AVERAGE CAREER LENGTH

Commissioner Roger Goodell clarified a myth about the average career length of an NFL player during a recent conference call

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What is average NFL player's career length? Longer than you might think, Commissioner Goodell says

Commissioner Roger Goodell clarified a myth about the average career length of an NFL player during a recent conference call with season ticket holders of the San Diego Chargers.

One fan on the conference call said she has read many times that the average career length of an NFL player is about three years, adding it seemed so many played much longer than that. She asked Commissioner Goodell about his knowledge of NFL career length.

"There is a little bit of a misrepresentation or a misunderstanding on that.  Frequently, it is said that the average career is about 3.5 years.  In fact, if a player makes an opening day roster, his career is very close to six years," Commissioner Goodell said. "If you are a first-round draft choice, the average career is close to nine years.  That 3.5-year average is really a misrepresentation.  What it adds is a lot of players who don't make an NFL roster and it brings down the average."

According to a recent NFL Management Council analysis of players who entered the NFL between 1993 and 2002, the average career length for a player who is on his club's opening-day roster as a rookie is 6.0 years.

That 6.0 average is 88 percent higher than NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith's recent claim.

"The fundamental principle of our business model necessarily includes that every player only plays for an average of 3.2 years," Smith said in a March 31 forum with MBA students at the University of Virginia.

Following are the facts from the career-length analysis (using regular-season and postseason rosters):

•       The average career length for a player who makes a club's opening-day roster (active/inactive roster or injured reserve) in his rookie season is 6.0 years.

•       The average career length for a player with at least three pension-credited seasons* is 7.1 years (*a player receives a pension credit for each season in which he spends at least three games on an active/inactive roster and/or injured reserve).

•       The average career length for a first-round draft pick is 9.3 years.

•       The average career length for a player who is selected for or plays in at least one Pro Bowl is 11.7 years.  Of the 318 players who began careers between 1993 and 2002 and made the Pro Bowl at least once, 113 of those players – 36 percent – were on a club's roster in 2010.

•       There are 288 players who began their careers between 1993-2002 who were on a club's roster in 2010.

(Please see link below for complete list)

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