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Count Zarth
12-18-2007, 10:24 PM
http://www.kansascity.com/sports/chiefs/story/409640.html

Kyle Turley’s effort to aid ex-players will benefit Otis Taylor and Sherrill Headrick.

By RANDY COVITZ
The Kansas City Star

Chiefs offensive tackle Kyle Turley’s eyes bulged with tears. His voice quivered, and as he tried to speak, words failed him for almost 15 seconds.

“This is an emotional subject for me …,” Turley said at a news conference Tuesday conducted by The Gridiron Greats, an organization founded to provide aid to retired NFL players in dire need.

“I’m not afraid to stand here in front of the public and in front of my peers and shed a tear … because I’m tired of hearing these stories.”

The stories are of former NFL players living in squalor, unable to walk or work and who have been denied disability benefits or receive paltry pensions that cannot cover exorbitant medical costs.

Turley has pledged his game check from Sunday’s upcoming game at Detroit to a project called “Gridiron Guardian Sunday,” a grass-roots effort in which he has asked active NFL players to donate portions of their game checks to the Gridiron Greats Assistance Fund to help scores of retired players.

Two Chiefs Hall of Famers who are battling health problems, wide receiver Otis Taylor and linebacker Sherrill Headrick, will be beneficiaries of Turley’s effort on Sunday.

Taylor, who suffers from Parkinson’s and related degenerative diseases, is bedridden and barely able to communicate with visitors. Headrick had at least 15 surgeries for football-related injuries and is now battling a terminal cancer that has spread from his liver to his adrenal glands and right lung.

Chemotherapy cannot help Headrick, who lives near Fort Worth, Texas, and medication that can prolong his life costs $4,000 per month and is not covered by insurance.

So far, The Gridiron Greats Assistance Fund, a nonprofit organization launched last February by former Green Bay Packer great Jerry Kramer — and that includes Hall of Famers Mike Ditka, Gale Sayers, Willie Davis and Harry Carson on its board of directors — has helped about 60 former players and has a waiting list of close to 40 more in need, Kramer said.

About 20 former Chiefs and NFL players who live in Kansas City joined Turley on Tuesday. While Turley has been encouraged by the response of his teammates — including Tony Gonzalez, Larry Johnson, Ty Law, John Welbourn, Eddie Kennison and John Carney — who have committed support, he asked the active players not to attend the event.

Instead, he wanted former Chiefs such as Ed Budde and Fred Arbanas and former NFL players who live in Kansas City such as Conrad Dobler and Vince Costello in the forefront.

“These guys gave their bodies on the football field, to the hip surgeries, the knee surgeries, the injuries to their backs,” said Turley, 32. “I’ll be joining these guys after this season. I won’t be playing football after this season, and I will be alongside them because of the injuries I’ve suffered in this game.

“I’m here for the people who didn’t make the millions of dollars I made. I’ve been fortunate enough to be a first-round draft pick, spend the last 10 years in the National Football League and make millions of dollars. I wish I had saved it all so I could give more.

“I’m proud to be associated with these great men who came before me, and I will do whatever it takes and continue to be involved until this problem has been resolved.”

This was Turley’s third appearance to promote his Gridiron Guardian Sunday. He kicked off the campaign last month in Chicago and last week enlisted the help of Minnesota center Matt Birk, who announced he and several teammates would donate portions of their game checks.

Also, broadcaster Bob Costas, former NBA star Charles Barkley and former tennis great John McEnroe pledged $25,000 each after hearing Turley’s story.

“The Players Association, which all of us helped start, has turned their back on us,” said Arbanas, who was turned down for disability despite a hip replacement and two shoulder replacements. “Instead of helping players in dire need or even guys like me and Conrad who have been turned down for disability … There are hundreds of us who had the same experience.

“I was told if they approved me for disability, it would open up the floodgates …”

Last week, in response to the growing criticism of the cumbersome and controversial process for players applying for disability, the NFL and NFL Players Association announced new procedures that may streamline the system. The process has taken as long as three years for players to complete, and some die before they are approved.

Players Association executive director Gene Uphsaw, in a prepared statement, said the changes would “improve and expedite the disability claims process.”

“This is a small victory for us and others who are fighting this battle,” Turley said. “But it’s a small victory. These people are in dire need.”

All donations to the Gridiron Greats are used to provide aid to retired players, and no funds are used for any expenses or overhead incurred by the organization, said Jennifer Smith, executive director.

