To Pear's shock and dismay, benefits were again denied.
Finally, in 2009, Pear's request was accepted, and he now receives a whopping $40,000 annually. "Am I financially stable?" he asks with a laugh. "Let's put it this way. By the time I was 27 I had two children and medical bills that would reach $500,000. I can't work, my wife,Heidi, has had to hold two and sometimes three different jobs at the same time. And why? Because the NFL hasn't allowed me and my family to receiver proper benefits."
Pear pauses. He worries that he sounds like a typical whiner -- some ex-jock who didn't appreciate making it big. "This isn't even about me," he says. "It really isn't. There are guys so much worse off than me, it's criminal. We dreamed our whole lives to play professional football, and our dreams came true. And then they turn into nightmares."