throwback week



Results 1 to 4 of 4
  1. #1
    ramsanddodgers's Avatar
    ramsanddodgers is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Arroyo Grande, CA
    Age
    58
    Posts
    2,275
    Rep Power
    51

    Paying the price...

    'This is about watching loved ones die'

    Mark Kriegel
    FOXSports.com

    As warnings go, this one was as heartbreaking as it was ominous. At a news conference organized by the Gridiron Greats Assistance Fund a group whose very existence shames the NFL Players Association Garrett Webster spoke of his father's death.
    Mike Webster played 17 seasons in the pros, most of them for the Pittsburgh Steelers, and is considered by many to be the game's greatest center. In 1997, he delivered an alarmingly confused speech at his Hall of Fame induction. Five years ago, at the age of 50, he died: broke and alone, addicted to painkillers and suffering from dementia believed to be the result of the repeated concussions he endured as a player. In his last days, Iron Mike Webster who started 150 consecutive games for the Steelers would curl up in a ball and cry. As it ended, he couldn't even find the bathroom. His son remembers him urinating in an oven.
    "This isn't just about the players," said Garrett Webster. "This is about families watching their loved ones die."
    In 2005, a federal judge ruled that the NFL still owed his estate more than $1 million in disability payments. The league appealed the ruling and lost.
    Historically, the NFL hasn't made it easy for players who, like Webster, were injured in the line of duty. But then, management and ownership have been doing what management and ownership usually do. That is, what they're allowed to do. The real question: Why have the NFL Players Association and its boss, Gene Upshaw, have been so quiet for so many years. Why has it taken a slew of exposes and an organization like Gridiron Greats basically a renegade group, fed up with the faux union to focus attention on issues like post-concussion syndrome, disability, and a $1.1 billion pension fund that seems inaccessible to retired players in the direst of circumstances?
    That's what brought Garrett Webster, among others, to Washington, D.C. They were testifying before a Congressional subcommittee. "The system does not work," said former Bears coach Mike Ditka, a standard-bearer for the Gridiron Greats.
    Subcommittee members heard some horror stories, many of them already familiar to casual readers of the sports pages. There will be more stories like Mike and Garrett Webster's unless the system is fixed.
    What it takes to be in the NFL is often antithetical to what is required for a healthy life. Unlike any other team sport, football destroys players physically and neurologically. As Upshaw should know, ballplayers can't be counted on to protect themselves. Football players get bigger, stronger and faster. But they remain, now as then, cursed with courage.
    Consider the case of Upshaw's former teammate, Jim Otto. One might argue, especially if one likes the Raiders, that Otto is really the greatest center ever. He retired in 1974, Webster's rookie year, after playing in 308 consecutive games, a figure that includes preseason and playoff contests. The similarities between Otto and Webster are striking, beginning with a frightening tolerance for pain. They both hail from Wisconsin. They each went a little over six-feet, 255 pounds in the prime of their careers. Ranking the game's best 100 players, The Sporting News put Otto at 78 and Webster at 75.
    Otto has a clear lead, however, in surgeries. "My father has had well over 50 orthopedic procedures," said his son, Jim Otto Jr.
    The son, known as Jimmy, had more pressing matters than the Congressional hearings. His father was in a Utah hospital with an infection where his right knee had been. The artificial joint "it's at least the sixth replacement on that knee," said Jimmy had been removed and replaced with a "spacer" to deal with the immediate problem.
    "The biggest concern right now is that the infection doesn't take his life," said Jimmy.
    By now, Jimmy Otto is accustomed to the ritual. This is the fifth such infection his father has had since 1997. It seems an inexorable cycle: incision, prosthesis, infection. He has lost so much skin, there's no longer enough to stitch him back together. "My father is paying the price for being the best at what he did," said Jimmy.
    The son was a football player, too, a pretty good one at Utah State. But he gave up the game after breaking his shoulder. "It wasn't a hard decision," said Jimmy. "I was looking forward to the rest of my life."
    He recalls watching team doctors drain the fluid from his old man's knees. But, then, football kept on draining his dad, even after retirement. In his autobiography, The Pain of Glory, Otto writes of his disillusionment with the benefits system and being denied disability in an arbitration hearing: "I discovered how the NFL rewards gladiators who've left their body parts on the field. By crapping on them."
    Jimmy, with four kids of his own, sounds more contemplative than his dad. He's a pastor, currently on sabbatical from his graduate studies in divinity. He understands that this infection could kill his father. He knows, too, that the eventual death, whenever it comes, probably won't be easier for him than it was for Garrett Webster.
    "My dad's end," said Jimmy, "is going to be difficult."
    But he also knows that despite the surgeries, all the pain and ruin brought on by football, Jim Otto was able to raise his family and make a good living.
    Other guys Mike Webster was one need more help. Not everyone who played the game is as blessed as Jim Otto.