“We’re a dire-need fund, and we’re trying to help in an immediate way, so people can get out of the pain clinic and get back to some kind of productive situation,” Kramer said.

“We can’t help them forever. We’re a short-term solution. We need the disability thing to be taken care of, and maybe once we get people on proper disability and proper pensions, that will reduce the number of people we have to help, and we can focus on just dire need problems. That’s our dream.”

KcMizzou
12-18-2007, 10:27 PM
I don't care how you feel about Turley's play this season.. you've got to respect what he's doing here.

Keitzman played some audio, and the guy was practically sobbing...

It's obviously a cause the guy really believes in, and I respect the hell out of him for it.

ChiefsCountry
12-18-2007, 10:28 PM
Wow, good story. KCMizzou is right on as well.

Count Zarth
12-18-2007, 10:29 PM
Wow, good story.

Turley spilled even more in the one we put in the latest Warpaint. Not sure when it's coming out. There are some sad stories.

KcMizzou
12-18-2007, 10:31 PM
About 20 former Chiefs and NFL players who live in Kansas City joined Turley on Tuesday. While Turley has been encouraged by the response of his teammates — including Tony Gonzalez, Larry Johnson, Ty Law, John Welbourn, Eddie Kennison and John Carney — who have committed support, he asked the active players not to attend the event. Big props to these guys as well.

'Hamas' Jenkins
12-18-2007, 10:32 PM
God knows our quarterbacks haven't benefited from his "effort".

Count Zarth
12-18-2007, 10:33 PM
God knows our quarterbacks haven't benefited from his "effort".

LOL I was gonna say...the best part of this article was the news that Turley will retire.

KcMizzou
12-18-2007, 10:33 PM
God knows our quarterbacks haven't benefited from his "effort".His play on the field has nothing to do with this.

Come on man... give a guy a break.

RJ
12-18-2007, 10:34 PM
Damn, I didn't know Otis was in such bad shape. That's very sad. Kudos to Turley for trying to help these guys.

Discuss Thrower
12-18-2007, 10:34 PM
/Communism.

The way the NFL pays its players is ****ed up. Linemen on both sides take the greatest amount of continued abuse, but skill players get better bank. Bullshit.

/endCommunism

FAX
12-18-2007, 10:35 PM
Go Turley!!!

He's doing a great thing here. I heard him discussing this on the radio today and he is very sincere and passionate about it. Prop things are due to him for this effort. I hope the NFL and the NFLPA respond.

FAX

KcMizzou
12-18-2007, 10:36 PM
Go Turley!!!

He's doing a great thing here. I heard him discussing this on the radio today and he is very sincere and passionate about it. Prop things are due to him for this effort. I hope the NFL and the NFLPA respond.

FAX:thumb:

stevieray
12-18-2007, 10:41 PM
Like the NFL doesn't have the damn money...

KcMizzou
12-18-2007, 10:41 PM
According to Keitz several Viking players are donating all (or portions) of their game checks this week as well.

Turley's trying to make it a tradition, from what I understand... one week of the season, where current players give a little something back to the older guys who are suffering a bit.

It's a noble cause.

KcMizzou
12-18-2007, 10:42 PM
Like the NFL doesn't have the damn money...They don't like to part with it.

RedThat
12-19-2007, 02:21 AM
Wow!

that's all I have to say. God Bless you Kyle Turley. My heart goes out, all the love man.

mikey23545
12-19-2007, 02:53 AM
God knows our quarterbacks haven't benefited from his "effort".

What an incredible idiot you are.

Bob Dole
12-19-2007, 05:59 AM
Damn, I didn't know Otis was in such bad shape. That's very sad. Kudos to Turley for trying to help these guys.

Bob Dole met him (again) a few years ago and it was absolutely heartbreaking.

Props to all the younger guys who are remembering the people who made their lifestyle possible.

FAX
12-19-2007, 06:15 AM
Damn, I didn't know Otis was in such bad shape. That's very sad. Kudos to Turley for trying to help these guys.

A year or so ago, the Star or somebody published an article about Otis' plight, Mr. RJ. It was heartbreaking, indeed. And an outrage.

After reading it, I sent emails to the Chiefs organization, Trent Green, and a couple of other people about the situation and never received a reply. It's strange to me how these people can be forgotten. I think that if you do a search on the Planet, you might find that old article.

FAX

Braincase
12-19-2007, 06:42 AM
Owners oughta match. Cuban would.

Skip Towne
12-19-2007, 06:45 AM
Owners oughta match. Cuban would.
Cuban oughta buy the Chiefs.