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Not So Super Bowl


Maxman
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Great Article...

The NFL really needs to take a look at of these pension and disability cases more closely.

What happened to Andre Waters could very well have happened to Al Toon.

It is appaling that the league would in some cases just turn their backs on guys who really did need the help. (Mike Webster, Waters, etc)

Football is a violent collison sport. The owners who make millions, if not billions of dollars off these athletes should be taken care of if need be.

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Very strong article, great to walk into on a Monday.....given the nature of the sport, the pension program is a difficult situation to bargain with and ultimatly, I believe, that responsibility falls with Gene Upshaw and the players union to see to it that there not-so-bright stars get taken care of....HBO did a real good special on the topic a few years back. Anyway, thanks for the article, really enjoyed it.

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Good article!

Over the past year I have been in contact with some former players, not the marquee ones that are celebrated in the media, and their stories are somewhat sad.

A very good friend of mine used to play OL for the Chiefs and Falcons way back when. He currently teaches phys ed in Dade County. The dude's elbow/arm is FUBAR and he's had several surgeries on it over the years. The NFL disclaimed on it, but fortunately his board of ed insurance paid for the operations. He is NOT happy with how the NFL treated him, and his arm is obviously deformed.

But he's a trooper, and continues to lift and exercise (he's 6'5 and still about 270). He doesnt watch a lot of NFL games anymore, but he will when I come down to visit. Just how badly some former players have been treated (including the great John Unitas) is the NFL's dirty little secret.

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Good article!

A very good friend of mine used to play OL for the Chiefs and Falcons way back when. He currently teaches phys ed in Dade County. The dude's elbow/arm is FUBAR and he's had several surgeries on it over the years. The NFL disclaimed on it, but fortunately his board of ed insurance paid for the operations. He is NOT happy with how the NFL treated him, and his arm is obviously deformed.

But he's a trooper, and continues to lift and exercise (he's 6'5 and still about 270). He doesnt watch a lot of NFL games anymore, but he will when I come down to visit. Just how badly some former players have been treated (including the great John Unitas) is the NFL's dirty little secret.

Cane -- I don't know the answer to this. But has there been any class action suits filed? I know it would be tough and maybe there isn't enough support. It just sucks to think that these guys gave so much for a game and paid such a high price in return.

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Cane -- I don't know the answer to this. But has there been any class action suits filed? I know it would be tough and maybe there isn't enough support. It just sucks to think that these guys gave so much for a game and paid such a high price in return.

I remember discussing it with him once a few years ago, but i dont remember the details. It's not something he likes to talk about. I recall something about him being caught in the old rules, which have changed some over the years as the players union got stronger. But the screwing of guys who played in the 60s and 70s under the old system, and of Unitas on his disability, is well documented.

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i wonder how concerned we would be about former players if the Jets were in the big game this week - still very nice artcle

LOL!!!

Yes it would be a hot topic of discussion if the Jets were playing the Bears. How is Henderson doing? Is Byrd getting the follow up care he needs?

Things like that would be the last stuff on our mind! Someday we will enjoy the two week buildup to the Super Bowl. For this year let's just be glad the Pat's aren't a part of it.

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LOL!!!

Yes it would be a hot topic of discussion if the Jets were playing the Bears. How is Henderson doing? Is Byrd getting the follow up care he needs?

Things like that would be the last stuff on our mind! Someday we will enjoy the two week buildup to the Super Bowl. For this year let's just be glad the Pat's aren't a part of it.

Exactly right...

Who are the Pats?? Never heard of em...

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LOL!!!

Yes it would be a hot topic of discussion if the Jets were playing the Bears. How is Henderson doing? Is Byrd getting the follow up care he needs?

Things like that would be the last stuff on our mind! Someday we will enjoy the two week buildup to the Super Bowl. For this year let's just be glad the Pat's aren't a part of it.

What a beautiful 14 day's that will be.

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I just came across this article, which ties into to what we were talking about the other day about the older players having issues:

I want a pay raise Max!!

Cane -- thanks for the link. I merged the two threads.

4h -- Awesome premise you had for this article. Good job!

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Cane -- I don't know the answer to this. But has there been any class action suits filed? I know it would be tough and maybe there isn't enough support. It just sucks to think that these guys gave so much for a game and paid such a high price in return.

I'm not aware of any class action suits. I think Butkus sued the league or the Bears way back when. Things used to be so bad that team docs were just giving out pain pills, cortisone shots and icy spray and players weren't allowed to see their own doctors.

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Ditka was just on M&M talking about this stuff:

"Mike Webster was a controversial figure due to his tumultuous personal life after his retirement. He is believed to have been legally disabled in 1996, and possibly before, suffering from amnesia, dementia, depression, and acute bone and muscle pain. He lived out of his pickup truck or train stations between Wisconsin and Pittsburgh even though he had friends willing to rent apartments for him. He attended his Hall of Fame ceremony in 1997, but disturbed some with a rambling, 20-minute long, incoherent acceptance speech. His wife divorced him six months before his death in 2002.

It is universally believed that Webster's ailments were the result of damage sustained over his playing career, and some doctors estimated he had been in the equivalent of "25,000 automobile crashes" in over 35 years of playing football at various levels. Protective equipment, in particular helmets, was inferior during Webster's time, and defensive players sometimes employed a "head slap" move that was then accepted although illegal. Nicknamed "Iron Mike", Webster's reputation for durability led him to play even though injured. Webster had also confessed to using anabolic steroids at points during his career. A lawsuit was filed in Maryland's U.S. District Court between Webster's estate and the National Football League. Webster's attorneys argue that he was disabled on his retirement, and is owed $1.142 million in disability payments under the NFL's retirement plan. On April 26, 2005, a federal judge ruled that the NFL benefits plan owed Webster's estate $1.18 million in benefits. With the addition of interest and fees, that amount will likely exceed $1.60 million. The NFL appealed the ruling, but the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Richmond, Virginia, on Dec. 13, 2006 affirmed the Baltimore federal judge's 2005 ruling that the league's retirement plan must pay benefits reserved for players whose disabilities began while they were still playing football.

Webster attended St. Clair Bible Chapel in St. Clair, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, when it was pastored by Dr. John Hay Munro

Webster is seen as an example of the difficulties American football players suffer when their careers are over. Other players notable for either having retired due to head injuries or having difficult post-career personal lives include Johnny Unitas, Merril Hoge, Troy Aikman, Steve Young, Joe Gilliam, Al Toon, and Mike Utley.

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