Covering Your Assets

FAYETTEVILLE — Darren McFadden has insurance, but it's not limited to his customized car with the 26-inch rims

He has insured his body, as well. McFadden is a Heisman Trophy candidate with the potential to be the first overall pick in the 2008 NFL Draft. So naturally, he wanted to protect himself against any career-ending injuries.

"I guess it is a weird thought taking insurance out (on your body), but it's something that's useful and helpful," McFadden said Monday during Arkansas' Media Days.

McFadden has taken out an insurance policy through Lloyd's of London, but he won't collect on it unless he suffers a serious injury that prevents him from playing in the NFL.

It's a precaution that a number of top college football players have taken for nearly 20 years.

Former Arkansas offensive guard Shawn Andrews had an insurance policy on his body during his final season with the Razorbacks in 2003.

Wide receiver Marcus Monk, fullback Peyton Hillis and defensive tackle Marcus Harrison are among several current Arkansas players who have spoken with UA compliance director Marvin Caston about getting insurance for this upcoming season.

And running back Felix Jones said he plans to take out insurance on himself before Arkansas' season opener against Troy University on Sept. 1.

"I'm looking forward to getting that done real soon," said Jones, who like McFadden will be eligible to leave Arkansas after this season for the NFL.

"(There) is a lot of risk out there on the football field; you just want to take caution for it."

Any Arkansas player who feels he has a chance of making the NFL can take out insurance on his body, though an individual usually won't do so until his junior season.

Several insurance companies cover college football players against serious injuries. Arkansas uses Lloyd's of London. The NCAA also offers insurance, though it doesn't cover a player against off-field injuries. Lloyd's of London does.

"Everybody that could be qualified for the NFL needs to (take out insurance) because it's not fair if you're good enough and you get hurt — something you cannot control — then you lose the money for you in the future," Hillis said.

Hillis, who is rated the No. 1 NFL fullback prospect for 2008 by ESPN draft expert Mel Kiper Jr., said he took out an insurance policy in the spring of 2006.

Only a few months later, Hillis suffered a deep thigh bruise that forced him to miss the final four games of last season, and caused him to walk with a limp for weeks.

"Football has always been a sport that a lot of guys that were really great got hurt in college and never could go to the next level," Hillis said. "It doesn't matter how good you are, a simple injury can ruin you for the rest of your life."

Before a player gets insurance, an insurance representative will speak with NFL general managers to try to determine where that particular player is projected to go in the next NFL Draft. With that information, the representative will figure out how much insurance a player qualifies for.

A top pick — like perhaps McFadden — is eligible for the maximum insurance policy that pays out $10 million if that player suffers a serious injury that prevents him from playing pro football. The minimum insurance policy is around $100,000 or less, Caston said.

Banks will take a chance and pay a player's insurance premium, ranging anywhere from $12,000 to $150,000. The idea is that the player will pay the money back with the signing bonus he gets after being drafted.

"It's an insurance that most these guys are never going to use," Caston said.

Caston said this year he's seen more Arkansas players take out insurance policies than he can recall in the past. That's perhaps because the Razorbacks have several players who have the potential to be high draft picks in 2008.

"It eases everybody's mind and gives (a player) a chance to have a little security if something happens, Heaven forbid, with an injury," Arkansas coach Houston Nutt said.

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