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How many years in the NFL is considered a veteran?

BR4DSH4W : 9/5/2011 10:11 pm
Had this argument with a friend, curious of what you guys think.

To be specific, my friend is saying Hixon is a veteran WR.
More than your rookie year?  
Cam in MO : 9/5/2011 10:12 pm : link
I didn't know this was an argument?

by NFL standards  
5J : 9/5/2011 10:12 pm : link
i believe hixon is a vet. i'd say 3 years
pjcas18 : 9/5/2011 10:16 pm : link
was drafted in 2006. I don't know what the actual definition is, but he's a veteran.
2nd contract  
Nitro : 9/5/2011 10:16 pm : link
Seriously? 2nd contract?  
Cam in MO : 9/5/2011 10:18 pm : link
So what are the years between rookie and 2nd contract?

Technically, once you are past your rookie year, you are a vet.

3rd year  
NewYorkGiants : 9/5/2011 10:19 pm : link
This is at  
pjcas18 : 9/5/2011 10:23 pm : link
least Hixon's 2nd contract.
I think you can consider anyone who has spent  
j_rud : 9/5/2011 10:24 pm : link
a full 16 game season on an active roster a veteran. For a lot of guys thats just their second year in the league but others bounce between teams and practice squads for a few seasons before catching on.
I think based on the new CBA  
HucH : 9/5/2011 10:42 pm : link
it's after 4 seasons. What constitutes a full season, I'm not sure.
Several years ago, I know to be eligible for the retirement  
carpoon : 9/5/2011 10:46 pm : link
benefits, you qualified if you spent at least 4 years on a roster.
when they talk about bringing a 'veteran presence'  
Nitro : 9/5/2011 10:50 pm : link
they don't mean second year guys.
According to the CBA  
pjcas18 : 9/5/2011 10:51 pm : link
a veteran is any player who has signed at least one player contract with an NFL team.

Veteran means a player who has signed at least one Player Contract with an NFL Club.

The entire CBA is available for your review here
NFL CBA 2011 - 2020 - ( New Window )
I guess the term "veteran" needs to be defined.  
Cam in MO : 9/5/2011 10:52 pm : link

I agree, it's vague, but  
pjcas18 : 9/5/2011 10:54 pm : link
in the terms of the OP, Hixon is definitely a veteran. He was drafted in 2006, is on his second contract and played in 3 seasons and was on IR for one.

Exit 172 : 9/5/2011 10:55 pm : link
I can't believe people don't know what a veteran is in the NFL.

Wait...yes, I can.
pjcas18 : 9/5/2011 11:02 pm : link
you know the actual definition.
pjcas18 is right about the CBA definition.  
Big Blue Blogger : 9/6/2011 2:58 am : link
Per Article 1,
"Veteran means a player who has signed at least one Player Contract with an NFL Club.

The practical significance of this definition is pretty limited; for example, it determines whether a player's contract counts toward the Rookie Compensation Pool. Under this definition, Jake Ballard and Victor Cruz are both "veterans", although Ballard is also a first-year player and Cruz has never dressed for a regular season game.

The more common, colloquial definition of a veteran is a player with at least one year of credited NFL experience. shows an "Experience" number greater than 1 for such players. (Rookies have a 0; first-year players like Ballard have a 1.) Even here, things get a bit murky. By this test, Ballard is still a first-year player (though not a rookie) because he was not on full-pay status for at least six games in 2010 and therefore did not earn a credited year. Cruz is considered a second-year player because he earned a credited season on IR. Confusingly, Ballard has less credited experience than Cruz, although Ballard actually played last year and Cruz didn't.

Another important category, formerly known as "vested veterans" comprises players with at least four credited seasons. They are eligible for unrestricted free agency, full termination pay and other privileges. The term "vested vet" has fallen out of use, probably because the vesting requirements for the retirement plan have become more complex.

With regard to Domenik Hixon, it makes absolutely no difference which definition you use. He has five credited seasons, including his IR year in 2010. He's a veteran no matter how you slice it.
BTW, Hixon's rookie year points to another complexity.  
Big Blue Blogger : 9/6/2011 3:10 am : link
He spent 2006 on Denver's "Reserve - Non-Football Injury" list. I think he earned a credited season anyway.
It seems there are only two choices: rookie or veteran  
Marty in Albany : 9/6/2011 9:27 am : link
Of course veterans can make "rookie mistakes" and rookies can "play like veterans."
Aaron Ross  
David : 9/6/2011 10:02 am : link
was an NFL veteran during his senior year at Texas I believe.
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