Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Peter King Talks Steelers Football,
and Something Even More Important

Peter King's "Monday Morning Quarterback" column is a must read for all football fans, and this week there is a great deal of discussion regarding the Steelers-Ravens game ~ specifically how it ended. Mr. King also gives the Steelers their due for performing well in the face of a difficult schedule; but the most important part of this week's column has nothing to do with the Steelers.

Instead Mr. King uses his platform to focus attention on the efforts of Minnesota Vikings center Matt Birk to raise money for former players by donating $50,000 from this week's gamecheck to the organization Gridiron Greats, an organization whose mission is to assist former players in need, and is calling on all NFL players to do the same.

Mr. King uses the story of former NFL player Dwight Harrison to illustrate the plight of too many former players ~ Mr. Harrison "is a 60-year-old man, living alone, in a FEMA trailer in Beaumont, Texas, with no running water and an income of $637 a month from a Social Security disability fund. He gets no pension or medical benefits from the NFL or NFLPA, and the medication he needs eats up much of his monthly stipend."

It is an issue that receives far too little attention, and one in which too few fans take an interest. Moreover, while few of us can match the generosity of Mr. Birk it would be wonderful to see the league make an attempt to mobilize its considerable fan base to give something back to any and all former players who have fallen on hard times.

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