Ten days after filling an antitrust complaint against the players and the owners, a group of NFL retirees has sent an official letter to the league office, once again asking to become a part of the negotiations. As the two opposing sides inch closer to a new collective bargaining agreement, the demands from the retirees have thus far been met with deaf ears.
Within the letter sent late Thursday afternoon, the group of former players -- led by Hall of Famers Carl Eller, Marcus Allen and Franco Harris -- reference a correspondence they received from Green Bay Packers CEO Mark Murphy and Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson which firmly acknowledged that improving retiree benefits and plans were of the utmost importance to the owners.
"Richardson and Murphy admitted that `some former players have struggled financially' and it was incumbent upon the League and owners `to reach a new agreement' to provide the retirees with the well-being they earned,'' the retired players wrote.
"Richardson, Murphy and the League stated `these material improved benefits' were a `top priority' necessary to enhance the quality of life of `the people who made football great,''' the letter read. "To do so, they said, was the `fair' and `right thing' because it addresses the needs of retirees off the field for their having given so much `on the field.'''
Throughout the entire negotiation process, cries have echoed from the retirees claiming that the NFLPA, which currently represents the group, has eschewed their input in favor of specific demands for the current players. As news of the latest collective bargaining agreement nears closure, that feeling of marginalization the former players share may serve as a rather large stumbling block.