Davis tackles tough subject with Goodell

January, 31, 2014
Jan 31
6:10
PM ET
Vernon Davis put on his reporter’s hat Friday when he asked NFL commissioner Roger Goodell a question during his annual news conference.

The San Francisco 49ers tight end hit a hot-button topic when he asked about why former players don’t receive health insurance for life from the NFL. Here is the exchange:

Davis
Davis: "Roger, we play one of America’s most dangerous and most lucrative games, but, still, we have to fight for health benefits. We have to jump through [hoops] for it. Why doesn’t the NFL offer free health care for life, especially for those suffering from brain injury?"

Goodell: "Vernon, first off, we had lots of discussions about that in the collective bargaining process. We went back and improved a lot of our health benefits, both for former players and for current players, to the point where I think the health benefits that are provided to current NFL players are the best in the world. And so I’m proud of what we’ve been able to do with the union in approving those benefits.

"We all still have a lot of work to do for former players. The cost of trying to provide health care for every player that’s ever played in the league was discussed with the union. It was determined that these changes were the best changes, and that’s what we negotiated. But we’re all proud of the efforts that we made. We will continue to make more efforts and do a better job, particularly with our former players, in providing them opportunities and to give them the proper health care. And our programs -- as an example, the '88 Plan' for anyone who has dementia or any other kind of neurological disorder -- that’s there for the players and their families for lifetime. So we have programs that are addressing those issues that we have created, or the owners have created, on their own. And we also have several of them that were created with the union."

In other 49ers notes:

• Backup offensive lineman Daniel Kilgore was arrested for public intoxication in his Tennessee hometown last weekend. Kilgore is a candidate to start at center in 2014.

• Quarterback Colin Kaepernick participated in a long interview on ESPN’s Bill Simmons' "B.S. Report."

Bill Williamson | email

ESPN San Francisco 49ers reporter

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