CHICAGO (AP) -Some NFL players will donate part of their paychecks from the league's Dec. 23 games to help needy retired players.
Kansas City Chiefs lineman Kyle Turley said at a news conference to announce the plan Tuesday at Mike Ditka's restaurant that he will donate his entire $25,000 paycheck.
Ditka has been vocal in publicizing the plight of former players who struggle with the effects of lingering physical problems.
``We make a lot of money playing this game and it's because of the guys that played before us,'' Turley said.
Perhaps best known for ripping the helmet off a player who grabbed his teammate's facemask and tossing it downfield while with New Orleans, Turley is the first active player to launch an initiative to help needy former players.
His effort is the latest chapter in a very public and bitter feud between retired players and the NFL Players Association. Ditka and others say the union refuses to award disability benefits to former players. In recent months, they publicized the plight of retired players wiped out financially by the cost of multiple surgeries and injuries that have left them unable to work.
They've told the stories of former players such as Mike Webster, the Hall of Fame center of the Pittsburgh Steelers who died homeless in 2002 after suffering from mental illness widely attributed to head injuries sustained as a player.
The union and the league have defended the disability system. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell told a Senate hearing in September that the league is boosting benefits when many companies around the nation are reducing them. And Gene Upshaw, executive director of the players association, has told the Senate that Congress should give the players' union greater authority to approve disability claims.
NFLPA spokesman Carl Francis declined comment on Turley's announcement, saying the union was focused on Tuesday's shooting death of Washington Redskins safety Sean Taylor.
Turley said reading about the Congressional hearings and in particular the emotional stories about players he admired as a boy prompted him to donate his money and ask his fellow players to do the same.
``Are we going to wait until guys die? Are we going to wait until guys commit suicide before we make a difference and change this thing?'' he asked.
Ditka, who coached the Bears and Saints after a Hall of Fame playing career, has long been critical of the union for concentrating too much on current players and ignoring retirees' health problems. On Tuesday, he warned today's players that their injuries could someday leave them in desperate need of help, just like their predecessors.
Turley, who came back from a career-threatening back injury, also took up that theme.
``If this system doesn't get fixed, no matter how much money you make ... you are a serious surgery away from being broke,'' he said.
Turley also criticized Upshaw for dismissing former players such as Ditka and Hall of Fame running back Gale Sayers as ``a bunch of crybabies,'' and criticized the Web site page titled ``The NFLPA Truth Squad: Facts vs. Fiction'' that the union launched to ``correct serious misstatements of fact'' by former players.
``Who is it for another man to say another guy is a liar when he's dealing with pain?'' Turley said.
Turley added he did not know how much money he might raise. But he said he already has talked to as many as 20 players who said they will donate, and that he expected the number to grow when other players receive a letter he is sending out this week.

Recent NFL Discussions

2017 Heisman Odds on Wed, Mar 2017 by Blade
College / NBA today on Sun, Mar 2017 by TtomBoBadly
SNOW on Tue, Mar 2017 by Michael Cash
EARLY COLL PLAYS FOR WED. on Wed, Mar 2017 by Timmy1961

Top NFL Public Bets

NFL Top Stories

Thumbnail The Next Atlanta Falcons Despite suffering one of the greatest collapses in sports history at Super Bowl LI, the Atlanta Falcons still managed to overcome significant odds to reach the NFL’s...
Thumbnail Eddie Lacy 2017 Prop Odds After signing with the Seahawks earlier this month, how many touchdowns and rushing yards will Eddie Lacy earn in 2017?
Thumbnail DeSean Jackson Bucs Prop Odds How many touchdowns will DeSean Jackson post with his new team in 2017? Here's a look at the odds.
Thumbnail Brandin Cooks Patriots Prop Odds How many total receiving yards will new Patriot Brandin Cooks have in 2017?
Thumbnail Alshon Jeffery TD Prop Odds How many touchdown passes and receiving yards will Alshon Jeffery rack up in 2017? Oddsmakers have released projections for the newest Eagle.

NFL Team Pages