Average NFL salary up 18.5 percent, to $422,149

NFL players' salaries increased more than 18 percent this year, with veteran quarterbacks and untested rookies getting big money, according to a survey by the players' association.

The average player earned $422,149 in 1991, an all-time high, said the NFL Players Association's annual salary survey, reported yesterday by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.


That is 18.5 percent higher than the 1990 average salary of $356,382 and 41 percent higher than the 1989 average of $299,616.

The survey also showed 83 players -- 29 of whom are quarterbacks -- averaging $1 million or more per year in 1991, and 11 players with contracts worth at least $2 million annually.


A source confirmed to The Associated Press that the figures were accurate.

The average compensation, base salary plus bonuses, for an NFL quarterback this year was $856,000, the newspaper said. New contracts or contract extensions were signed this year by Dan Marino of the Miami Dolphins, Steve DeBerg of the Kansas City Chiefs, Chris Miller of the Atlanta Falcons, Bobby Hebert of the New Orleans Saints, Jeff Hostetler of the New York Giants and Steve Young of the San Francisco 49ers.

The second-largest highly paid group were defensive linemen, with 18 holding contracts worth more than $1 million.

Six 1991 first-round draft picks were among the players averaging $1 million per year, the survey found.

In 1990, 56 players had contracts worth $1 million, and eight had contracts worth $2 million.

* LIONS: Starting wide receiver Robert Clark pulled a hamstring during yesterday morning's walk-through practice. Clark is Detroit's second-leading receiver, with 47 catches for 640 yards and six touchdowns.

* DOLPHINS: Quarterback Dan Marino underwent successful arthroscopic surgery to remove loose cartilage from his left knee, the team said. The surgery was performed by Dr. Daniel Kanell at Holy Cross Hospital in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and was "routine," Miami media relations director Harvey Greene said.

The surgery was done to clean up Marino's knee and not as a result of a specific injury, and was "more preventive than anything else," Greene said.