Retired Green Bay Packers tight end Gary Knafelc says he believes the NFL and its players' association hope that players who retired before 1970 die off so they don't have to worry about helping those who are struggling physically.
The 81-year-old Knafelc, who retired in 1963 after 10 seasons, said in an interview with NBC26-TV in Green Bay late last week that he is disappointed by the response to requests for help he has made on behalf of fellow retirees who are struggling.
"We don't have a voice, and I really believe the reason that we don't have a voice is that they're hoping that if we keep dying off at the rate we are, we'll be all dead and they won't have to worry about anything," he said in the interview.
"I'm not kidding at all. I'm very serious about that."
He said he believes the NFL Players Association only cares about current players and those who retired after 1970.
"The ones that played prior to that, they've kind of just forgotten entirely," he said.
Knafelc, who also was the public address announcer at Lambeau Field from 1964 until 2004, said he has been told that injuries suffered by players of his era "happened too long ago."
"They don't have enough records to justify helping you out at that time," he said. "In fact, they even come to the point of, 'How do we even know that injury was something you did playing football? It was not something you did later on?'"