CHICAGO (AP) -Mike Ditka won't be in Canton, Ohio, for Saturday's Pro Football Hall of Fame induction ceremony and won't attend another until the NFL and the players' union improve their treatment of disabled players.
``The system is flawed and when they fix the system I'll go back,'' the former Chicago Bears coach and player told The Associated Press on Friday.
Ditka said his beef isn't with the pension system, but with the scarcity of disability payments. League officials have said 317 players collect disability totaling about $20 million a year.
Ditka said he's proud to be a Hall of Famer and congratulates the new inductees, but prior commitments are keeping him away from the Hall of Fame event.
``I'm in the restaurant business. I'm busy,'' he said. ``They don't need me anyway.''
In June, a group of former players testified in Congress about their bouts with multiple surgeries, dementia and homelessness, all while trying to fight through the red tape of the National Football League and the NFL Players Association's disability system.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and players' union head Gene Upshaw met with nearly a dozen former players last month to discuss a new joint effort to look into disability pay and health care for retirees.

Recent NFL Discussions

Advertisement

Top NFL Public Bets

NFL Top Stories

Thumbnail Rusher ready to continue banner postseason Dion Lewis has not lost a game as a Patriot over two seasons. But how action will the dynamic third-down threat see in the team’s Super Bowl LI matchup...
Thumbnail SBLI: Patriots favored over Falcons Following their victory in the AFC title game, the Patriots have opened as small favorites over the Falcons in Super Bowl LI.
Thumbnail AFC Championship Game Prediction Are the Steelers a good bet to cover versus the Patriots in tonight's AFC Championship Game at 6:40PM ET?
Thumbnail AFC Title Spread Holding Steady Kickoff of tonight's AFC Championship Game is set for 6:40PM ET between the Steelers and Patriots. Where is the point spread currently?
Thumbnail Public Bettors backing Patriots Are public bettors backing Tom Brady and the Patriots today in the AFC Championship Game, or the underdog Steelers at 6:40PM ET?

NFL Team Pages