Michael Haynes’ credentials alone should give the former New England Patriot and Oakland Raider defensive back street cred. But times are different today, Haynes told the Pro Football Hall of Fame Luncheon Club during Monday’s meeting at Tozzi’s on 12th.

He is enshrined in the Pro Football College Hall of Fame and the College Football Hall of Fame.

Michael Haynes’ credentials alone should give the former New England Patriot and Oakland Raider defensive back street cred.

But times are different today, Haynes told the Pro Football Hall of Fame Luncheon Club during Monday’s meeting at Tozzi’s on 12th.

When Haynes was a first-round draft pick in 1976, he said he got a $100,000 signing bonus.

“I signed a three-year contract,” the nine-time Pro Bowler said. “My first year was $45,000, my last was $66,000.

“That’s chump change now. First-rounders get $10 million signing bonuses, $2-3 million salaries.”

Haynes spoke eloquently -- and without jealousy -- about his playing days and of his day job as the NFL’s vice president of player and employee development.

“The challenges I have now are nothing like the challenges I had,” said Haynes, who deals with player conduct issues. “A guy’s wristwatch is more than I paid for my mom’s house. You really have to get a guy’s attention.”

That isn’t easy. Haynes is 54, and most of today’s players are in their 20s. He said everybody is a product of their generation.

Haynes talked about his college coach, Arizona State’s legendary tough man Frank Kush, and how you did it Kush’s way or hit the desert highway.

“That doesn’t work anymore. Kids today want to collaborate, they want to meet and talk about situations,” he said. “They want to have a say in their decisions.”

And when Haynes’ asks them about finishing college after football or continuing to work in the game?

“They say, ‘Hey, old dude, I got it handled,’” Haynes said to much laughter.

He said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is doing a good job of disciplining the troublemakers. Haynes also said that the league has proof that players who don’t finish college “are the guys who got in trouble off the field.”

“But guys 21 don’t want to see a counselor,” Haynes said. “I like what (Goodell) is doing. He’s done a tremendous job adding to what we can do in our jobs.”

Reach Canton Repository sports writer Jim Thomas at (330) 580-8336 or jim.thomas@cantonrep.com.