Don Taylor, a running back for the B.C. Lions from 1978 to 1984, is now an investment banker at TD Waterhouse Canada Inc.
But other former Canadian Football League players haven't fared so well once their playing days are over. Chemical abuse, chronic pain and other problems make it difficult for some former players to work. Every week something comes up, said Mr. Taylor, now president of the B.C. Lions' Alumni Association, based in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Now Mr. Taylor is working to change government pension regulations so interest on C$11 million (US$10.9 million) in unclaimed pension benefits could be put to work in a dire need fund to help former players make the transition into other careers. He says the league has lost touch with 1,500 former players who haven't claimed their pensions, another issue that needs to be addressed.
Mr. Taylor agrees with a comparison between his efforts and those of former Chicago Bears coach Mike Ditka, who lobbied for better ex-player benefits and helped persuade Congress last fall to direct the National Football League and its union to improve its pension and medical benefits.
As with the NFL, tales of down-and-out former CFL players are too common and damage the league's image, Mr. Taylor said. I don't think it's good for anybody.
However, other CFL Players Association administrators, while agreeing the league should help players in need, question whether Mr. Taylor's funding proposal would be legal, given the plan is defined contribution and the assets belong to individual players.