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NFL study clarifies average career length

Posted Apr 18, 2011

An NFL Management Council analysis discovers the average career lasts about six years when considering players that make the opening-day roster as rookies.

SAN DIEGO – Six years.

That’s the average career length of an NFL player, according to the NFL Management Council, based on several variables.

Among players who entered the NFL between 1993 and 2002, the average career length for players on their 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.

“There is a little bit of a misrepresentation or a misunderstanding on that,” Commissioner Roger Goodell said during a conference call with Chargers season ticket holders Friday. “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.”

The average career length for a first-round draft pick is 9.3 years. The average 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 ’93 and ’02 and made the Pro Bowl at least once, 113 of those players – 36 percent – were on a club’s roster in 2010.

A more detailed explanation of the NFL Management Council’s findings can be found here.
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