Antrel Rolle may not be a household name, but he has been a Pro Bowl safety in the NFL.  This past year he joined the Chicago Bears and his season ended when he tore the medial collateral ligament in his knee while at practice in Lake Forest.

On Sunday, Rolle was cut from the Bears after they drafted two safeties.  He’s 34 and while he’s hopeful that he’ll be able to catch on with another team, it’s likely that his career is over.

If you follow the NFL, you probably noticed that some star college players dropped in the draft due to injury concern.  Rolle is in a similar boat as his most recent knee injury, along with an ankle injury which kept him out of two games, has likely zapped him of some speed.

Rolle, like every NFL player who has played their last game, should immediately file for workers’ compensation benefits.  While he is not totally disabled from working, he is disabled from playing football.  Assuming he can’t get a job making near the $4 million he was paid last year, he would be entitled to a weekly wage differential payment until he is 65 years old which would be around $70,000.00 a year, tax free.

Even if he makes another team, he likely would have to take a pay cut and would get the wage differential payment as well.  It may seem crazy to some that a millionaire athlete would get this payment, but he’s an Illinois employee like you and me and is entitled to the protections of the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act.

By filing now he can also get future medical treatment which would be especially important if he had a concussion or developed problems from head injuries at a later date.  The NFL does not have the best post retirement medical care for its players and a work comp claim would allow Rolle to avoid the red tape of getting to see a doctor and having the NFL pay for it.

Even if Rolle is 100% healthy and able to get a job with a new team that pays him as much as the Bears did, he should still file a claim.  At the very least his knee injury has value somewhere in the five figures.

I don’t represent Antrel Rolle although we’ve worked with a bunch of athletes in the past.  Hopefully he has somebody good who is advising him. If not, like many former NFL players I’ve talked to, he’s probably leaving a ton of money on the table and risking his future health.