According to a press release from the Gridiron Greats organization, hundreds of current NFL players will donate a portion of their December 23, 2007, game checks in conjunction with Gridiron Guardian Sunday. The donations will be used to fund financial aid and social services for retired NFL players in need. One hundred percent of the players’ donations will be used to aid retired NFL players.
Offensive tackle Kyle Turley of the Kansas City Chiefs created Gridiron Guardian Sunday and has pledged to donate his $25,000 game check from the Chiefs-Detroit Lions game on December 23. Turley wanted a way for current NFL players to give back to the players that came before them.
“When I launched this project I had no idea what kind of participation it would get. I am humbled and proud that so many of my colleagues around the league have reached out to help,” said Kyle Turley. “I coordinated this effort to help provide medicine, medical care, clothing, food and shelter to retired NFL players who are in dire need. I felt I had to do something to help. I am so appreciative of the support this project has gotten. In this holiday season of giving, it is heartwarming to know that we will be able to impact the lives of so many of our brothers in need.”
Many players from around the NFL have signed up to participate in the effort including: Matt Birk, Steve Hutchinson, Anthony Herrera, Ryan Cook, Marcus Johnson, and Ben Leber, of the Minnesota Vikings; Larry Johnson, Jared Allen, Tony Gonzales, Ty Law, John Welbourn, Eddie Kennison, John Carney, and Donnie Edwards of the Kansas City Chiefs; Ephraim Salaam of the Houston Texans; Kawika Mitchell of the New York Giants; Darwin Walker of the Chicago Bears; Jacob Bell and Rich Scanlon of the Tennessee Titans; and Marques Douglas of the San Francisco 49ers. Hundreds of others have also committed but choose to remain anonymous.
“I feel like this is the right thing to do; players and owners today all prosper because of the men that came before them. Many are suffering through no fault of their own,” said Matt Birk of the Minnesota Vikings. “This is an epidemic that is affecting retired players and their families, from all eras; I see this as a humanitarian issue. When I came into the league I was told that the NFL is a brotherhood and we would always be part of that brotherhood, so it’s only right for us to help our brothers.”