Mackey has become closely associated with the plight of many former players who helped build the NFL in the era before million-dollar contracts, safer equipment and better health care.
He suffered from frontotemporal dementia in later years that is believed to have been caused by the contact associated with playing football. Four years ago, the dementia forced Mackey into living in an assisted-living facility.
The costs associated with his care, which far outpaced Mackey’s pension, led to the “88 Plan” for retired players. Now, former players are pushing for better pension plans and health benefits from the league.
“John Mackey has inspired me and will continue to inspire our players,” Smith posted on Twitter. “He will be missed but never forgotten.”
sign up for
MOST READ ON WT
NFL junkie Eric Golub reports on his favorite obsession. There is no football offseason. Every February he pretends to care about other sports while sobbing uncontrollably each Sunday until September.
We welcome you to the intimate and personal thoughts on the news and events we, as editors, watch, read, and discuss with our writers every day.
Red Alert focuses on the hottest political topics in the nation and calls Americans to action.