PHOENIX (AP) -Kyle Turley said it is ``near criminal'' how some needy former NFL players are being treated. He blames Gene Upshaw, leader of the NFL Players Association.
Turley, a Kansas City offensive lineman, donated a $25,000 game check last season and helped raise $400,000 for the Gridiron Greats Assistance Fund, which aids retired NFL players with dire financial needs.
Turley said Upshaw needs to do more to help former players.
``When I really looked into the situation, he's really not doing his job,'' said Turley, who spoke at a Gridiron Greats news conference Thursday.
``You look at the situation that we're in now, and it's the direct fault of Gene Upshaw, the guys that have come before him, and the guys that are in these positions now,'' Turley said. ``He's not doing his job, and he needs to do it. He's got every opportunity to, and he's not, for whatever reason, and he's benefiting every year from a $7 million salary from Players Inc. and the union. It's near criminal how some of these guys are being treated.''
Turley's remarks drew applause from the three dozen former players who attended the news conference.
Turley said he hoped to make more active players aware of the retirees' plight, and he challenged the union and the NFL to join him.
``I have not yet seen Gene Upshaw or the players union or the National Football League, for that matter, have one person come forward and stand on their side and say that they are doing what they're supposed to,'' Turley said. ``I had to stand alongside these men and not be associated with the neglect that is going on for too long.''
The NFL last year added $10 million to its medical fund for retired players, designating the money for joint replacement surgery, cardiovascular screening and assisted living.
Upshaw, speaking at an NFLPA news conference later in the day, rejected the assertion the union has ignored retired players' needs.
``Never once have I turned my back on a retired player,'' said Upshaw, a Hall of Fame guard with the Oakland Raiders.
And NFLPA president Troy Vincent said he hopes more active players will join Turley in supporting the retirees.
``The more the better,'' he said. ``The active players have never blinked about going back in time and contributing to the former players.''

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