Changing Channels

John Mackey died Wednesday.

One of the NFL’s top tight ends ever passed after a long battle with dementia.

The once dominant force with the Colts and Chargers in the 1960’s and 70’s ran over eight players on one play to score a touchdown.

He couldn’t defeat the toll the sport of football eventually took on his body and brain, however.

John Mackey

There is certainly no shame in that, as Mackey played 10 seasons, about 6 1/2 more than the average NFL player.

Mackey, a five-time Pro Bowler who snared 38 career touchdown catches, even had an NFL award named after him and went on to be the first president of the NFL Players Association.

It’s so easy to blame greedy players for this current labor mess, but I have to remember myself how brief their earning opportunity is.

And how short and difficult their lives can be after their playing days are over too.

Owners wouldn’t have franchises worth hundreds of millions of dollars without players like John Mackey.


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