NFL: Agents busy advising players on health benefits and money issues

INDIANAPOLIS - Colts linebacker Gary Brackett promises to be ready for the start of next season - whenever it is.

He also wants to be smart in these uncertain times.

Indianapolis' 30-year-old defensive captain, like his NFL brethren, is preparing for a potential lockout when the collective bargaining agreement expires at the end of Thursday. The best way to do that, it seems, is heeding the advice the players' union has been offering for more than a year - take care of your medical insurance and finances.

Brackett isn't the only player trying to figure out solutions, which is why agents are now playing a new role for their clients.

"We're advising players on COBRA insurance to anything that involves finances to the football side of it," said Ben Dogra, who represents Minnesota's Adrian Peterson and St. Louis' Sam Bradford. "It's literally everything."

None of the answers are simple.

Most agents are now talking frequently about COBRA coverage, which one agent estimates will cost players $800 to $900 per month to cover their families. Some are advising clients to take out additional medical policies or disability insurance.

Agent Brian Mackler, who represents Jets linebacker David Harris, said most of his clients now have policies with Lloyds of London, and he's reminding those who are 26 years old or younger that the new federal health care law allows them to sign up on their parents' medical plans, too.

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