As we launch Super Bowl week, it’s important to keep in mind that the game is what it is today because of the efforts and sacrifices of the men who came before today’s players.
A man who is getting closer to becoming one of those former players made a persuasive case for doing more for retired players from the days before players made millions on Friday’s PFT Live.
The comments from Ravens center Matt Birk, who was one of the few to publicly criticize former NFLPA executive director Gene Upshaw, came after Birk expressed support for current NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith, whose contract expires in March.
Birk’s points are valid. Even though the new CBA gives more money than ever to former players, more can still be done. Though the legal rights of the men who made the game what it is are limited to nonexistent, it’s the right thing to do.
One easy — and relatively inexpensive, for the NFL — solution would be for the league and its teams to coordinate a major public fund raising effort, via a telethon and/or donation buckets at games and/or other easy avenues for those of us who enjoy today’s game to take care of the men who gave of their bodies during a different era of medicine, technology, and safety sensitivities.This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!