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“Any retiree disqualified due to dementia, ALS or another cognitive disorder will have access to the benefits of The 88 Plan,” McCarthy said.

The 88 Plan, named after Mackey, provides funding from the NFL and the union to help with the care of players afflicted with dementia or related brain problems.

Martin, whose independent group is charged with confronting a variety of issues involving former players, hopes the union reconsiders.

“Why are you criticizing the source if at the end of day that source will provide an unprecedented benefit for a large group of players,” he said. “It’s not the wise approach; look at what that benefit will provide for the larger audience.”