re strong, principled guys and they felt like they got severely disrespected.  They felt like there are some holes in the pension plan that wouldn’t allow them, if they waited until next year, to retire to take their lump sum, and it was very frustrating because they had trouble getting answers from anybody about what was right and what was wrong, what was correct and what was incorrect.  Then in the middle of all those thoughts, the NFL just changes the pension as we know it and that put them over the edge, so they said they’re gonna retire.  Neither one of them wanted to do it, but they would both do it as a principle thing, they’re that kind of guys.”

On where the anger over this issue is focused:

“We’re not picking on the Colts here.  Jimmy Irsay is a quality guy and Bill Polian is also.  This isn’t an issue with the Colts, this is an issue with the league and the pension, the entire pension over the years and it’s a result of what they recently did by changing our pension.  It’s not about the Colts.”

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