    http://msn.foxsports.com/nfl/story/6966076

    RnD

    GO RAMS!!

  2. #2
    laram0's Avatar
    laram0 is offline Superbowl MVP
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Age
    57
    Posts
    9,312
    Rep Power
    109

    Re: Paying the price...

    A person would think that with Gene Upshaw being a former player he would jump all over this kind of stuff. Step up to the plate and make things right.

  3. #3
    r8rh8rmike's Avatar
    r8rh8rmike is offline Superbowl MVP
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    29 Palms, Ca.
    Age
    55
    Posts
    12,072
    Rep Power
    131

    Re: Paying the price...

    Quote Originally Posted by laram0 View Post
    A person would think that with Gene Upshaw being a former player he would jump all over this kind of stuff. Step up to the plate and make things right.
    Obviously, Gene Upshaw is nothing more than a stooge for the NFL, charged with making sure none of his contemporaries get a dime of the leagues bulging coffers.

    Why has it taken a slew of exposes and an organization like Gridiron Greats basically a renegade group, fed up with the faux union to focus attention on issues like post-concussion syndrome, disability, and a $1.1 billion pension fund that seems inaccessible to retired players in the direst of circumstances?
    Why does the NFLPA remind me of a greedy, unscrupulous insurance company looking to deny every claim possible? These guys need a refresher course in ethics or perhaps a screening of "The Rainmaker".

  4. #4
    ramsanddodgers's Avatar
    ramsanddodgers is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Arroyo Grande, CA
    Age
    58
    Posts
    2,275
    Rep Power
    51

    Re: Paying the price...

    Why does it fit R8RH
    8R would jump at the name Upshaw?!? lol

    Seriously though, I have read or heard very little to make me believe Upshaw is his own man and willing to help out the former players who were debilitated by the abuse they endured.

    I can imagine that just like any other system where monies are dispensed to aid the afflicted someone had to determine the validity of a claim and the dollar value of an injury.

    It can be argued that the old-timers who had to work off-season jobs to make ends meet mostly would not do anything different given the choice again, but having played for next-to-nothing (compared to today's players) and creating the goose that layed the golden egg today's players maybe should be more appreciative and vote to increase the pensions of their predecessors. Of course when we think of NFL players the "stars" exorbitant salaries usually come to mind and we forget those playing at the league minimum or slightly more and these may be the voting block hesitant to "donate" a larger part of their salary (Union Dues) in order to increase the pensions.
    RnD

    GO RAMS!!

Similar Threads

  1. Replies: 11
    Last Post: -04-25-2007, 06:57 AM
  2. Replies: 8
    Last Post: -09-02-2005, 06:37 PM
  3. Price ready for fresh start at UTEP
    By DJRamFan in forum COLLEGE
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: -09-02-2004, 01:00 PM
  4. Keeper Combat: Chambers vs. Price
    By evil disco man in forum FANTASY
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: -07-07-2004, 01:41 AM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •