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Super Bowl Story: Famous Athlete Helps Struggling Gridiron Greats Of The Past

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Many of them were great football players, American heroes in their prime, NFL stars who were the toast of the town and now in their 60's and 70's many of them are hurting and poor. To the rescue comes Jerry Kramer, the Hall of Fame star of the Green Bay Packers in their prime. In those days, the Pack were the champions of the world, Vince Lombardi was the coach of a generation, and the National Football League was building its megabillion dollar business. Jerry Kramer was one of the great offensive linemen who ever lived, and the guys he is helping are the Gridiron Greats. Here's the problem. If they were playing today, these stars would be signing $20 million deals, putting their name on famous sneakers, and living like Kings. Unfortunately in the earlier days of football, their salaries were often small, they had agents of varying quality and their pension plans are paltry. Most people dont fully realize how much pure physical punishment and pain these athletes endure in their careers. We know them as gladiators, but even the highest paid and most wealthy athletes today face a future of bad limps and hard pain when they get older. The gladiators of the past dont have giant bank accounts and sneaker deals to pay medical bills, in fact many of them are poor and struggling. Enter Jerry Kramer, in the spirit of Jerry Maguire, who started, his web site to provide support for the guys we call the Gridiron Greats. Many sports fans will recognize the famous names on the site, having cheered them from the sidelines, now unware of the hard times they face.

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Many of these guys have pensions that provide as little as $150 a month, facing major pain from old injuries and little money to pay for their care. On Super Sunday, while we cheer the gridiron greats on the field, root for the team of our choice, share great meals at family dinners while we watch the big game, lets thank Jerry Kramer and tip our hats the gridiron greats of the past. When the game ends and the crowds leave and the gladiators exit the field, will be there, for those who want to extend a helping hand.
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Brent Budowsky is a regular columnist on He served as Legislative Assistant to U.S. Senator Lloyd Bentsen, responsible for commerce and intelligence matters, including one of the core drafters of the CIA Identities Law. Served (more...)

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