NEW YORK - The executive director of the NFL coaches association is upset with the way the league has handled a change in assistant coaches' leaguewide pension plan.
The owners voted in March to make the pension, the 401K, and the current supplemental retirement plan non-mandatory for the clubs.
"We're most miffed that this happened with absolutely no advanced warning and that they were even discussing it," Larry Kennan told The Associated Press in a phone interview Sunday. "If you ask any of the owners, coaches are really important to them. But we weren't important enough to keep in the loop. Tell us four or five months ago that we're thinking about that."
The change in the pension led to the retirement of longtime Indianapolis Colts coaches last week Tom Moore, the only offensive coordinator Peyton Manning has had, and offensive line coach Howard Mudd.
"Howard and Tom are doing this strictly because of the pension," Kennan said, shooting down reports that the retirements were tied to other issues.
According to Kennan nine teams - Arizona, Atlanta, Buffalo, Dallas, Houston, Jacksonville, New England, New Orleans, and San Francisco - have opted out of the program. Others may do so over the next few years.
All NFL coaches have already signed their contracts for the upcoming season, so no immediate recourse was available to Moore and Mudd.
"Maybe had we known those nine teams had opted out we wouldn't have signed with one of them," Kennan said. "We felt really, really disrespected and betrayed."
There has been renewed talk of the coaches forming a union. The NFL has in the past threatened to fire all coaches who joined a union.
"That's generally what has been said at different times when we brought it up," Kennan said. "We don't have a lot of options.
"Having a pension is a big deal. A lot of coaches are in the NFL instead of college because of the wonderful pension we have. For them to change it dramatically without any advanced warning is wrong."
There has been speculation the league opted to change the pension plan requirements as an offshoot of the owners opting out of the collective bargaining agreement with the players. Several coaches believe it is part of the league's overall strategy for negotiating a new CBA.