How can you marginalize the guys who laid the foundation for this present generation of players, and the financial giant we call the modern NFL?
It's because of players like Dick Butkus that Ray Lewis and Brian Urlacher are where they are today. Without the old-timers, there would be no pro football.
The NFL is a billion-dollar operation—and still the league can't take care of the guys who built it? The legends of the game are the reason players can get ridiculous contracts today. Their injuries are symbols of loyalty—the price they paid so we fans could watch games on Sundays and Mondays, and so present and future NFL greats could set their families up for life.
Why is it, then, that the union can't set guys like Art Donovan up for the rest of their lives with adequate benefit plans?
It's a sign of the times that we've forgotten the men who taught us how to run, how to tackle, how to pass—and, even more importantly, taught us how to play as a team.
If we remembered, we wouldn't have headaches like Pacman Jones or Michael Vick
, or overpaid players complaining about their salaries.
But we don't remember. We've forgotten what the game is about.
Can you imagine Joe Montana or Jerry Rice or John Elway being disrespected by the NFL down the road?
Well, when you disrespect one NFL great, you disrespect them all, including the current players.